The plot covered all ranges of emotions: I laughed, cried, shouted in agreement, and joyfully underlined countless memorable and wise quotes. All of the characters were believable and each portrayed most unique personalities that human beings can possess. (I easily identified with Jo. Oh, yeah! That's me!)
I loved Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress theme woven throughout the story. I also enjoyed the Pickwick Club newspaper and post office. (Mental note: What an excellent idea for a future home school year!)
Most of all, I was surprised by the presence of traditional roles of wives and mothers in such an exemplary light because I have not read much literature that esteems accustomed roles of women like Little Women does (or like The Little House series). I had to ask a friend of mine if Alcott was mocking such traditions, and another told me she thought Alcott was being cynical. I will need to do some research to understand better what her intentions were.
There is a chapter where Mrs. March instructs her newly married daughter Meg how to fix her marital situation because Meg had neglected both her husband and domestic duties. My modernized worldview caused me to laugh and react: "Whoa! Feminist alert!
...that a woman's happiest kingdom is home, her highest honor the art of ruling is not as a queen, but a wise wife and mother.But let us say Alcott was not mocking wives and mothers, then I believe that the author was effective in honoring the work of women in a gracious light, which is really pleasant because most literature I have read focuses on the helplessness of women, especially in these very roles. And that is unfortunate because I do believe a woman's work as wife and mother is the most important matter in her life, in my radical opinion. (This is coming from someone who hardly esteemed marriage or motherhood in her earlier years and still struggles in these roles today. I don't even care for domestic work. Blah!)
Anyway, after reading Little Women, I regretfully admit that I am dreadfully deficient as a wife and mother, especially in light of Mrs. March. What a gracious, patient, self-composed woman! What a teacher she is for her girls! She is correct in her estimation of a woman's highest honor. It is not lowly work.
Personally, these are the most challenging jobs I have ever had. Sometimes I think a labor job or demanding career would have been better suited for me than to manage a home, raise up children, and be my husband's helpmate. My independent rebelliousness and introverted personality often get in the way, too. If only I can be more like Mrs. March...or Caroline Ingalls (Laura Ingalls' mother). Women such as these put me to shame. I could gain from their examples.
I think I need to reread Little Women in the future, and maybe do a lesson on being a wise wife and mother. Of course, the Bible is always the best manual on how to do anything, so it is no wonder that Mrs. March is a perfect, genuine, and fulfilling example of a Christian wife and mother. I just hope that Alcott intended to portray her that way.