In light of the Little Women movie coming out in December, this whole thing was brought to my attention.
Disclosure: I have never actually read Little Women. So if you see anything here and are like, “well that’s not what happened in the book” I’m not sorry. Not my fault that I don’t know what happened in the book when I never read it. (“But you should have read it,” you say. And I say “Don’t tell me what to do.”)
While I never read Little Women, I have seen several movie adaptions. However, the two adaptions are mushing together in my head. One is black and white with Katherine Hepburn as Jo and the other is color with June Allyson as Jo (also Laurie is Peter Lawford and you just can’t beat that). I’m pretty sure it was the colored with June Allyson that affected me most, but whatever.
I was around 10 years old when I watched it. Just a fledgling.
Jo March was a writer, so I thought that was pretty cool (since I was one too). She liked to write gothic, drama filled romances with real heartbreaking endings. In fact, half way through the movie she got one of the stories PUBLISHED. The Phantom Hand. That was SUPER exciting. Jo was going to be a writer!
Then Fritz Bhaer steps in (not an actual bear. Like a person, named bear spelled weirdly). He is eager to read what Jo has published. He does and bursts angrily into the room slamming the story down on the table (or something to that affect).
He thinks it’s TRASH. He calls it “sensational” literature, which I think is a way to say “escapist”.
Not only does he thinks it’s trash, he thinks it’s BENEATH her to write gothic stories. It’s low, and not worthy of her for some undisclosed reason. I guess because it doesn’t have enough “literary value” . Yeah, well, screw that.
All I can say is if my boyfriend walked in saying my PUBLISHED story was trash I’d be showing him the door.
Jo is obviously very upset. And my 10 year old self it getting DISTRESSED. Why? Well I write FANTASY. And while it may not be gothic romances, it is “escapist”. Would Bhaer think my fantasy stories about elves and magical horses trash???
But it gets worse.
Jo decides that Bhaer is right. She is writing cheap fiction that is beneath her, and she must write something of great literary value. So, instead of using her God-given imagination and her love for romance and adventure, She decides to go with the age old advice “write what you know.”
She writes about her sister Beth after she dies. She turns her story into a novel, which of course Bhaer loves and so does every one else.
Ok. Here’s the thing.
We had to stop watching the movie because I started CRYING. Actually CRYING ABOUT THIS. I was so worried that I couldn’t write fantasy because – I mean it wasn’t what I “knew” and it is escapist (as Tolkien said, “Fantasy is escapist and that is its glory.” I will live on that hill and I will die on it).
My mom consoled me and basically told me not to listen to the movie and just keep writing.
Which I did, so really this event was just at tiny little blip and I never looked back.
HOWEVER, I think I have always had a grudge against Little Woman since. I mean is this in the book??? And here’s the thing: one big signal that a person is not the romantic partner for you is if you don’t like what they create. If you don’t like their paintings, their music, their writing, then that’s it. You either live with or and end the relationship. Don’t try to change them and their art. Just don’t.
That’s the end of my story and my feud with Little Women.