“I will do something by and by. Don’t care what, teach, sew, act, write, anything to help the family; and I’ll be rich and famous and happy before I die, see if I won’t!”- fifteen-year-old Louisa May Alcott
She succeeded. One of her novels, Little Women, first published in 1868, was almost immediately deemed a classic. Since then, there have been numerous film versions, plays, musicals, and even an anime based on the book about four poor girls growing up during the Civil War.
Colt-like, tomboyish, hot-tempered yet sensible Jo March, has been an inspiration for female writers (and perhaps more males than care to admit) for over 140 years. The image of Jo, upstairs in the garret, using an old tin kitchen as a desk, pen at hand, is at once old-fashioned and romantic.
While methods may have changed since then, the passions and tribulations of writers forever remain the same.
Quotes from Litttle Women
1. “Jo’s book was the pride of her heart, and was regarded by her family as a literary sprout of great promise. It was only half a dozen little fairy tales, but Jo had worked over them patiently, putting her whole heart into her work, hoping to make something good enough to print.”
2. “Quite absorbed in her work, Jo scribbled away till the last page was filled, when she signed her name with a flourish, and threw down the pen. ‘There, I’ve done my best! If this doesn’t suit, I shall have to wait till I can do better.’ Lying back on the sofa, she read the manuscript carefully through, making dashes here and there and putting in many exclamation points; then she tied it up with a smart red ribbon, and sat a minute looking at it with a sober, wistful expression, which plainly showed how earnest her work had been.”
3. “Jo’s breath gave out here; and, wrapping her head in the paper, she bedewed her little story with a few natural tears; for to be independent and earn the praise of those she loved were the dearest wishes of her heart.”
4. “Six weeks is a long time to wait, and a still longer time for a girl to keep a secret; but Jo did both, and was just beginning to give up all hope of ever seeing her manuscript again, when a letter arrived which almost took her breath away.”
5. “Having copied her novel for the fourth time and submitted it with fear and trembling to three publishers, she disposed of it on condition that she cut it down one-third and omit all the parts which she particularly admired. So with Spartan firmness, the young authoress laid her firstborn on her table and chopped it up as ruthlessly as any ogre. It was printed, and she got three hundred dollars for it, likewise plenty of praise and blame.”
6. “I don’t know whether I have written a promising book or broken all the Ten Commandments. “- Jo
7. “I’ve got the joke on my side, after all. For the parts that were taken straight out of real life are denounced as impossible and absurd, and the scenes which I made up out of my own silly head are pronounced charmingly natural, tender, and true. So I’ll comfort myself with that, and when I’m ready, I’ll up and take another. ” – Jo
8. “Jo wrote no more sensational stories, deciding that the money did not pay for her share of the sensation. She produced an intensely moral tale, but found no purchaser for it. She tried a child’s story, but found that no editor paid for juvenile literature.”
9. “I’ve no heart for it, and if I had, nobody cares for the things I write.”- Jo
“We do. Write something for us, and never mind the rest of the world…” -Marmee
Jo never knew how it happened, but something got into her next story that went straight to the hearts of those who read it…
“There is truth in it, Jo- that’s the secret. Humor and pathos make it alive, and you have found your style at last,” said her father. “You put your heart into it, my daughter. Do your best and grow as happy as we are in your success.”