"As young readers like to know ‘how people look’, we will take this moment to give them a little sketch of the four sisters, who sat knitting away in the twilight, while the December snow fell quietly without, and the fire crackled cheerfully within." Louisa May Alcott, writes the author.
We are in the middle of the nineteenth century and we go in a comfortable room, though the carpet is faded and the furniture very plain, for a good picture or two hung on the walls, books filled the recesses, chrysanthemums and Christmas roses bloomed in the windows, and a pleasant atmosphere of home peace pervaded it.
There is an old sofa, it is a regular patriarch of a sofa— long, broad, well-cushioned, and low, a trifle shabby, as well it might be, for the girls had slept and sprawled on it as babies, fished over the back, rode on the arms, and had menageries under it as children, and rested tired heads, dreamed dreams, and listened to tender talk on it as young women. They all love it, for it is a family refuge.
The parents are the refuge of the four sisters: their mother, is always ready to be their confidante, their father, who will come soon from the war, to be their friend, and both of hope and trust that their daughters, whether married or single, will be the pride and comfort of their lives.
Mrs March, their mother, believes it is important to help one another, to have daily duties which male leisure sweet when it comes, and to bear and forbear, that home might be comfortable and lovely to them all.
Work is a blessed solace. Hope and keep busy, and whatever happens, they have to remember that they never can be fatherless.
Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success, in spite of poverty.
Mrs. March is not ambitious for a splendid
fortune, a fashionable position, or a great name for her girls. She knows, by experience, how much genuine happiness can be had in a plain little house, where the daily bread is earned, and some privations give sweetness to the few pleasures.
The girls give their hearts into their mother’s keeping, their souls into their father’s, and to both parents, who live and labor so faithfully for them, they give a love that grows with their growth and bound them tenderly together by the sweetest tie which blesses life and outlives death.
Mrs. March knows that experience is an excellent teacher, and when it is possible she leaves her children to learn alone the lessons.
She always explains to her daughters that, poverty seldom daunts a sincere lover. Some of the best and most honored women she knew were poor girls, but so love worthy that they were not allowed to be old maids.
It is important to leave these things to time.
Time changes everything: for the fifteen- year-old Jo, who devoted herself to literature and to writing novels, love will make her show her heart one day.
And so the babies, whom Jo loves tenderly. Grief is the best opener of some hearts, and Jo is nearly ready for the bag.
Jo is a tomboy, she isn’t a heroine of the novel she likes writing, she is only a struggling human girl like hundreds of others, and she just acts out her nature, being sad, cross, listless, or energetic, as the mood suggested.
Her anger never lasts long, her sisters use to say that they rather like to get Jo into a fury because she is such an angel afterward.
Poor Jo tries desperately to be good, but her bosom enemy is always ready to flame up and defeats her, and it takes years of patient effort to subdue it.
She often says she wants to do something splendid, no matter how hard, and now she has her wish. She decides that she will try and in her first attempt she finds the helps.
Jo has a sorrow, she is lonely, without the comfort of true love, until Professor Bhaer intends to marry her. She understands he carries the talisman that opens all hearts, and these simple people warmed to him at once, feeling even the more friendly because he was poor. For poverty enriches those who live above it, and is a sure passport to truly hospitable spirits.
Time changes everything, their mother is right: also for Margaret, the eldest of the four. She is sixteen and very pretty. She is ‘fond of luxury’ and her chief trouble is poverty. She finds it harder to bear than the others because she can remember a time when home was beautiful, life full of ease and pleasure, and want of any kind unknown. She tries not to be envious or discontented, but it is very natural that the young girl should long for pretty things, gay friends, accomplishments, and a happy life.
But as years passed, Meg spends her time in working as well as waiting, growing womanly in character, wise in housewifely arts, and prettier than ever, for love is a great beautifier.
Thanks to her marriage, Meg improves a lot:
how well she can talk, how much she knows about good, womanly impulses, thoughts, and feelings, how happy she is in husband and
children, and how much they are all doing for each other.
Time changes the destiny of Beth: Elizabeth, or Beth, as everyone called her, is a rosy, smooth- haired, bright-eyed girl of thirteen, with a shy manner, a timid voice, and a peaceful expression which is seldom disturbed. Her father calls her ‘Little Miss Tranquility’, and the name suits her excellently, for she seems to live in a happy world of her own, only venturing out to meet the few whom she trusts and loves.
As time goes by, Beth remains delicate long after the fever was a thing of the past. Not an invalid exactly, but never again the rosy, healthy creature she has been, yet always hopeful, happy, and serene, and busy with the quiet duties she loves, everyone’s friend, and an angel in the house, long before those who love her most learned to know it.
It is the shadow of pain which touches the young face with such pathetic patience, but Beth seldom complains and always speaks hopefully of ‘being better soon’.
When Beth leaves the old home for the new, she is joyful as her parents think her to meet death without fear.
Time changes everything, how true this sentence is!
Amy, the youngest of the four sisters, is a regular snow maiden, with blue eyes, and yellow hair and always carrying herself like
a young lady mindful of her manners.
Amy is with truth considered ‘the flower of the family’, for at sixteen she has the air and bearing of a full-grown woman, not beautiful, but possesses of that indescribable charm called grace. Her nose afflicts her, for it never would grow Grecian, so does her mouth,
being too wide, and having a decided chin.
One of her weaknesses is a desire to move in ‘our best society’.
Money, position, fashionable accomplishments, and elegant manners are most desirable things in her eyes, she cultivates her aristocratic tastes and feelings, so that when the opportunity came she may be ready to take the place from which poverty now excludes her.
She wishes to be an artist, and go to Rome, and do fine pictures, and be the best artist in the whole world.
‘Little Raphael,’ as her sisters call her, has a decided talent for drawing, and is never so happy as when copying flowers, designing fairies, or illustrating stories with queer specimens of art.
She is a great favorite with her mates, being good-tempered and possessing the happy art of pleasing without effort. Her little airs and graces are much admired, so are her accomplishments, for besides her drawing, she can play twelve tunes, crochet, and read. She is so ambitious, but her heart is good and tender, and no matter how high she flies, she never will forget home.
And when she and Laurie, their rich neighbor, discover their mutual love, Amy understands
it is so beautiful to be loved as Laurie loves her.
Amy’s nature grows sweeter, deeper, and more tender. Laurie grows more serious, strong, and firm.
Amy is the sun and Laurie the wind, in the fable, and the sun manages the man best.
She would have married him if he hadn’t had a penny.
She is prouder of her handsome husband than of all his money. Laurie believes that rich people had no right to sit down and enjoy themselves, or let their money accumulate for others to waste.
They can have a good time themselves,
and add an extra relish to their own pleasure by giving other people a generous taste.
‘Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!’ says Mrs March.
Her girls thanks to their parents' teaching, were now women with moral values, such as honesty, respect for life and self-control and
respect of the others.
The values that we choose help determine our behavior, our priorities, the ties that will make and the moral guidance we give to our children.
Il mio preferito da sempreLe sorelle " march" come vecchie amiche ormai...La mia piccola tradizione e' quella di rileggerlo il periodo natalizio E' magico
The mark of a good author is whether or not they can keep you interested, no matter the story they write. Louis May Alcott did it with this book. The March family are rather boring but the author managed to keep even the most minuscule things they do interesting. The story is set in mid-nineteenth century New England among a devoutly Christian family with 4 daughters. Although this doesn't really seem like my genre I gave it a try since it is considered an American classic. I enjoyed the book and never considered it boring even though I did often wonder why I kept reading. I would recommend this to anyone, at least to try....Continua
E' bellissima l'atmosfera di CASA che si avverte durante la lettura di questo primo incontro con la famiglia March.Sorelle davanti al camino nei lunghi inverni nevosi e prese dai loro passatempi, ricami, letture e recitazioni, nonchè dai loro genitori...benefattori di tutti per ciò che è loro possibile (l'una nell'assistere il circondato e l'altro in guerra) .
Nessuno dei personaggi interno alla famiglia mi dà l'idea di provare nessun sentimento negativo....troppo buoni e perfetti....gli unici umani sono Lori e suo nonno.