Little girls by deem of sex are told stories about love and Prince Charming, where all that matters is the end result - a happily ever after. That was the target: to reach the point of marriage. Josephine March taught me that this isn’t how it has to be.
Jo March is my girlhood heroine. She loves books and is awkward in social functions. She is a tomboy and doesn’t care how the neighbours see her. She becomes friends with the boy next door but turns him down in marriage. She cuts her hair off to raise money and goes to New York to follow her dream of writing. She is brave though with fault and tries to be good. And I tried to be good just like her.
As I got older, I read much more into Little Women. It is a story about resourceful women set in a time when women had very little freedom. Jo is engaging and proactive rather than decorative and still writes even though she’s stuck spending days reading to her great-aunt. She doesn’t treat Laurie as a superior but as an equal to her. She does marry but marries an equal and uses what’s been given to her for good. There are, however, two things that still rankle: she didn’t become a full time writer and she opened a school for boys and not for boys and girls. But I believe heroines can’t be heroines without some faults.
Julie Anne Young
For more information, check out this radio story about Jo March.
Come back tomorrow to learn about another fictional heroine who demonstrated great bravery and intelligence.