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MonkeyNotes-Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
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Chapter 14: Secrets

Summary

Jo secretly takes a story to a newspaper publisher and shares secrets with Laurie who happened to catch her trying to get up enough nerve to go into the publishing house. Laurieís secret is that Brooke is the person who kept Megís missing love and that Brooke is sweet on Meg. He thinks Jo will be pleased, but instead she is furious. She begins to act strangely, treating Mr. Brooke coldly and staring sadly at Meg.

The concern for Meg temporarily fades when Joís story is published. Furthermore, the editor has agreed to publish and pay for more of her stories.


Notes

Joís drive to write for money ( a mirror of LMAís own motivation) begins here. She has a humorous mix of independence and childishness as she wants to feel like she makes a contribution and is able to accomplish things on her own, but she doesnít want any of her sisters to grow up, get married and move away. She wants to be able to plan her sisterís lives as well as her own. This is another characteristic of Jo which is shared by Amy as well and is the cause of some sibling rivalry. Both sisters want to have control over the lives of others in the family, although they donít mean it in a negative way. Perhaps the source is partly the losses they have already endured. They canít cope with the loss of possession becoming loss of family closeness as well. The conflicting values of the upper class of society versus the middle class come into play here as well as in some other chapters. The values of the upper class are typically based on tradition, connection, propriety and family name continuance into the future. The values of a middle class family are centered more on family, on achievement of individuals, and on satisfaction of daily needs to the extent of living comfortably. The March family have been in both classes thanks to Mr. Marchís financial ruin, just as LMA was when her own father lost his position of wealth and status.

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