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MonkeyNotes-Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
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Jo

Jo is the focal character of the novel and is the character in whom LMA visualized herself. She is frank and down to earth, but has a quick temper and acts impulsively. She is also quick to apologize and the first to make peace in the event of any rivalry. Her emotions are intense and honest, although in her own mind one emotion she is not interested in is romantic love. She is an easy friend because she is undemanding and quick to give of herself. However, her blunt nature also causes her trouble because she doesn’t always stop to think that it might not be wise to express her opinions or feelings in every situation.

Jo feels the impact of events and situations so keenly that she sometimes feels as if she has the greatest burden of the entire family. Her first love is for her family and her initial goal is to keep her sisters, parents and closest friends near at hand for her entire life. She eventually realizes that her dream is impossible and unfair to her sisters. However, even though her sisters marry and live in other houses, Jo remains an active and daily part of their lives.

When the story begins, Jo is lying on the floor of the living room in their home. This is her typical tomboy position. She is so boyish that her father has sometimes called her "son Jo." She matures significantly during the first year of the story; her father notices that she has begun to act like a young lady, no longer uses slang or lies about on the floor. However, she will always be comfortable sitting on the ground or surrounded by young boys; she is herself and doesn’t care what other people think of it.


Jo’s castle is one of fantasy. She wants a stable of Arabian steeds and a magic pen that will enable her to write things that will make her rich and famous so she can always take care of Marmee and her sisters. Her dream may be sheer fantasy, but it is typical of Jo. Like LMA, Jo’s primary motivation for writing was to make money. When other activities and interests are available, her writing often gets set aside. In the story, she occasionally writes for therapeutic reasons especially when urged by another such as Marmee. However, even if she writes for money, she will not marry for money although throughout section I of the novel she clearly would like her sisters to marry well. Jo herself will do whatever brings her the most happiness; age and circumstance do not matter. It is no surprise, therefore, when she marries a man who is nearly old enough to be her father.

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