Day 5 of Christmas Nightlight Readings: Little Women, Ch. 1-3
Just this summer I spent a week visiting my best friend in Boston, Massachusetts. During my visit I was able to take a day trip to Concord. (To read about my visit, go here.) A New England town full of literary history, we were able to see the home of Louisa May Alcott where she wrote Little Women. This story has always been a favorite of mine and probably helped influence my love of the era of the American Civil War.
If anyone was curious how Christmas was in the North during the Civil War, Little Women is a great example. For the last couple of years, one evening before Christmas, I take a moment to read the first few chapters of the book in which the March sisters celebrate Christmas in the midst of the war (absent of their father).
It opens with the sisters complaining of their poor status and how Christmas would not be the same without presents, and without Father (Beth of course is not one of the girls complaining). In the second chapter they awake Christmas morning, but Marmee is gone taking care of a sick poor family. When their mother returns the girls are hungry waiting for their Christmas breakfast. However, in the spirit of Christmas they decide to go trekking through the snow to bring their breakfast and Christmas to the home of the poor family. Generosity and charity make the best Christmas stories. In the third chapter, Jo and Meg are invited to a New Years Eve party at the Gardiners, where despite some mishaps with a curling iron, getting too close to the fire, and stained gloves, they have a festive time (this is also where Laurie first graces the tale).
I have always loved this story—to think Louisa May Alcott did not really want to write the story and in fact called it "dull" after completing the first few chapters—and I will continue to love this story. I might even open the first few pages tonight before bed. Enjoy!
*If you are interested in how this story has helped inspire me and how it influenced my own writing, read this excerpt from my manuscript.
“To study history is to study the motives, the opinions, and the passions of men in order to know all the successes, the initiatives and the detours, and finally all the illusions that they make known to the mind and the surprises that they make the heart feel. In a word, it is to learn to known oneself in others.”—Jean Mabillon, 15th c. Benedictine scholar.