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How “Little Women” Shaped Modern Views on marriage, Love and Women’s Independence

  ”Little Women” is a novel written by American female writer Louisa May Alcott in 1868. The novel mainly describes the gradual growth of four women. When Mr. March had to leave home, Mrs. March and her four daughters lived a poor but happy life at home. The four girls are all very beautiful, but have very different personalities: the eldest daughter Meg loves beauty and has always dreamed of marrying into a wealthy family and entering the upper class; the second daughter Qiao loves writing and wants to become a writer; the third daughter Beth is well-behaved and obedient. , is Mrs. March’s good helper; the little sister Amy likes painting, although she is naughty, she also attaches great importance to feelings. “Little Women” tells the various experiences of four girls as they grow up, expresses the author’s emphasis on female self-awareness, and promotes kindness, bravery, independence and other beautiful qualities.
  1. Reasons for the formation of Meg’s view on marriage and love
  (1) Social reasons
  In traditional American social concepts, women can only obey men and make themselves possess the virtues expected by men, and beauty is also an integral part of their measurement standards. In the 1830s, the trend of transcendentalism emerged in the United States, which believed that people should overcome the temptation of the material world and become independent, self-reliant, and self-improving. Alcott used transcendentalism as a guide to let the four sisters of the March family complete their growth and transformation through hard training. In the 1860s, American society had just entered a period of quiet development, and people’s ideas were greatly impacted. The feminist movement that advocated women’s independence was rising, and a large number of female activists emerged to fight for women’s rights. At that time, the feminist point of view believed that men and women should be equal, and women should go into society to play their social role, get a job, establish their own career, and thus gain independence both mentally and materially, and then achieve autonomy, self-reliance, and self-reliance. .
  In traditional American society, women’s virtues are highly respected, that is, women only exist as wives and mothers. They must be good wives and mothers at home, support their husbands and educate their children, be their husbands’ virtuous wives, and be good mothers of their children. . Under the impact of transcendentalism and the women’s rights movement, women’s thoughts have changed, but deep-rooted ideas cannot become history in an instant. The elegant, quiet and versatile ladies of the Victorian era are what traditional American society admires. The eldest daughter Meg in “Little Women” is a typical image under the impact of old and new ideas. She is not only a virtuous and virtuous female image who supports the family in the traditional sense, but also breaks the inherent stereotype at that time that women cannot go out to work and men The concept of not being able to get involved in family chores.
  (2) Family reasons
  Meg’s views on marriage and love are inseparable from the educational philosophy of Mr. and Mrs. March. In traditional American society, it is very rare for Mr. and Mrs. March, as parents, to have such advanced educational awareness. There are very few such families. The father had no choice but to leave home and could no longer take care of the family. Even so, he did not forget to send letters to his daughters at fixed times, telling them to study and cultivate their interests after work. Mrs. March also leads by example and teaches the children various principles they need to learn as they grow up. In the traditional American marriage concept of the 19th century, marriage must be based on a well-matched family. However, Mrs. March firmly believes that being well-matched is not the only criterion for determining a happy marriage, but love is an essential element. This view of marriage and love was undoubtedly unique in the society at that time.
  Meg, who had just entered a social gathering, felt a little lost. Against her will, she put on a corset and a gorgeous skirt, trying to fit in among the ladies, but at the same time she was also confused. After returning home, Meg confided her troubles to Mrs. March. Mrs. March and her daughters were wearing pajamas, sitting on the soft bed, and gently guided Meg. People should pay more attention to their hearts than their appearance and money. Having excellent qualities is more important than anything else. They don’t look like mother and daughter together, they look like friends having a heart-to-heart talk. The daughters listened to her words and took them to heart. When Mrs. March learned that Meg had decided to marry a poor man, she expressed some concern that the man did not have a house, but in the end she encouraged her daughter, hoping that her daughter would marry for love.
  Mrs. March in “Little Women” is gentle, kind and wise, and she has raised daughters who are all talented and firm in their ideals and beliefs; while Mrs. Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice” is vulgar, vain and moody, The two are in stark contrast. In “Pride and Prejudice”, except for Mrs. Bennet’s eldest daughter and second daughter, the other three daughters all inherited Mrs. Bennet’s ugly personality flaws and became very greedy, frivolous, and even dissolute. Not only that, Mrs. Bennet also spared no effort to praise her daughters to others, hoping that they would marry with grace and dignity. Compared with the four sisters raised by Mrs. March in “Little Women”, the Bennet family’s family education is obviously a failure. Although Mrs. March’s family is poor, they are not frivolous. They have a decent personality and are upright. On the issue of money, Mrs. March has a completely different view. As she said: “Money is important, but I don’t want my daughters to lack food and clothing, nor do I want them to be unable to resist the temptation of money… If money and character are Of course it is a good thing to have both.” An ordinary civilian family, even though they live in poverty, their life is full of warmth and true love. Under the influence of this concept, Meg gave up her yearning for a wealthy life, turned to pursue true love, and chose to marry the poor John. For this reason, she did not hesitate to give up the inheritance left by Aunt March. She said: “I don’t I will marry for money, and my John will not marry for money. We are willing to support ourselves and are willing to wait.” 2. Meg’s
  Views on Marriage and
  Love (1) Love Model
  As the eldest daughter in the family, Meg has been smart and obedient since she was a child. She was beautiful and good at drama. She once hoped that she could show off her talents on the stage, but instead of engaging in drama, she became a tutor. Meg was a little vain at first. Because she was born in a not rich family, she yearned for the life of the upper class. She desires everything a girl would desire, including jewelry and clothes; she also desires to marry a rich man. By chance, Meg went to a rich man’s home and experienced the life of the upper class for a while, but she didn’t adapt. Being among the rich, she could clearly feel that she didn’t belong here. Even if she put on the best clothes, she still wasn’t up to par with the party crowd. Even if others want to help her, they must carefully maintain her self-esteem. The atmosphere of the banquet seemed relaxed and harmonious, but in fact Meg had been trying hard to cater to it.
  However, all this changed when she met John. John is young and handsome, and is Laurie’s tutor; he is affectionate and gentleman, he will secretly hide Meg’s gloves, and drop his yearning letters in the small mailbox. As a boyfriend, John is perfect; but as a husband, he falls short in the ointment because he is broke. When Aunt March said that Meg could inherit her inheritance, everyone was happy; but Aunt March objected to Meg marrying John, a poor man, and firmly stated that if Meg insisted on marrying John, she would not give the inheritance to Meg. Presented to Meg. However, Meg did not give up this love because of those attractive inheritances. Having a huge fortune was exactly the life Meg had longed for before, but now, it is this only love that allows her to resist temptation and firmly believe that with the power of two people, she can live a happy and beautiful life. Joe was worried about her and felt unfair for her, but she said: “Family life is what I want.” When Joe advised Meg not to give up her acting career because of marriage, Meg replied: “My dreams are different from yours.” It’s different, but that doesn’t mean it’s unimportant.” Meg wanted a family, and she was willing to build a future and work hard for this family, but only if she was with John. The aunt advised Meg not to follow the same path as Meg’s mother, but in the face of love and bread, she ran towards love without hesitation and entered the life she longed for.

  As the eldest daughter in the family, Meg takes on the responsibility of taking care of her sisters and helping her mother with the housework. She is a traditional virtuous wife and mother. At the same time, she has an outstanding appearance, is elegant and beautiful, and is a self-esteem and A vain girl. Meg likes money and envies the life of the upper class, so she often dresses up to attend gatherings of upper class people. At the lavish banquet, she wore a gorgeous dress that did not belong to her and smiled coquettishly. At that moment she was the focus of the audience. If she wanted to, she could deliberately drop her glass slippers and complete the gorgeous transformation like Cinderella. However, when she dressed up like an exquisite doll and tried to act like others wanted her to look like, Meg began to be confused again, what exactly did she want? She yearns for a wealthy life, a noble status, a luxurious house and beautiful clothes, but without love, no matter how big a house is, it is not a home. When she meets John, who is not wealthy, she discovers something more important than satisfying her vanity, that is her love with John. Because in front of him, Meg can truly be herself. John is a good character, understands her, and truly loves her. Therefore, the girl’s beauty was buried in Jingchai’s sarong, and Meg chose to start a family with him, work and struggle together. Her love journey was not smooth. Her sisters opposed it and her family was not optimistic about it, but she didn’t care at all. Instead, she emphasized over and over again: “I do.” (2
  ) Marriage model
  Meg and John’s married life was indeed due to poverty. Many problems arose. Although the two had been budgeting carefully, their lives were still very tight. Once, in order not to be looked down upon by her friends, Meg spent $50 to buy a piece of beautiful silk fabric while hanging out with her friends, which was their family’s living expenses for three months. After returning, Meg was worried that her husband would blame her, so she preemptively told him that she was tired of being poor. John did not blame Meg, but returned to the house without saying a word. From then on, John worked harder to earn money and came home later and later. Meg also felt heartbroken and regretful. After thinking clearly, Meg did not let the embarrassing family atmosphere continue to spread. Instead, she chose to have a long talk with her husband. She understood that “poverty” was the valuable thing about her husband. Because of poverty, he could gain the confidence and strength to make progress. She saw her husband’s efforts for the family and felt his love for her. Meg eventually sold the expensive piece of fabric to a wealthy friend, and she found that her heart felt at peace. Because of love, they will really take each other into their hearts in marriage and hope that each other will live happily, instead of being blinded by the glitz of society. In the days that followed, Meg continued to learn to be considerate and give back to her lover. She got rid of her bad habits of vanity and face-saving, and worked hard to be a good wife. Meg will reflect on her vanity, and John will give in for the sake of his wife’s happiness. A young couple is trying to make their lives better, and what drives them to change is their love for each other.
  After Meg gave birth to twins, she left all the housework to the servants and focused all her attention on the children every day. What’s more, Meg also spends less time with John. Meg didn’t give John a chance when it came to raising children. She always felt that John wouldn’t be able to take care of children, or she always felt that men wouldn’t do their best for their children. Over time, this home was no longer a source of happiness for John. Every time after get off work, he would go to a friend’s house to play and wouldn’t go home until it was time to go to bed. As time went by, Meg felt distressed and worried about this state. She always thought that it was because she was getting older and uglier, and no longer as sweet and interesting as before, so her husband left his haggard wife and went to the hospital. Meet the beautiful neighbor who is not burdened by children. Meg thought it was her husband’s fault because he was too selfish and didn’t know how to feel sorry for her and understand her, so he stayed away from her. Later, at the suggestion of Mrs. March, Meg made many changes, and even let John participate in childcare, which perfectly saved her marriage from being destroyed. The lives of the two are still poor, but still sweet.
  3. The significance of the views on marriage and love in “Little Women”
  In the family, Meg has undoubtedly set a good example for her little sister Amy. Amy has always longed to marry a rich man, but when faced with the proposal of Fred, who is richer than Laurie, she finally rejects Fred, chooses love, and marries Laurie. Although they live in poverty, their family life is warm and touching. It can be seen that the criterion for a happy marriage is not the amount of money, but whether two people have a love that is stronger than gold.
  ”Little Women” is a rare outstanding female literary work in the history of American literature and world literature. It rewrote the inherent image in American literature at that time that women could only be good wives and mothers and could not work outside the home. It challenged the class concept that marriage must be well-matched and must be based on property. It subverted women’s views on marriage at that time and established a good foundation for women. A correct view of marriage and love has a guiding role. The influence of the image of the eldest daughter Meg made a contribution to the independence of women in the patriarchal society at that time. It not only showed that women needed to work outside the home, but also called on men to participate in family work and children’s education, which promoted American society. further development. Therefore, the work “Little Women” has an indelible impact on individuals and society, which is also an important reason why it can withstand the baptism of time.
  Meg, who loves vanity, did not choose the shortcut to enter the upper class of society by marrying a rich man, but chose a partner who truly loved each other, because she gradually discovered that even under various halos, surrounded by dragons and phoenixes among people, , she still felt lonely and unable to integrate. Later, she slowly began to realize that the maturity of her inner world is the true foundation of a woman’s life. This change in her thinking made her fall in love with her tutor John without hesitation. From this moment on, she no longer envied her friends’ luxurious weddings, or other people’s tall and spacious houses. All vanity became a passing thing.
  Although Meg suffered from poverty, she finally chose to stand firmly on the side of love. Maybe Meg looks like a very traditional woman, but she is still strong and independent in her heart. Because of their love for each other, Meg and her husband were able to survive the setbacks in life, tolerate each other, and work hard to change for each other. Material life is not everything in life. Only spiritual abundance and self-satisfaction can make people happy. For marriage, both money and love are essential, but love will make people willing to return to a peaceful marriage, and also make every ordinary day in the future full of sunshine.
  In the current era when women are pursuing independence, “good wife and mother” seems to have become a derogatory term. Some people belittle wives who devote themselves to their families and ridicule poor mothers who have given birth to several children but cannot afford to raise them. It seems that only those who are not married and have no children can be called true feminism. I don’t know since when, being an ordinary “good wife and mother” has to suffer so much criticism. Joe’s self-reliant image was praised by the world, but Meg, who wanted to get married, was ignored by the public. In a sense, “Meg” in this era is lonelier than Joe, but every “Meg” who wants to be a good wife and mother should be respected.