I don’t recall exactly how old I was the first time I read Little Women but I’m guessing I was around 10. I loved it and have read it several times over the years. A brand new three-part adaptation premiers this Sunday on Masterpiece Theater and I am so excited to see it! There have been several adaptations over the years:
Yesterday I had the opportunity to see the 1949 version starring June Allyson, Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Leigh and Margaret O’Brien at a local theater. I had dozens of things on my to-do list but some things are more important. I hadn’t seen this particular version before. As I watched I was reminded of some of the lessons that can be learned from this classic story.
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5 Lessons from “Little Women”
1. It’s better to give than to receive.
The March girls give up their own Christmas presents in order to buy gifts for their hard working “Marmee” and experience the joy in giving to someone they love. In a more challenging lesson, they give their Christmas breakfast to a very poor and hungry family. It’s not so difficult to give to someone dear to us but to give to someone outside our circle of family and close friends stretches us and deepens our sense of empathy.
2. Money doesn’t buy happiness.
Both Aunt March and Mr. Laurence, the “old gentleman” next door have riches that anyone might envy. And yet money hasn’t brought either of them happiness. Aunt March is a cantankerous woman and quite difficult to get along with. Mr. Laurence can be rather crabby himself but we find over time that he is actually rather kind. Still, he’s not a happy man.
3. We all have character flaws but we can work to overcome them.
Meg is prideful; Jo is rebellious; Amy is vain; Beth is timid. Each girl possesses a character flaw with which she struggles. And while elements of those traits no doubt remain deep within, each girl makes great strides in overcoming these challenges.
4. Friendship is a valuable treasure.
The four March girls are not only sisters, they are one another’s truest friends. They also develop a close friendship with Laurie, the boy next door. These relationships sustain them through difficult times.
5. Listen to well-meaning advice.
All of the girls are the recipients of Marmee’s wise counsel and are the better for it. And while it was painful for her to accept at first, Professor Bhaer’s reaction to Jo’s early writings ultimately makes her a better writer.
Have you read Little Women? What did you think of it? Do you have a favorite movie adaptation? Are you planning to watch the new version? Who is your favorite March girl?
I’m now even more excited to see the new adaptation and truly hope it does the story justice. Click the photo below for more information if you want to see it, too.