Saturday 12 June 2010

Such Devoted Sisters

The Guardian book blog had a piece about sisters in literature the other day. I read with interest since I happen to have two fine specimens of the species myself, one older and one younger. As Diana Wynne Jones pointed out in Howl’s Moving Castle, this should mean that the littlest sister (LTLS) will win the day and marry the prince, while GK’s Mama and I will come to NO GOOD.

Little Women is mentioned several times in the article and prompted me to record this confession. Any literary-leaning young woman worth her salt is supposed to identify with Jo I'll-wear-it-in-two-tails-till-I'm-twenty March (see here, for example.) But, to be honest, I always found Jo a bit much, too sentimental and oblivious to the charms of Laurie (fool! fool!) I went through a brief period of wanting to be Beth, beloved by all, uniting the family around my (SPOILER!) death-bed. But once I got over my masochism, I realised that my favourite sister was Amy. Amy was laughed at for incorrectly using long words (I still have the scars), got in trouble a lot (I can relate) – that whole pickled limes incident was TRAUMATIC reading. But she knows what she wants and she gets it – and also becomes better at reconciling her own wants with the needs of people around her.

And yes, she ends up with Laurie and I have to ask myself if I’m betraying my feminist beliefs by sympathising with her because she catches the man. But Jo also gives up her independence for a man (even more sentimental than she is) and goes on to inspire the soppiest piece of drivel known to humankind, Jo’s Boys. In the Winona Ryder film version, Professor Bhaer is played by Gabriel Byrne, but then Laurie is played by Christian Bale, so honours are about even.

I daresay you won’t rest until you decide for yourself Which March Sister Are You, so I googled and found a test you can take (you knew there would be one, right): Which March Sister Are You?

No, this doesn’t have anything to do with travel or hints but I couldn’t set off for the Far East without getting this off my chest. And, come to think of it, Amy did go travelling, so this is totally pertinent to the main theme of my blog.


  1. I am apparently 33% Jo, 33% Meg and 25% Amy. Only 8% Beth though...

  2. Me? MARRIED? Are you mad? I'll take Sophie any day. Although to be quite honest, I see myself as more of a Calcifer...