What is the point, Jo, my darling Jo, has just blatantly displayed that she does not, nor does she wish to, love me. She says that she loves me dearly as a friend but how can that be true if she could refuse me in the way that she did. How could she refuse me… me of all people? We have been the best of friends for such a long time. She mustn’t be as smart as I once thought. She speaks of how wonderful life would be if she had some money and I am offering that to her, but she has refused.
Maybe I was wrong to love her. How could I have fallen in love with a girl who is so incredibly masculine and different? But I have and just knowing that she does not love me back, I know she would if she would just try. There isn’t much I can do about it now though, she has made up her mind and if I know Jo as I know I do, once her mind is made up, not even she can change it.
Maybe grandfather is right, maybe it is best for me to go away. I do not wish to waste my life here in this room, staring out this window watching the girls all day every day. But I do not wish to leave my Jo behind. She is the reason that I went to college. I graduated with honours for goodness sake, and all for nothing. I suppose I could go and join the family business but I would really rather focus on my music.
I don’t understand. Last night she seemed so happy to see me – I was sure she would accept me – she called me a hero. What girl in her right mind would not want a hero? But Jo is not a normal girl, she is … well different and that made me love her all the more.
She and her sisters are so incredibly wonderful and their mother reminds me of my own. I have always wanted my mother back and Marmee is so much like her it almost pains me to hear her speak. The way that she looks at the girls, the same way my mother used to look at me and Mr March is like Father. Father went away to war and a couple of weeks later we received news that he died in battle. Mr March, although is not like him, reminds me of him.
I guess partly it could have been the thought of having a mother and a father again that I really fell in love with. Maybe Jo, my beautiful Jo, was just a way of getting that again.
Good morning/ afternoon Dr Mayne and fellow students. The recount that I have just presented was told from Laurie’s perspective and takes place after Chapter 35, Heartache. This chapter is the scene when Laurie asks Jo to marry him and she refuses. In this recount, Laurie is sitting at his window looking out at the March’s house and contemplating why he asked Jo to marry him and his upcoming trip abroad.
Theodore Laurence, or Laurie as he is known, plays a very important role in the book Little Women. He is a member of the wealthy Laurence family and is the heir to the Laurence business. He is a member of the middle-upper class of society. Laurie demonstrates a very different point of view from other men of the time.
Being of this class, and asking Jo, a girl who is very much beneath him, to marry him, he challenges the discourse of class very strongly. In the time of the 1860s, it was very much frowned upon to marry beneath you. However, Laurie does not believe that class matters when he asks Jo to marry him. Also he challenges this discourse in that he has always associated with the March family.
Laurie challenges both this discourse and the discourse of gender by not wanting to join the family business, as was the custom of the time for men, instead wanting to focus on his music. In addition, he challenges the gender discourse as the males of this time were supposed to be the “dominant” person in the marriage; however it is clear that he would allow Jo to be dominant. He also challenges this discourse simply by asking Jo to marry him as she is perceived to be very masculine and does not act as a young lady of that era was expected to act. In saying this, however, he also endorses this discourse. As he is wealthier than Jo, Laurie would be the “breadwinner” for the family, a role traditionally accepted by men at the time.
Laurie not only supports Jo and her “masculine” ways but he often says that the girls are lucky. He does not like the fact that he has to study and he often wishes that he could be like the March girls and not have to study. He also falls in love with Jo even though she does not conform to the ways of the 19th century. In fact, that makes him like her more.
Laurie is very kind and respectful towards women, unlike other men of his time, and has a very positive attitude towards them. Although he is expected to, he does not wish to join the family business, however in this recount, he begins to change his mind and feels that the business would actually be good for him. Up until he asks Jo to marry him, Laurie is quite careful with his money. After Jo refuses him though, he begins to spend it all. He wishes he could be freer and be able to do what he likes, like the March girls. This again, challenges the discourse of gender in a way, as he does not wish to act like a male is supposed to act.
Laurie is very strong in his belief that women are equal. To coincide with this, he also believes in the equality of class. This is evident throughout the book and most obviously in his interaction with the Marches as a poorer family. A stereotypical male and upper class man of the time would not have associated with a family such as this especially because they are women of a lower class. It is very clear that Laurie is not like these men especially when he asks Jo to marry him.
There are many gaps and silences that surround Laurie in this book. One gap that was addressed in the recount was the issue of Laurie’s mother and father. It seems that Laurie’s mother was a lot like Marmee and his father went to war like Mr March. It could be said that this is the real reason that Laurie wants to marry Jo and be a part of the March family. As he says in the recount, “he has always wanted his mother back” and being a part of the March family may fulfil that desire.
While it is very clear in the recount that Laurie is not the typical male – he does not want to study or work in the business and seems to have a more feminine mind – other traits are only hinted at throughout the book. He could have a bit of a temper which is shown in the recount. It could also be said that he is quite selfish as he could just want to marry Jo to be a part of the March family and “have” a mother and father again. He also spends a lot of the family’s money to make himself feel better after Jo refuses him.
The audience is positioned to respond to Laurie in a mixed way. In some cases, the audience is positioned to like Laurie as he does not conform to the “rules” of the 19th century. He treats women equally and, although they are considered beneath him, treats the Marches as friends. The audience could also sympathise with him when Jo turns him down as he becomes very quiet and is genuinely upset.
Theodore Laurence is a very submissive character in the book Little Women. He is very respectful towards women. He is not the stereotypical male due to his belief in the equality of gender and class. Throughout the book he develops a very strong love for Jo March, however, when he asks her to marry him, she refuses.
Yes grandfather I will prepare for our trip.
I know it will be good for me to travel abroad – I just wish that I wasn’t going alone. I wish with all of my heart that Jo would come with me.
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