Starting 2020, Adorageek will celebrate the story of girl protagonist in literature! We have so many remarkable girl protagonists that have inspired us throughout our lives. So every month, Adorageek will celebrate the story of a girl protagonist. You will see characters from different stories, from literature to fantasy and science-fiction to romance; and Adorageek has especially chosen different girl protagonists to represent the diversity of human culture and ethnicity. They are as colorful as we all are!
For this month, Adorageek will celebrate the story of Jo March!
Josephine “Jo” March is a girl protagonist from the renowned novel Little Women. It is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888) which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Following the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy—the novel details their passage from childhood to womanhood and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters.
We’d like to share with you some more of Jo and her sisters’ story. Please be aware that from now on the post contains spoilers from the book and also from other adaptation of the book, including movies and films.
Jo, who is 15 years old at the beginning of the book, is a strong and willful young woman, struggling to subdue her fiery temper and stubborn personality. She is the second-oldest of four sisters and is the boyish one. Her father has referred to her as his “son Jo,” and her best friend and neighbor, Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, sometimes calls her “my dear fellow.” Jo’s “hot” temper often leads her into trouble. With the help of her own misguided sense of humor, her sister Beth, and her mother, Marmee, she works on controlling it. It has been said that a lot of Louisa May Alcott shows through in these characteristics of Jo.
Jo loves literature, both reading, and writing. She composes plays for her sisters to perform and writes short stories. Her actions are often bold such as when she decided to sell her hair so Marmee can buy a train ticket to visit her husband, Jo’s father, who was ill in Washington.
Jo initially rejects the idea of marriage and romance, feeling that it would break up her family and separate her from the sisters whom she adores. While pursuing a literary career in New York City, she meets Friedrich Bhaer, a German professor. On her return home, Jo rejects Laurie’s marriage proposal, confirming her independence.
After Beth dies, Professor Bhaer woos Jo at her home, when “They decide to share life’s burdens just as they shared the load of bundles on their shopping expedition”. She is 25 years old when she accepts his proposal. The marriage is deferred until her unexpected inheritance of her Aunt March’s home a year later. According to critic Barbara Sicherman, “The crucial first point is that the choice is hers, its quirkiness another sign of her much-prized individuality.”
Jo March inspires us on how to reconcile with a girl’s place in today’s world, and a girl could be independent but does not mean that she cannot find romance. In her world, Jo is driven crazy that she cannot go and fight in the Civil War alongside her father, who has volunteered as a chaplain. Instead, Jo has to stay at home and try to reconcile herself to a nineteenth-century woman’s place in the domestic sphere, which is extremely difficult for her. By the end of the novel, Jo discovers her feminine side, she also figures out how to balance her ambitious nature with the constraints placed on nineteenth-century women. She even realizes that romantic love has its place, even though it changes the relationships you already have.
What about you? Tell us your favorite girl protagonist! Or do you have a personal girl protagonist who have inspired you? Let us know, and Adorageek will be more than honored to share her story with the world!
And if you want to know more of Jo’s daring story and all of the other amazing March’s sisters, you can head out to the movies. The newest movie adaptation of the Little Women directed by Greta Gerwig is out in theaters everywhere.