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 Post subject: Little Women
PostPosted: 27 Dec 2017, 14:01 
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Watching the delightful new BBC adaptation of the above last night, I was reminded of the similarities between Jo March and Joey Bettany, so had another look today at Ju Gosling's excellent essay on the subject. For anybody who isn't familiar with this, search for Ju Gosling Chalet School and you will find it easily, it's in the first of the chapters. [I forgot how to do website links and am too lazy to re-learn it right now.] Uma Thurman's daughter Maya Hawke even looked quite like I imagine Jo to be.
Anyway, here's a little of Ju Gosling on the subject:

It is interesting to consider the literary influences which are reflected in the characterisation in the "Chalet School" series. As a character Joey, at least in her early years, clearly owes something to Louisa M. Alcott's Jo March (as Alcott is obviously an influence on Brent-Dyer's early writing, it is possible that Brent-Dyer also used the initial "M" in imitation of her, particularly as both stand for "May"). Joey speaks slang:
" 'Gets her monkey up?' " repeated Gisela in a puzzled frown. "I do not understand."

"Sorry! That's slang, I'm 'fraid," apologised Joey. "Loses her temper, you know." (Brent-Dyer, 1925, p151)
This is also a trait of Jo March's: "'Jo does use such slang words!' observed Amy, with a reproving look at the long figure stretched on the rug" (Alcott, 1868, p7). Joey has a an annoying habit of humming: ''Joey Bettany!' she cried. 'For goodness sake stop that wretched humming!'" Jo March whistles: "Don't, Jo; it's so boyish!" (Alcott, 1868, p7). Joey is editor of the school magazine: "'Then shall we appoint Joey as the editor?' enquired Gisela. 'Will you hold your hands up if you agree?' A forest of hands was promptly waved in the air, and the motion was carried." (Brent-Dyer, 1926, p43). Similarly, "Jo [March], who revelled in pens and ink, was the editor" of the March sisters' weekly newspaper, "The Pickwick Portfolio" (Alcott, 1868, p121). Joey initially hates growing up: "Jo had a horror of growing up, and she resented anything that reminded her of the fact that she could be a child no longer" (Brent-Dyer, 1933, p12). So does Jo March:
"I'm not! [a young lady] and if turning up my hair makes me one, I'll wear it in two tails till I'm twenty . . . I hate to think I've got to grow up, and be Miss March, and wear long gowns, and look as prim as a China-aster!" (Alcott, 1868, p8)


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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 27 Dec 2017, 14:16 
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Deira burning Grizel's letter is very reminiscent of Amy burning Jo's book. And falling through the ice is a common plotline - it was even used in the Christmas special of "Victoria" :D - but that's another one used by both LMM and EBD.

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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 27 Dec 2017, 20:48 
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I watched it last night and thought it ok. Yes, definite similarities between Jo March and Jo Bettany. I did read that the actress playing Jo - also the daughter of Ethan Hawke who I adored in Dead Poet's Society - was considered at first to be too beautiful. All the girls attractive though. I also loved seeing Angela Lansbury.

I have not read the book though for decades.


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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 28 Dec 2017, 10:51 
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Audrey25 wrote:
I did read that the actress playing Jo - also the daughter of Ethan Hawke who I adored in Dead Poet's Society - was considered at first to be too beautiful. .

Yes, she is certainly attractive - you couldn't imagine her standing in front of a mirror and saying, "I'll never be pretty, will I?" - but she does have a rather unconventional look (for TV) and does flustered and cross very nicely!
I didn't realise that her father was Ethan Hawke, who I thought was superb as Chet Baker in "Born to be Blue".


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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 28 Dec 2017, 11:22 
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Gottfried wrote:
Audrey25 wrote:
I did read that the actress playing Jo - also the daughter of Ethan Hawke who I adored in Dead Poet's Society - was considered at first to be too beautiful. .

Yes, she is certainly attractive - you couldn't imagine her standing in front of a mirror and saying, "I'll never be pretty, will I?" - but she does have a rather unconventional look (for TV) and does flustered and cross very nicely!
I didn't realise that her father was Ethan Hawke, who I thought was superb as Chet Baker in "Born to be Blue".

I think she's beautiful by today's standards. But at the time Little Women was set, a more twee girlish prettiness would have been considered attractive, while Maya Hawke's stronger features probably would have marked her down as plain.


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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 28 Dec 2017, 23:27 
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I think in one of the Newsletters EBD said quite emphatically that Jo Bettany was not based on Jo March but there are so many similarities. I quite liked the current BBC version, but I wish that they would, just for once, concentrate on Little Women and not include the second book. (Called Good Wives in Britain) This seemed so rushed with many details missing because the script writer wanted to include Beth's death and getting them all married off. Why don't they ever do Little Men - that's great fun and kids would enjoy it.


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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 29 Dec 2017, 11:15 
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Mel wrote:
I think in one of the Newsletters EBD said quite emphatically that Jo Bettany was not based on Jo March but there are so many similarities. I quite liked the current BBC version, but I wish that they would, just for once, concentrate on Little Women and not include the second book. (Called Good Wives in Britain) This seemed so rushed with many details missing because the script writer wanted to include Beth's death and getting them all married off. Why don't they ever do Little Men - that's great fun and kids would enjoy it.


Once upon a time (sometime in the 1950s or very early 60s) they did.

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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 29 Dec 2017, 18:08 
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Third and final episode of this was on last night and I thought especially good. I thought Maya Hawke excellent and very likeable as Jo. IMHO the chemistry between Jo and Laurie strong. Laurie certainly very good looking.

In one of the reviews I read, the actress who played Amy was described as having a "moon face" so maybe easier to visualise the shape of Mary-Lou's face.

I agree Jo Bettany certainly a lot of similarities to Jo March. Why could Jo Bettany not have married a professor type rather than conventional Dr Jack?


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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 29 Dec 2017, 20:02 
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IIRC, Joey herself makes a comparison between herself and JO March. I don't remember which book, but it's one of the ones where she is an adult, or nearly so, and is talking about her hair. She says she will "wear her hair in two tails til I'm twenty". But then, we know that's mostly to do with Joey's hair being a total mess :D


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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 29 Dec 2017, 22:57 
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Audrey25 wrote:
I agree Jo Bettany certainly a lot of similarities to Jo March. Why could Jo Bettany not have married a professor type rather than conventional Dr Jack?


Meg, who, as the pretty one, was expected to bag a rich husband, married someone without much money, for love. Jo married someone with no money, for love - but conveniently inherited Aunt March's big house. Amy does marry someone well-to-do, but only after she's turned down Fred Vaughan, who is much better off, because she loves Laurie. CS girls don't really do marrying "poor" men for love :lol:. Even Reg, who is not from a traditional CS background, has an inheritance from his auntie. It's interesting that Wanda von Eschenau, the most beautiful CS girl ever, marries someone who's from a good family socially but, as the fourth son, doesn't have much money, but she inherits a load of money from a rich old auntie whom her parents cleverly named her after.

I suppose there must be plenty of rich professors with private incomes, so maybe Jo could have found one of them :lol:. But the only CS character I can think of who marries someone with no money, for love, is Margot Venables, nee Russell, and she has the worst marriage in the entire series. CS girls are generally only attracted to men with good jobs and additional incomes!

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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 30 Dec 2017, 01:18 
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Mr March was modelled somewhat after Alcott's own father. He's an intellectual, very moral and philosophically advanced, but not very good at supporting his family or anything financial. We're told in the books that the family used to be pretty well off (CS like private means), but Mr March lost the family's money in bad investments (he invested based on friendship, not economic soundness). His two oldest daughters drop out of their education at about age 13 or so, and go out to work to help support the family. He signs up for a chaplaincy during the civil war, even though he's rather old for it, and falls ill, leaving his family to borrow money from relatives to take care of him. From what I've read, the real family was similar, except that they couldn't afford a servant at home, tended to sponge off of wealthier friends financially, and were prone to eccentric philosophical lifestyle experiments.

Jo and the Professor go through some rough financial times with an illness and had to wait to marry until she inherits property. John Brooke leaves his family with enough to live on, but works so hard at that it contributes to his early death. And it's Jo, when she gets success with her writing, who is able to keep her mother in comfort in her last few years.

So not really a CS style family - they couldn't afford to have their kids attend a state day school, let alone a private education. In the CS series, if one of the clan married a poor man for love, they'd pretty much have to drop out of the CS world. Even with free tuition, boarding school in Switzerland would still cost a lot, and they wouldn't have faithful servants, or a big house, and the older kids would be needed at home to help with the housework and younger children, rather than being sent away to school.

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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 31 Dec 2017, 02:03 
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Gottfried wrote:
Audrey25 wrote:
I did read that the actress playing Jo - also the daughter of Ethan Hawke who I adored in Dead Poet's Society - was considered at first to be too beautiful. .

Yes, she is certainly attractive - you couldn't imagine her standing in front of a mirror and saying, "I'll never be pretty, will I?"


I remember when watching the Winona Ryder adaptation and Amy says to Jo "your one beauty" when Jo chops off her hair, the audience laughed which ruined the moment. Winona, of course, was far too pretty to play Jo but they needed a 'name' actress for the main role. Such a pity when Hollywood decides to defy the author's original intention.

Alison H wrote:
But the only CS character I can think of who marries someone with no money, for love, is Margot Venables, nee Russell, and she has the worst marriage in the entire series. CS girls are generally only attracted to men with good jobs and additional incomes!


But doesn't that also have to do with the fact that they probably never meet anyone outside of their class, let alone marry them? The only men they ever meet are of middle/upper class, so those are the only ones who are attracted to them and vice versa.

It's heavily emphasised that Reg's father was a school master and his father a doctor i.e. he comes of solid middle class stock. But I notice Joey has no issues with Reg taking the aunt's lower class money!

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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 31 Dec 2017, 11:57 
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Joyce wrote:
But doesn't that also have to do with the fact that they probably never meet anyone outside of their class, let alone marry them? The only men they ever meet are of middle/upper class, so those are the only ones who are attracted to them and vice versa.


But even within the respectable middle class category, they'd still meet plenty of people who were from educated professional families, but who didn't have private incomes, or convenient inheritances to supplement their salary. Or people who had made it through university on scholarship, or immigrants rebuilding their lives after the war, or who had chosen a lower paying job for philosophical reasons. But they all seem to meet men who have private incomes, or family who can help them start out.

I will say, though, that in a society where middle class women didn't work, where reliable birth control wasn't available, and where there wasn't much in the way of a public support system (health care, education, welfare, unemployment insurance, government pensions), marrying a man who couldn't support you and any children you had would have been a pretty foolish thing to do, from a practical perspective.

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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 31 Dec 2017, 15:21 
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When Vanna Ozanne marries a farmer, Joey is quick to point out to everyone that he has a private income. And Joey can only have known that because Janie found it appropriate to mention it in her letter!

It always makes me laugh when Josette tells Len that Bride is engaged to a trainee barrister and that Jem says he'll do very well - I have visions of Jem ringing round all his old school chums in the higher echelons of the legal world to check out what they know about poor Simon :lol: .

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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 31 Dec 2017, 18:46 
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Alison H wrote:
But the only CS character I can think of who marries someone with no money, for love, is Margot Venables, nee Russell, and she has the worst marriage in the entire series. CS girls are generally only attracted to men with good jobs and additional incomes!


Ted Humphries is without money and marries someone who is penniless. They live quietly and are happy.


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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 01 Jan 2018, 16:54 
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This thread has sent me back to the books, for about the millionth time...Meg has just had the twins, and Laurie says it's the joke of the season. Without checking, isn't that what Dick says when Molly has Rix and Peggy?
Never mind what EBD said, it's always been obvious to me that the CS characters owe a great deal to LMA!
Oops, back to edit, it's Jo who says it, not Laurie.....


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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 03 Jan 2018, 14:03 
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I've just spotted another - Jo March and Jo Bettany both have November birthdays!


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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 03 Jan 2018, 21:42 
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When Jo writes an "Elsie" book it's called Elsie's Boys (or similar, about the boys anyway) reminiscent of Jo's Boys


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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 06 Apr 2018, 04:57 
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Quote:
Never mind what EBD said, it's always been obvious to me that the CS characters owe a great deal to LMA!

For sure! And LMA owes quite a bit to Charlotte Yonge, too, as well as to her own history - at least the name of the March family, I think, is a tribute to the May family (whose history, The Daisy Chain, also opens with a fifteen-year-old author-insert "unfeminine" heroine with literary aspirations).


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 Post subject: Re: Little Women
PostPosted: 07 Apr 2018, 04:01 
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As Little Men was mentioned earlier, there's a 1940 verson of Little Men on YouTube for anyone that's interested.

There was also a Canadian made TV Series of it from 1998 to 1999 which I remember watching.

According to Wikipedia there were also two other movies of it, one in 1934 and another in 1998.

It's too bad there was never a movie version of Jo's Boys.

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