Little Women: Why is it still relevant after hundreds of years?

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Little Women 2019 poster (Image courtesy of Sony Pictures)

Literature, as they suggest is timeless. Once a piece of literature is published, it is immortalized. But whether a piece of literature still holds the same attraction after several generations pass is what judges its timeless quality.

Something similar can be said about Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”, the popular American novel, published in 1868, that was recently made into an Academy-award nominated Hollywood movie under the same title.

Greta Gerwig directed ‘Little Women’ released worldwide last year, to very positive reviews. The question is, however, why is a plot written hundreds of years back is still loved today? Here is what I feel.

In the movie, one of the four sisters, Jo, the writer is heard commenting that no one would like to read about domestic struggle and love and personal details.

But the irony lies in the fact that no matter how romantic the literary world is, its strong connection to real-life can never be ignored. And no matter how advanced our world becomes, the basic human struggle remains the same. 

A deeper look into the titular character and why they still connect to us

The oldest sister Meg played by Emma Watson is portrayed as a sensible young woman who marries for love. She faces hardships through her married life because of her husband’s meager income.

Yet she manages to rise above her poverty for the man she loved so well. There are many Megs in our real-world who are still sacrificing a better life for love.

And the most interesting part lies in the fact that not all of them are doomed. They can be actually happy in the end. A life satisfied by love is a good life nevertheless which is why she connects to the masses.

The second oldest Jo, played by Saoirse Ronan, is a hot-headed woman who is also quite passionate and sure about her life. Her struggle to do something like being a writer which was not a mainstream job in her time makes her so real.

There are many people who are still struggling for getting acceptance in mainstream society along with their not-so-mainstream choices in life.

Jo’s struggle in love and career is so real that we can literally feel here dilemma, her outbursts and her complexities as our own.

The second youngest sister, Beth played by Eliza Scanlen is an epitome of a good-hearted person who does good to the world by just being compassionate.

She goes beyond her means to help people in need and empathizes with others at a much deeper level. Her character represents the more emotional yet reserved side of us.

Little Women, 2019 poster (Image via Youtube)

Her character also reminded me of numerous animal activists and Queer supporters who go out of their way to speak about the marginalized.

In the end, these people may suffer but that does not decrease the quality of life they live in. A much more meaningful one than many who lives life only for themselves. 

The youngest sister Amy played by Florence Pugh, with all her tantrums and complexes reminds each of us about the intricate complexes that we all nurture in ourselves.

She grew up feeling a fit of inexplicable anger towards Jo and at one time after she grew up she bursts out saying she was tired of being second to Jo all her life.

It is not that she didn’t love her sister. It’s just that sometimes, feelings like these make us more human. No one is obligated to being perfect all the time.

We make mistakes and learn from them. In the end, all that matters is if we are successful in rising above our petty selves to embrace a more grounded life. Just like Amy did by the end of the story.

That ‘Little Women’, the movie, doing so well in the box-office in today’s times attests to the fact that characters crafted hundreds of years back still resonate with our twenty first century modern lives.

It can be safely said that at some level, even with all the technological advances, the basic struggle of human beings are still the same.

The choice of love, family, career, human emotions, struggles are, to say the least still there. Only our circumstances have evolved into a different reality. The under-struggle remains the same.

What did the movie mean to you? Let us know in comments below.