by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women Literature and Writing Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle, something heroic or wonderful that won't be forgotten after I'm dead. I don't know what, but I'm on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all some day. I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous, that would suit me, so that is my favorite dream." (13.52)
At this point, it's not clear whether Jo actually has a gift for writing or just views it as a way to get rich quick. She's clever enough to make money from her writing and make a name for herself, but whether it is her true calling remains to be seen.
"Well, I've left two stories with a newspaperman, and he's to give his answer next week," whispered Jo, in her confidant's ear.
"Hurrah for Miss March, the celebrated American authoress!" cried Laurie, throwing up his hat and catching it again, to the great delight of two ducks, four cats, five hens, and half a dozen Irish children, for they were out of the city now.
"Hush! It won't come to anything, I dare say, but I couldn't rest till I had tried, and I said nothing about it because I didn't want anyone else to be disappointed."
"It won't fail. Why, Jo, your stories are works of Shakespeare compared to half the rubbish that is published every day. Won't it be fun to see them in print, and shan't we feel proud of our authoress?" (14.56-59)
For Jo, trying to get her stories published is a serious matter – it will help her know whether or not writing really is her gift, and it might bring in some much-needed money for her family. For her friend Laurie, however, publication is just a game. He thinks it would be exciting for Jo to have her name in print, but he doesn't think much about it beyond that.
Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and 'fall into a vortex,' as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace. Her 'scribbling suit' consisted of a black woolen pinafore on which she could wipe her pen at will, and a cap of the same material, adorned with a cheerful red bow, into which she bundled her hair when the decks were cleared for action. This cap was a beacon to the inquiring eyes of her family, who during these periods kept their distance, merely popping in their heads semi-occasionally to ask, with interest, "Does genius burn, Jo?" (27.2)
Jo's fits of inspiration are comical – she wears a bizarre outfit designed for practicality rather than appearance and behaves antisocially while the writing fit is upon her. Her creative periods are less stylish than her sister Amy's, but more substantial.