The great return of ‘Little Women’: a feminist or conservative story?

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The novel written in 1868 by Louisa May Alcott returned to the cinema to prove that it is still valid, almost two centuries later. Directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan and Meryl Streep, she is nominated for best film at the Oscar Awards. What do you have to never go out of style?

Little Women It tells the story of four sisters, from the time they are girls until they become adults, in the context of the US Civil War. Their lives unfold in the search for their independence, given the pressure of marriage and the lack of job opportunities.

The novel was taken eight times to the cinema and this latest adaptation, released in December 2019, caused a new boom of sales. He also unleashed the debate on issues such as the validity of the book – which is already 150 years old – and the question of whether it is a feminist or conservative work.

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                    Photo: Gentileza Clubdelectura.UY and the National Network of Reading Clubs

Event for the discussion of ‘Little Women’, organized by Clubdelectura.UY and the National Network of Reading Clubs

Before the avant première of the Oscar-nominated film, Clubdelectura.UY and the National Network of Reading Clubs, together with Random House and Sony Pictures Uruguay, organized a literary event to discuss various issues raised in this classic novel.

“We all agree that it is one of the most beloved stories that have been written. Alcott supported the independence and self-realization of women and his book is essential to understand the life of yesterday and today that we have so many things in common , like having to conform to conventional images of femininity, “said Joanna Peluffo, a member of the coordinating team.

He added that in the nineteenth century girls became women and there was no concept of adolescence that we know today. These were “trained” from girls to assume the roles of domestic life. But Little Women It raises a “respite in that aspect” by offering other possibilities about what to expect from a woman.
“We talked about the role that Jo March assumes as one of the most popular literary heroines of all time. She was an idealized alter ego of the same author, troublemaker, casual and unfeminine, with ambitions beyond marriage and motherhood. the idea of ​​the literary woman, who was inspired to start writing a great one like Simone de Beauvoir, “Peluffo added.

As for the controversy of whether it is a prefeminist or conservative novel, opinions are divided. It is true that many of the social conventions of the time are respected, such as the fact that Jo ends up married, but it was the only way Alcott found for his book to be published. Several of the chapters then censored are part of this latest film.



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