Wednesday, January 25, 2012



'Little Women'

Eve Plumb

Earth Prime-Time

Louisa May Alcott

From Wikipedia:
Beth, fourteen when the story starts, is described as shy, even-tempered and musical, and has always been very close to Jo. As her sisters begin to leave the nest, Beth wonders what will become of her, as all she wants is to remain at home with her parents. When Beth's health eventually begins a rapid decline, the entire family nurses her, especially Jo, who rarely leaves her side. Finally, the family begins to realize that Beth will not live much longer. They separate a room for her, filled with all the things she loves best: her kittens, piano, father's books, Amy's sketches, and her beloved dolls.

In her last year, at age nineteen, Beth is still trying to make it better for those who will be left behind. She is never idle, except in sleep. But soon, Beth puts down her sewing needle, saying that it grew "so heavy", never to pick it up again. In her final illness, she gives her dying attention to Josephine.

  • Beth is sitting around with her sisters on Christmas Eve, trying to convince them that they are rich in family and love, even if they don't have much money.
  • Beth acts in a play written by her sister Jo and performed for their friends and family.
  • Beth resolves to carry her "burdens" gracefully.
  • Beth must overcome her shyness in order to take advantage of Mr. Laurence's offer to let her play his piano.
  • Beth and Mr. Laurence become close friends. Beth reminds Mr. Laurence of the granddaughter he had who died.
  • Beth participates in a meeting of her sisters' Pickwick Club.
  • Beth is the only one of the sister who can't actually make herself be lazy, even as an experiment.
  • Beth participates in "Camp Laurence" and meets Laurie's friends, the Vaughns.
  • Beth tells her sisters and her friend Laurie that she doesn't have a "castle in the air"; she just wants to stay at home and take care of her parents and sisters.
  • Beth is distraught when her family receives a telegram saying that her father has been wounded.
  • Beth cares for the poor Hummel family alone while her mother is gone.
  • Beth catches scarlet fever from the Hummel family's baby.
  • Beth is extremely sick and Laurie sends for Mrs. March.
  • Beth recovers from the scarlet fever but is never the same.
  • Beth is overjoyed when her father returns home.
  • Beth attends her sister Meg's wedding.
  • Beth realizes that she is dying.
  • Beth makes Jo promise to take her place as caretaker for her parents.
  • Beth reconciles herself to an early death and tries to make her peace with God.
  • Beth dies.

  • From the source:

    Sitting patient in the shadow
    Till the blessed light shall come,
    A serene and saintly presence
    Sanctifies our troubled home.

    Earthly joys and hopes and sorrows
    Break like ripples on the strand
    Of the deep and solemn river
    Where her willing feet now stand.

    O my sister, passing from me,
    Out of human care and strife,
    Leave me, as a gift, those virtues
    Which have beautified your life.

    Dear, bequeath me that great patience
    Which has power to sustain
    A cheerful, uncomplaining spirit
    In its prison-house of pain.

    Give me, for I need it sorely,
    Of that courage, wise and sweet,
    Which has made the path of duty
    Green beneath your willing feet.

    Give me that unselfish nature,
    That with charity devine
    Can pardon wrong for love's dear sake—
    Meek heart, forgive me mine!

    Thus our parting daily loseth
    Something of its bitter pain,
    And while learning this hard lesson,
    My great loss becomes my gain.

    For the touch of grief will render
    My wild nature more serene,
    Give to life new aspirations,
    A new trust in the unseen.

    Henceforth, safe across the river,
    I shall see forever more
    A beloved, household spirit
    Waiting for me on the shore.

    Hope and faith, born of my sorrow,
    Guardian angels shall become,
    And the sister gone before me
    By their hands shall lead me home.

    Blurred and blotted, faulty and feeble as the lines were, they brought a look of inexpressible comfort to Beth's face, for her one regret had been that she had done so little, and this seemed to assure her that her life had not been useless, that her death would not bring the despair she feared.

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