E06 -

Marianne March, Kat Murti, and Haley Victory Smith join the show today to talk about the Oscar‐​winning film, Little Women.

Hosts
Landry Ayres
Senior Producer
Guests

Haley Victory Smith is an editorial fellow with the opinion section at USA TODAY. She is an alum of the National Journalism Center and a nationally ranked collegiate speech competitor. She is also a Young Voices contributor. A recent graduate of Concordia University Irvine, Haley has earned a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Thought and has also spent time studying Russian politics at the University of Oxford.

Marianne March is a Marketing Manager for Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org. Originally from the west coast, Marianne grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated summa cum laude from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy and a minor in Economics. In her free time, Marianne enjoys cooking, going to concerts, and watching makeup reviews on Youtube.

Kat Murti is co‐​founder and executive director of Feminists for Liberty. She is also senior digital outreach manager for the Cato Institute and communications director/D.C. chapter leader for the Ladies of Liberty Alliance (LOLA). Murti also serves on the boards of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the White Coat Waste Project and previously worked at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. She grew up between North Texas and South India, got a political science degree at the University of California at Berkeley, and now lives and works in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @KatMurti or get in touch at kat@ fem​i​nists​for​lib​er​ty​.com.

Image Credit: IMDB

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women has mattered deeply to generation after generation of women ever since it was first published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. It inspired film versions in 1933, 1949, 1994 starring Winona Ryder & Kirsten Dunst, 2018, and 2019 with the all‐​star cast of Saorise Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, and Laura Dern. This story is much more than just four girls growing up in Civil war‐​era Massachusetts making jam & accidentally burning their dresses in the fireplace.

Is Greta Gerwig’s version of Little Women relatable to women and men? Is Jo March really Louisa May Alcott? What role does romance play in Little Women? How is Little Woman about day to day life? What was the best scene in Little Women?

Transcript

[music]

00:05 Natalie Dowzicky: Welcome to Pop N Locke, I’m Natalie Dowzicky. Louisa May Alcott’s, Little Women has mattered deeply to generation after generation of women ever since it was first published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. It inspired film versions in 1933, 1949, 1994, 2018, and 2019 with the all‐​star cast of, I’m gonna mess up all these names, but Saoirse Ronan.

00:29 Haley Victory Smith: Saoirse.

00:29 Natalie Dowzicky: Saoirse. Wow, okay.

00:31 Haley Victory Smith: She’s Irish.

00:32 Natalie Dowzicky: Emma Watson, [chuckle] Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, and Laura Dern. This story is much more than just four girls growing up in Civil War‐​era Massachusetts, making jam and accidentally burning their dresses in the fireplace. [chuckle] And for that reason today in the studio, I am joined by Executive Director of Feminists for Liberty, Kat Murti.

00:50 Kat Murti: Thanks for having me.

00:51 Natalie Dowzicky: Libertarianism.org’s marketing manager, Marianne March.

00:54 Marianne March: Hello.

00:54 Natalie Dowzicky: And editorial fellow at USA Today, Haley Victory Smith.

00:58 Haley Victory Smith: Heyo.

01:00 Natalie Dowzicky: Unexpectedly, Greta Gerwig’s movie spurred quite the debate. So do you guys think this movie just appeals to women?

01:06 Haley Victory Smith: No.

01:07 Kat Murti: People might see it as a movie just for women. There’s sort of this idea that if women are the main characters, then it’s meant for women. But it’s a story about everybody, and I think especially the book is a book that’s for everybody. The movie kind of cuts out the male characters in a way, but if you saw that same thing in a mainstream movie, quote unquote “mainstream” movie where all the characters were men, no one would say, “Is this a movie just for men?”

01:33 Natalie Dowzicky: Right. What are your thoughts, Haley?

01:35 Haley Victory Smith: I have been on a bit of a tirade on Twitter. [laughter] A friend, Maddie Fry and I have been trying to combat all these conservative men that are like, “Oh, I don’t know if I wanna go see it.” And we’re like, “But it’s good, you should see it.” So I think there’s been a tendency among conservative male intellectuals to kind of dismiss this book or dismiss this film. I’m gonna do that a lot this podcast, I can feel it.

02:00 Natalie Dowzicky: Me too.

02:01 Haley Victory Smith: To dismiss this film as something that really just appeals to women, something that they shouldn’t have to kind of talk about, or analyze, or spend a lot of time and effort on. And I think that’s really kind of a sad thing to do, because really, this isn’t just a book that appeals to women. Obviously it is written for women, and about women, and it primarily appeals to women, which is fine, but this is one of, I would say arguably based on one of the probably top five great works of American literature. And if you’re deciding, “You know, I don’t know, this book doesn’t really appeal to me here or this film doesn’t, so I’m not gonna read it or watch it,” I think you’re really missing out on one of the kind of seminal works of female literature. And if you wanna better understand women, watching this film and reading the book are good ways to do that.

02:53 Natalie Dowzicky: And kind of just going off of that too though I haven’t read the book for a while, and it’s funny the first time I remember reading it, is I read it with my mom, like we read it together, or she would read some chapters to me, and then I’d read some one. It was like in the process, when I was still chapter books were a big thing like… [laughter] Or it was like a monumental occasion that we got through it together. And I actually haven’t seen the 1994 film, but I was going back and looking through just like some research materials for this podcast, and I was like, “Oh, I wonder why I never saw it.” And then I went back and watched a few scenes from it, and not that the 1994 film wasn’t good, I thought it was a good standalone film. But watching it after seeing the 2019 film, I was like, “Wow, Gerwig did an amazing job of retelling the story, and also added a lot of elements that weren’t in previous versions, whether it be previous film versions or the book version.” So I thought she added to the story too. So even if you thought the original Little Women book was maybe just for women or appealed only to women, I think she added a lot of nuance to the movie that even suggests that this is a story for everyone.

04:04 Kat Murti: So I think we can even take it back to the book. And Jo March, who’s in many ways the title character and sort of a representation of Louisa May Alcott, kind of written as a character of what it was like for her growing up. She’s a writer and she talks about this. She talks about how stories for women are seen as just for women, but they’re stories about America and stories about growing up. And I think that that’s the thesis of the book really.

04:30 Natalie Dowzicky: Right.

04:30 Marianne March: I think the numbers speak for themselves, this movie, just the 2019 version grossed over $111 million globally. So clearly, it’s not just women going to see this movie. And I think that, as we’ve been discussing, there’s a benefit to looking back and seeing how people’s lives were during this time. Normally when we talk about Civil War‐​era stories, they’re set in the war, they’re about people fighting. And just the same way we benefit from reading Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, I think that people of all genders could benefit from reading Little Women.

05:01 Kat Murti: And a lot of history, I think, gets lost from the fact that for so much of history, it’s just part of the story that we hear usually the male story, usually we hear an upper‐​class male story, and we don’t really see a whole lot of what’s going on in other people’s lives. And history isn’t just in books, it’s people living. And I think that works of literature or movies like Little Women, they give you a better understanding of the world, and how the world works, and how it was, and what’s changed, and what hasn’t.

05:30 Haley Victory Smith: I think it’s perfectly acceptable for men to see this movie or read this book and say to themselves, “Okay, this doesn’t necessarily appeal to me entirely, like this isn’t the sort of thing I would just choose to go out and see or read.” But okay, if you haven’t read this, I would very much recommend it. G. K. Chesterton, he does a series of essays kind of critiquing authors. And he does one about Louisa May Alcott, and some other things that he writes about this are really, really profound insights I think. And he talks about the fact that, he said, “But two things are quite certain. First, that even from a masculine standpoint, the books are very good. And second, that from a feminine standpoint, they are so good that their admirers have really lost sight even of they’re goodness.” [chuckle] So he understands that even men should really still try to read this book and try to understand it, even though it might be difficult for them.

06:00 Haley Victory Smith: He describes the proposal scene in the book between the professor and Jo as one of, it’s a really great quote, “one of the really human things in human literature.” And he talks about how Louisa May Alcott and Jane Austen, he kind of compares them, and said that they were very good at anticipating. The trend towards realist literature. And I think there is something, and he touches on this, there is something about kind of the feminine perspective that understands I think more of the day‐​to‐​day and what is profound and what is beautiful about the day‐​to‐​day life because women have often been the people who had kind of lived the day‐​to‐​day life, particularly in times of war. And so, I don’t know, I think it’s really interesting and I think if you’re someone who just says to yourself, “I don’t know, I’m not really interested.” You’re not giving yourself a chance to read, and to watch one of the most, I think, profound stories, that’s ever been written.

07:38 Kat Murti: This is also a book that was written in the Civil War era, and is still one of the big bestsellers. It’s still a book that’s very much part of our pop culture, it’s part of the dialogue, and part of that is because it’s just so true, there’s so much truth about how people live and the fact that it’s carried over for so long tells you that that’s something that’s worth reading, I think. You wouldn’t hear people asking, “Is Tom Sawyer a movie that’s good for women to Watch?” “Should women watch Hamlet?”

[music]

08:10 Natalie Dowzicky: Also what speaks to how widespread and just successful this piece of literature has been, is how many times it’s been redone, or remade, or remastered, whatever…

08:22 Kat Murti: And each time, there’s so much in there that just… It still feels as if it could be your story even though it’s historically true, it’s obviously, it’s a fiction work.

08:31 Natalie Dowzicky: Right. [laughter]

08:32 Kat Murti: But there’s a lot of history baked into it, because it was a contemporary book. And most of that stuff is still stuff that young women and honestly young boys growing up, Laurie’s a big character in the book too. They’re still going through, and they’re still experiencing those things, and it’s still human truth.

08:49 Natalie Dowzicky: And we had talked about this, so we previously recorded an episode on Star Wars and the importance of representation in films. And each one of us, and I’m sure we’ll get into this later, can relate. Even though it’s like, these girls are living in the Civil War, we can relate to the hardships they’re going through. And that’s really important, in terms of entertainment, to be able to relate and feel like, “Oh, I could… I’ve experienced some of these same things that this character is experiencing.” And I think part of the reason that there is this big outcry that this film is “only for only for women,” and I put that in air quotes, was partially because men thought they wouldn’t be able to relate to the characters because it’s a largely female cast. There are male characters in there, but they have very few lines in comparison. But I think part of it is that maybe our culture in general, is used to seeing the main male character being the powerful character and the one who is the most you can easily relate to, but… And that just doesn’t exist in this film.

09:48 Marianne March: Well, in a lot of stories and films, we see that the women are there to serve the story of the male. Where they’re the supporting characters and they just, they drive him along and sometimes they… There’s a test, it’s called the Bechdel‐​Wallace test, which is a measure of representation of women in fiction. And basically the requirements are that you have more than one woman they talk to each other and they don’t talk about the guy.

10:09 Kat Murti: And they talk to each other in a scene without men in it.

10:12 Marianne March: Yes, yes.

[chuckle]

10:13 Marianne March: And it’s just interesting how many new and old stories don’t pass the test. And this one clearly does. And I also wonder about self‐​fulfilling prophecies. If we tell men, “This isn’t for you.” just like we told everyone that Cats wasn’t for them.

[laughter]

10:29 Marianne March: ‘Cause I wanted to see Cats, and everybody said, “No, we won’t be seeing that,” so I couldn’t.

10:32 Haley Victory Smith: No, no Cats.

10:32 Natalie Dowzicky: It was ruined for you.

10:33 Marianne March: Yes, exactly.

10:34 Natalie Dowzicky: We are not doing Cats on an up‐​and‐​coming, Pop and Locke.

10:37 Haley Victory Smith: Please, I want that. Sorry, go ahead.

10:40 Marianne March: I’ll go see it with you, but nobody can know.

10:41 Haley Victory Smith: Yeah.

10:42 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah. [chuckle]

10:43 Marianne March: So I do just wonder about that for men, maybe men who would have been interested in seeing it were told, “This isn’t for you,” and then didn’t go see it.

10:51 Haley Victory Smith: Okay, so I’ve been tracking what a lot of different men have been saying about this, ’cause it’s triggering me.

[chuckle]

11:00 Haley Victory Smith: So one of the things that was written in, so in National Review, who was it? , Who wrote this? I wrote it down. It was Kyle Smith, yes. Sorry. And I like a lot of what Kyle Smith writes, so this is not like me bashing him, but he said in the… He did a review with the piece, which was not really a review of the piece, it was basically like, “Men don’t need to see a Little Women.” And he said at the… The last line of the piece was…

11:24 Kat Murti: Did he see the movie?

11:25 Haley Victory Smith: I don’t know, but…

11:25 Natalie Dowzicky: Probably not.

11:26 Kat Murti: He just reviewed it without seeing it.

[laughter]

11:27 Haley Victory Smith: But the last line he says “It’s not necessary for men to become women.” That’s like, no one is arguing that.

11:33 Kat Murti: But is it necessary for women to become men, what does that imply?

11:36 Haley Victory Smith: Nobody is arguing this, it’s to to say that, I think there’s actually… When you touch on representation, I think the representation in this film personally, is less about the gender of the characters and more so about the real human experiences that they have. So there are few moments, there are tons of moments in the book and a few moments in the film where you say to yourself, like, “Yes, I’ve experienced that.” I, okay, I know I, like tell on myself, so I cried a little bit in the film, and I’m not usually a crier in films, but I got in my car and I cried for like 10 minutes. And I was like, “Why am I doing this?”

[laughter]

12:21 Haley Victory Smith: But it was just because it was like… There were so many things in the film that I just felt like were profoundly relatable and kind of hopeful. And I think that men can experience that as well. And one of the other things that Chesterton wrote was that he said, “Any masculine reader is really an intruder among this pile of books.” But he still said he still felt like men should read it, and that it was a profoundly good work of literature. But that you are gonna feel like a little bit like out of your comfort zone, but that’s okay. Because in order to understand the opposite gender, it takes some doing, it takes some work, so, yeah.

13:01 Kat Murti: The point of reading is to get new experiences and see new perspectives and if you insist on only reading the perspectives you already have. But what I think was pretty interesting too, I re‐​read the book recently. I had read it a couple of times as a kid, but…

13:14 Haley Victory Smith: I tried to get through it before this podcast, but I didn’t have enough time.

13:17 Kat Murti: It is so long. I finished it last night.

13:20 Haley Victory Smith: Yes.

13:20 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah.

13:20 Haley Victory Smith: 700 pages, yes.

13:21 Kat Murti: It was long.

13:22 Haley Victory Smith: Yeah.

13:23 Kat Murti: And so, obviously any time you convert a book to a movie, one of the things they’re gonna do, they’re gonna cut a lot. This movie, also, just really changed around, like they changed the whole timeline. They kind of made it more contemporary.

13:34 Haley Victory Smith: Right.

13:35 Kat Murti: And they sort of… Although all the lines were basically from the book and all the stories were basically from the book they also sort of thematically changed it a little bit. The book itself is a heavy religious tone. That’s essentially what it is. It’s great. Anyone can read it from any background. Growing up, I didn’t really read that into it. As reading it as an adult it’s very clear. Louisa May Alcott says though…

14:00 Marianne March: Well, it’s not heavy handed though. No, no, no. It’s very enjoyable.

14:01 Haley Victory Smith: They like… When they read pilgrim’s progress, and…

14:03 Kat Murti: But, they read pilgrim’s progress.

14:05 Haley Victory Smith: Yeah.

14:05 Kat Murti: She talks about sermons. She gives sermons at times when she has long things she even says like, “And I’m sure my readers are tiring of this, so I shall get back to the story.” So, obviously, they’re gonna cut a lot out, but what I thought was interesting when they made the movie was not just that they changed the timeline, but they also sort of changed the focus. They made it more just about feminism, and just about the women and the book has these heavy male characters who play a big role, whether it’s Laurie or Professor Bhaer or father, who plays a major role. You see him in a couple of scenes in the movie. You basically… Like where are the men? The men are cut out. I think, from a story, as a movie, it’s a fantastic movie, but I think, if anything, the movie is aimed at a female audience more than the book is.

14:55 Natalie Dowzicky: I thought… So, I thought it was very interesting. I was looking for a breakdown of how much time a male character was talking in this movie versus female characters, but I could not find it, but what I thought about the father character, he is off in the Civil War and we get letters from him in the movie. They read, I think, one letter from him, maybe two. Yeah, on Christmas, and then, they don’t really mention missing him all that much, they like… He’s only mentioned in passing, because he’s not a focal point of the story, at least I think, and then, when he comes…

15:26 Kat Murti: And he wasn’t in the book either, but…

15:27 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah, and then when he comes back from war, they’re all, obviously, overjoyed to see him. He comes back on Christmas. Christmas is also a focal point in this movie, and this movie came out on Christmas day, so that was all very intentional.

15:38 Haley Victory Smith: It was a focal point of the book as well.

15:39 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah.

15:39 Haley Victory Smith: Yeah.

15:39 Natalie Dowzicky: And I thought it was interesting ’cause even when he did come back you still didn’t see him in the film all that often. You saw him at the wedding towards the end, and some of the… And I was picking up… Marianne and I saw this the other… I was picking up that most of his lines were actually like comedy, like…

15:56 Marianne March: Yeah, he was setting up Marmee for jokes.

15:58 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah, he was setting up jokes, which I thought was really interesting because he… His character… Obviously, we didn’t develop his character all that much in the movie, but I just thought even when he did talk it wasn’t necessarily him adding a whole lot of substance. It was more of like he was almost comedic relief, which I appreciated, ’cause I thought the movie was kind of like, it was very heavy.

16:21 Marianne March: There’s something comical just about seeing Bob Odenkirk anyways.

16:24 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah. Yeah.

16:25 Haley Victory Smith: I think he’s great, he’s great.

16:27 Kat Murti: Oh, he’s fantastic.

16:27 Haley Victory Smith: Oh, yeah.

16:27 Kat Murti: You wouldn’t have known he was the father in the movie necessarily if you hadn’t read the books though, and I actually really liked the way that the movie handled it, but I think that we lost something, as well, in the way that these characters, the male characters aren’t flushed out like they are in the book and you get a lot of really interesting conversations where they’re talking about the role of gender and they’re talking about… Especially when it comes to raising sons versus raising daughters and marriage and you kind of get a little of that in the movie, but you don’t get it in the same way. There’s this great scene of where Meg is a young mother, and she’s struggling with her twins and her mother tells her the problem is, is you’re taking it all on your own and your husband is your partner and he needs to be doing part of it. Make sure he’s in the nursery. Make sure he’s helping with the children because they’re his children too and you’re cheating yourself and you’re cheating your kids and you’re cheating him if you guys aren’t equal partners in raising your children, and that’s, first off, a message that resonates nowadays.

17:29 Natalie Dowzicky: Yes.

17:29 Haley Victory Smith: Right.

17:29 Kat Murti: But it’s also this very feminist message, and it was very controversial then, even as it’s somewhat controversial now.

17:37 Haley Victory Smith: Okay, so I would disagree with kind of the assessment that this is like a profoundly feminist book or film and… Okay, so… And I would disagree… I think both sides have said this. So conservatives have tried to kind of dismiss it in a way. Not all, but some have tried to say, “Oh, well, the film takes out all mentions of God and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” And so, it’s more feminist and it changes the ending a little bit, so it’s kind of, you know, oh, okay, and then, I think on the left as well there has been a tendency to kind of build up this film as like this rah‐​rah feminist film and I think the trailer kind of gave an impression that this was more of a feminist film than it actually was. I think when you actually get into the movie itself, I don’t know that there’s… I guess, you can call certain bits of the film feminist, I think, but I also just think it’s just kind of a, just an accurate representation of the female experience, you know?

18:38 Kat Murti: Okay.

18:38 Haley Victory Smith: And it just didn’t have to necessarily be like…

18:40 Kat Murti: Yeah, yeah. I think it’s feminist in that sense.

18:41 Haley Victory Smith: Right, it doesn’t have to be like intentionally… Do you know what I’m saying?

18:45 Kat Murti: Yeah.

18:45 Haley Victory Smith: Like intentionally political or intentionally… I think Greta Gerwig actually sold it as a bit more of a feminist film than it ended up being. There’s the one scene, which I’m… We can maybe get into later. There’s the one scene where she’s in the attic talking to Marmee and she said, “Women aren’t… ” They’re not just hearts, blah, blah, blah, and that’s the scene that was in the trailer, but then it cuts off before she gets the moment where she says, but I’m also really lonely and she like… And she wants… She does want this companionship and partnership, and she doesn’t do what Louisa May Alcott did and never marry, she gets married, and so… Yeah, I don’t know.

19:07 Kat Murti: The whole engagement is so interesting, I think, the way that it was changed. In the book Professor Bhaer, he’s a bachelor, who’s a bachelor from Germany and he’s raising his sister’s children and everyone thinks that he’s very weird that this man wants to take an active role in raising children and he’s kind of frowned upon for that, and that’s one of the things that Jo likes about him. And then you kind of miss that in the movie where he becomes a much younger character and it becomes much more romantic. So I think you can also bring that up too.

20:00 Natalie Dowzicky: So let’s go back to that scene that you were just talking about, ’cause it was obviously one of the more powerful scenes of the entire film. Yeah…

20:07 Marianne March: Oh, and she did such a brilliant job acting. Her face was all light, I loved it.

20:10 Natalie Dowzicky: Oh, yeah. Yeah, she did a really great job. So kind of what I was thinking while I was watching it was like, yes, this is like the climax, like she’s finally gonna just like… ‘Cause you could tell it was boiling, her life was boiling, and she was like, she’s gonna crack at some point. So, also, in addition to the quote you had said, she said how women have minds and we’re not just like we’re not just like tools of romance. And I thought it was very interesting that she did follow‐​up with that and, “But I’m lonely.” And I thought we could kind of delve that out more, ’cause I think that resonates more with a 2019 crowd than it would’ve in the book.

20:49 Haley Victory Smith: Oh, I don’t think so.

20:50 Natalie Dowzicky: You don’t think so?

20:52 Haley Victory Smith: No. I think it resonates with everyone.

20:53 Natalie Dowzicky: Okay.

20:53 Haley Victory Smith: I think that, of course, the role of women has changed over time and kind of what is appropriate, and social, and what are our social norms. But I do think that that message of women being more complex creatures would appeal to women of any age and era.

21:14 Natalie Dowzicky: I think, too. So not that, not maybe loneliness. I think women, it’s obviously changed since when the book was written, but over time how we present ourselves in public. So there’s another scene that ties into this where Marmee is talking to Jo, and I think they’re sitting on the floor and Beth is in the bed. And Jo asked asks Marmee… Or Marmee says something about how she’s always angry. And Jo was taken aback by that. She was like, “Well, you never look that way. You’re always like happy and you’re like… ” And I just thought that was so interesting because she… I resonated with that, in the sense that you had… Maybe you’re like you shield your anger or you shield your larger emotions, ’cause women are, especially in that time period, weren’t supposed to be like overly… “weren’t supposed to be,” I put that in quotes, [chuckle] overly emotional or they were always second to their husband and they had to do whatever their husband wished of them. And I just thought that, I thought that scene was very subtle, but very interesting, in the fact that it showed things that women hide from society. So, like the anger, the loneliness, those types of feelings.

22:21 Haley Victory Smith: I think it’s less… Okay, so that scene and the other scene, I kind of interpret in a different way. The anger scene, that, from having read the books a few… The book, it used to be books, the book one time or a few times, I think that that comes more from a place of there’s a theme throughout the book of teaching your self discipline, and this comes with the themes about God. Now, God is mentioned a lot in the book and God was not mentioned basically at all in the film.

22:56 Natalie Dowzicky: I don’t think it, yeah.

23:00 Haley Victory Smith: I don’t think maybe once. Which, to me, it felt like a bit of a loss, because I think it kind of goes away from a bit of the original intent of the film, but I also don’t know that the characters were changed so much that you couldn’t still feel that influence. And I think this is one of the places where that influence happens, where Marmee has taught herself the discipline to be able to keep her anger to herself, and that she doesn’t… Or that it is seen as virtuous, and I think it is, to not always go flying off the handle and that she’s been able to teach herself to do that. And that is really, I think, one of the central themes of the book that comes out in this film.

23:39 Kat Murti: Well, I think the movie also sort of contemporarizes the story in a way that it doesn’t have to explain historical context to people. And the religion is part of that, because in the book a lot of the ideas, like the idea that the Little Women should go out and work and that they shouldn’t just be, “kept women, married women who stay at home, and don’t do anything,” that they should earn their… “earn their keep,” that they should enter into marriages for love and respect as opposed to marriages for money. That it doesn’t matter if they marry a rich man or a poor man, but for their beliefs and they should be able to support themselves within that.

24:16 Kat Murti: And all of these different types of views, the fact that they even talk about in the book how the father is the head of the household, but the mother is equal and at no point should she be viewed as below. Which is these are all religious themes that come specifically from Louisa May Alcott’s religion. And they’re also very strongly… They’re feminist themes too, and they’re very strongly leading into the themes we see coming out in the movie, coming out in the book. But when they removed that religion, because they don’t wanna explain the context of this whole religious background, and how those were unusual views, because of her religion, whereas in the book, it’s just expected. They do that in the movie, it’s just expected that it’s like, “Oh, it’s just part of the theme in the movie.”

25:02 Marianne March: Yeah. And then I find that in the book, there are a lot of references to God, but usually not stated directly as G-O-D, God, there’s…

25:10 Kat Murti: Friend.

25:11 Marianne March: Yes, friend, father. The girls are told that even when their father is sick and possibly on death’s door, that they will still have a father even if he dies. So I think that it’s, even though it’s throughout the book, as I mentioned earlier, I don’t think it’s heavy‐​handed. I think that it is woven into their lives, because they’re religious.

25:29 Haley Victory Smith: ‘Cause it’s a part of their lives.

25:31 Kat Murti: It’s apart of their lives and it’s how they live their lives, but it’s not… Yeah, exactly, it’s not meant to be like a primer on religion.

[music]

25:43 Natalie Dowzicky: Marriage comes up a ton in this film. So, I believe one of the first times you see that it… Or you can perceive that it might be a big theme in the movie is when Jo was talking to Mr. Dashwood, the publisher, and they’re talking about how to end her story. And she, Mr. Dashwood suggests, “Well, your story has to end with a woman dying or getting married. Those are the only endings that people or the audience care about.” Obviously, Jo doesn’t agree with this. But what do you think… Actually, my question is moreso: How is Mr. Dashwood an interesting character in the larger narrative of the story? And what do you think his suggestions about marriage are?

25:50 Kat Murti: That was my favorite scene. That was my favorite scene because it’s so meta. It’s meta because it’s that story, the movie ends on this incredibly romantic note, and they even restructured the whole movie to be about Jo’s romance, which the book isn’t so much, right? They really centered that romance. It’s also Louisa May Alcott wrote the book in part based on her own experiences, but Louisa May Alcott is Jo. But in her book, Jo gets married and has children, Louisa May Alcott didn’t.

27:00 Marianne March: Yeah, well it’s my understanding that just like they portrayed in the movie through Jo, that Louisa May Alcott did want to end her story with Jo being a spinster writer and was pressured to marry her off in the end.

27:12 Kat Murti: Right, exactly. It’s a commentary on a commentary on a commentary. It was so powerful and it just carries through the centuries.

27:17 Natalie Dowzicky: So Louisa May Alcott never got married. And I think part of that, it does come through through Jo, specifically, but…

27:26 Kat Murti: But also Amy.

27:27 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah, through Amy as well, and… But I thought it was interesting. So you all are assuming that Jo had gotten married because at the end, when they’re in the… ‘Cause I was reading some commentary on this and I hadn’t thought about it. So at the end, they’re in Aunt March’s old house and it’s the… Jo has a school with Professor Bhaer and she’s walking through the backyard and Amy’s painting, and Meg is, I think she’s acting with her husband. Amy has a new born with Laurie, and Jo’s holding her book and bringing it to Marmee, who’s… I think it was assumed to as Marmee’s birthday that they were celebrating at the end, and Professor Bhaer’s there. I never made the assumption that they had gotten married.

28:14 Haley Victory Smith: Oh, no. They got married.

28:16 Kat Murti: Well, they got married in the book.

28:17 Haley Victory Smith: Right.

28:17 Kat Murti: But that’s actually an interesting point. Maybe in the movie, they’re really trying to get more to Louisa May Alcott’s life…

28:22 Haley Victory Smith: I don’t know.

28:23 Kat Murti: As opposed to the book, where she did end up living with a couple and doing a lot of things with her life. So she never got married, in that sense.

28:30 Marianne March: There are other nods in the movie, too, that implied that Jo is Louisa May Alcott.

28:35 Haley Victory Smith: Yeah.

28:35 Marianne March: There are instances where Jo is seen writing with one hand and stretching her hand out and then writing with the other hand, and this is a nod to Louisa May Alcott who taught herself to be ambidextrous after an illness. And I thought that was just a cute moment and re‐​emphasized to me that Jo is Louisa.

28:54 Kat Murti: Yeah.

28:54 Haley Victory Smith: Yeah. Yeah, I don’t know. I think that’s an interesting theory, I guess, but my assumption has been, we’re going off of the assumption of the book and the less I’m explicitly told so by the filmmaker. I’m gonna assume that it… All indications seem to point to that’s how it happens.

29:16 Kat Murti: But it makes it more exciting that way, right? Because you don’t know how it ended, and it also… It almost plays back on that scene with her publisher because we’re filling in the romance, right? They’re not actually making it explicit.

29:28 Natalie Dowzicky: Well, and I also think… I think that was unintentional not to show them getting married at the end, where I think we’re supposed to… At least, I think, we’re… The audience sees it as her book is like this is the climax. Her books, she got it published on in her terms, and that’s supposed to be the big success of the story, and not the wedding or not the marriage of them. So I think, it would have taken away from the movie had they done a big wedding scene at the end, but I thought the central theme there was that… Oh, this is a big accomplishment, especially, in this time period for a woman that had her book published, and then she negotiated her contract in…

30:05 Marianne March: I love that negotiation scene.

30:06 Natalie Dowzicky: We’re gonna talk about it, she negotiated her contract. And I thought it was the success or the heartwarming part of the story was that she was successful in her writing, not her romance. But I guess, you guys all saw it differently.

30:19 Haley Victory Smith: But that is not how the book ends.

30:21 Natalie Dowzicky: Right, I know.

30:22 Kat Murti: Right, which I think is why we saw it differently.

30:24 Haley Victory Smith: Yeah.

30:24 Kat Murti: But I like this. I’m actually driving off of this alternate explanation now because I think…

30:29 Natalie Dowzicky: I saw four or five accounts of it.

30:30 Kat Murti: They kind of living it up there.

30:31 Natalie Dowzicky: Right. But I think, we’re also… This also shows how attuned, maybe not attuned, but how used to we are of the romance story of the rom‐​com of she gets the boy in the end. Even when I was…

30:45 Haley Victory Smith: But they kissed, guys.

30:46 Natalie Dowzicky: But that doesn’t mean they were married…

[overlapping conversation]

30:49 Kat Murti: But they also restructured the movie to make it about Jo’s romance which she told you.

30:53 Marianne March: Maybe we should tell the audience how the book ends.

30:55 Haley Victory Smith: Yes. Someone wanna do that?

[laughter]

30:57 Natalie Dowzicky: Kat read it the most recently.

31:01 Kat Murti: So this is the first book of a series. So you know how series always end with little bit of a…

31:07 Haley Victory Smith: [31:07] ____ after that.

31:07 Kat Murti: Right, exactly. So she does… Jo does marry the professor and everyone gets married, everyone’s happy, they have kids. And so, all the little women are married with children, etcetera. And there’s some actually really cool scenes about how the professor interacts with the kids and stuff like that. The school, which in the movie, I thought it was such a powerful cool moment where they say, she wants to start a school because they never had a formal school like that. Amy went to a formal school, but I wasn’t really a good one.

31:39 Marianne March: She was abused there.

31:40 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah.

31:40 Kat Murti: Yeah, right and they pulled her out.

31:42 Marianne March: Yeah.

31:42 Haley Victory Smith: It’s casual.

31:43 Kat Murti: Right, exactly, but…

31:44 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah, they threw that in.

31:45 Kat Murti: Yeah.

31:45 Haley Victory Smith: Yeah, but that would… I mean, at the time period, it would basically be normal.

31:49 Kat Murti: Yeah.

31:49 Haley Victory Smith: I mean, not abused necessarily, but getting like…

31:53 Kat Murti: But the corporal punishment.

31:54 Haley Victory Smith: Yeah.

31:54 Kat Murti: But that again, comes back to Louisa May Alcott’s religion where they were opposed to that.

32:00 Natalie Dowzicky: Oh, interesting.

32:00 Haley Victory Smith: I didn’t know that necessarily.

32:01 Kat Murti: That she was supposed to… There’s a long section in the book where they’re talking about how corporal punishment shouldn’t be used.

32:08 Haley Victory Smith: Yes.

32:09 Natalie Dowzicky: Oh, yeah.

32:09 Haley Victory Smith: But I think…

32:09 Kat Murti: Everything should be reason and morality.

32:11 Haley Victory Smith: I actually think Louisa May Alcott’s interpretation of this is pretty unique. You say, that it relates to her religion and I would agree with you. I don’t know that it necessarily relates though to the way to the religion of the time period. She interpreted religion, I think, in a unique way.

32:30 Kat Murti: So this is actually interesting. As I was re‐​reading the book because I read it as a child at first. And as a child, I didn’t pick up the religious themes as much. And when I was reading it, there are heavy religious themes so it’s not explicitly one religion. So I was trying to figure out what religion she was, it kind of seemed like maybe Quaker, maybe Unitarian…

32:47 Haley Victory Smith: Yeah, I don’t know. Well, she’s…

32:48 Kat Murti: And I looked it up, I looked it up. And she grew up in a Quaker family.

32:52 Haley Victory Smith: Yes.

32:53 Kat Murti: She…

32:53 Haley Victory Smith: Yeah, that’s right, that’s right.

32:56 Kat Murti: She then became involved… As an adult became involved with the Unitarian Church. But she never explicitly decided on either religion. She didn’t really like organized religion. She went to meetings of both, every single day of her life. And she saw it as a personal thing, she did… She explicitly said she didn’t like organized religion. So this was very much, it’s religious, but it’s her religion.

33:17 Natalie Dowzicky: It’s her religion. Her father was actually the headmaster at my high school in the 1830s. She grew up like… Yeah, she grew up in Germantown, Pennsylvania, and they… They ended up moving 37 times in her lifetime, but when she was a young girl that’s where they lived, in 1830s that’s where they lived. Which is probably where she got the strong Quaker influence from, just because there’s… Quakers are a very strong denomination in Pennsylvania, especially that part of Pennsylvania.

33:43 Haley Victory Smith: He was like… Yeah, I think, her father was a… Like, he was not a pastor, whatever the word would be for Quakers. But he was a leader of their church. Yeah.

33:53 Natalie Dowzicky: A leader of their… Yeah. So kind of keep going on this marriage topic. Later in the film, I believe it was Amy talking to Laurie when she’s giving up on all her dreams, right? So there’s a big scene, she doesn’t wanna be a painter anymore. She’s not good enough. She’s giving up on her dream, mind you she’s in France. And I think she’s in Paris, and she… With Aunt March, and just chase after these dreams. And she says, “Well, I’m just gonna get married to Friedrich.” I might be pronouncing that wrong, Vaughn, yeah. I’m just gonna get married. And marriage is only for economic advantage anyway. And it’s interesting, ’cause Laurie fights back on her, that like, “Oh, you don’t really love him.” Which I thought was interesting coming from a male character. ‘Cause the female character Amy is essentially saying, “Well, I don’t have any money. And Aunt March told me I was the only hope left for our family because everyone didn’t marry anyone with any money.”

34:56 Kat Murti: But there’s a lot of truth to that scene.

34:57 Natalie Dowzicky: Yes.

34:58 Kat Murti: There’s so much truth to that scene. And the fact that Laurie looks at marriage as a romantic commitment, whereas Amy looks at it as an economic commitment, is very true to the age. There really wasn’t many ways for a woman to support herself, she really did need to have a man with money, whether that man was her husband, or some other relative. She couldn’t own things, she couldn’t work in most fields. There just wasn’t a lot of ways to support a family without marrying up. And there’s this whole pressure where her aunt, Aunt March represents this sort of modern thinking of the time. Not modern, the contemporaneous thinking that, as a woman her duty to her family is to bring in someone who can support them versus her parents keep talking to her about how, “No, we wanna raise independent women who can work. We don’t care if you’re spinsters, we care that you do good work, and commit… And Aunt March calls them crazy for that. And I think, actually… She’s working from a very… Amy is making a lot of sense for someone from that time period, where… Nowadays, women can marry for love, because women can also support themselves. They couldn’t before.

36:08 Marianne March: Yeah. But I do think that marriage as an economic decision still carries over.

36:12 Kat Murti: Absolutely.

36:13 Marianne March: We see people getting married all the time for insurance.

36:17 Kat Murti: Or not…

[chuckle]

36:17 Marianne March: That’s not romantic, right?

36:19 Kat Murti: Or not getting married, because if they do so, they’ll lose food stamps, or they’ll get kicked out of their Section 8 housing etcetera. And just a million different things. Look at the tax code, right? Depending on how much your husband makes, how much your spouse makes, and how much you make, it’s either gonna penalize you or benefit you. And it’s set up… The way the tax code is set up is in order to push people into certain types of households, certain types of lifestyles that are largely one person out working and one person home with kids.

36:53 Natalie Dowzicky: And I also think it’s interesting, ’cause even in that same conversation, she talks about, oh, even if I did make it, so to speak, even if I became a great painter, or a great artist, as soon as I got married, none of that wealth, nothing I gained from it, would be mine anymore. It would be his and I would be his property. And then she even talks about her children. She was like… Which I thought was very poignant, she talked about… She was like, “I’m gonna have a family, I’m gonna have children, and no one’s gonna ever say, oh those are my kids. They’re gonna say they’re his kids.”

37:21 Kat Murti: Well, it’s also from a historical, legal perspective. As soon as she got married, she wouldn’t own any property. She would no longer be a legal entity, actually. It wasn’t until the ‘70s that married women were allowed to legally exist as a separate human. They weren’t allowed to represent themselves in court. They couldn’t open a bank account. They couldn’t buy herself property, they couldn’t have a credit card. She legally, would have been part of the men. Her children legally would have been her husband’s. If for instance, she was in a situation where she was getting abused and she left, she would never get to see her children again. There wasn’t any sort of other custody agreement, they belonged to her husband. If for instance, she… Her husband had died, it would be basically up to a male relative to figure out what was gonna happen with her and her children. This was just the economic realities of the time.

38:11 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah. And I think also in this scene, I’m just now remembering, they said something about like, “Oh, who’s in club genius anyway.” It was like…

38:18 Kat Murti: It’s all men.

38:18 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah, and it was very funny. I laughed, just because I was like, “Oh that’s a funny way to say.” But to them, to… Women felt like they could never like… It was an exclusive club, that they weren’t gonna get to a point in their life where they could have upper mobility solely because of their…

38:31 Kat Murti: I think it’s still true, though. Think about how we started off this podcast talking about whether or not the Little Women is a movie for men too, or if it’s just for women? Why, because it’s about women, it’s by a woman author, a woman director. It’s the same way, that’s what Amy was kind of getting at, even if she were the best painter she would still be the best woman painter.

38:50 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah.

[music]

38:53 Natalie Dowzicky: This is kind of a larger, more meta question. Do you think Jo is a hero?

38:58 Kat Murti: I mean, it sort of depends on how you view a hero right?

39:00 Natalie Dowzicky: Right. So especially for this time period, Jo obviously as we suggested, this movie revolves around Jo and her ability, her work ethic, her ability to still connect with her family and her ability to make money on her own, and she’s kind of like a little bit of a workaholic, but that’s not too uncommon today. [chuckle]

39:23 Kat Murti: She’s workaholic, but she also kind of use it as her guilty pleasure that she works because she’s a woman, she should be doing the household things, not writing, not selling her stories.

39:33 Marianne March: But they’re all workaholics, they portray it in the movie to be more so chill but all of them, I mean Amy was incredibly diligent that’s why she gets her foot trapped in plaster because it’s and on to the book when she is going through every phase painting and sculpting and…

39:46 Kat Murti: She’s trying every style of art.

39:48 Marianne March: Yes, and even quiet little Beth keeps very busy keeping house and tending to her dolls.

39:54 Natalie Dowzicky: I guess I kind of thought of it when I was… I thought Jo I don’t know, I’m sure that maybe intentionally did this, I was able to relate to Jo the most, just because I’m not married, I don’t have children. So, me relating to Emma Watson’s character in this film wasn’t as easy. [chuckle] But I think that it was… I’m framing her as a hero more so because I think she was the most relatable character to me. Was there someone you guys related to more?

40:19 Kat Murti: So growing up… No, but growing up I related to Jo a lot and I thought it was because of my personality, but and I think that’s somewhat true, but re‐​reading it as an adult, I was also realizing that the perspective is all Jo’s, even when things are happening to other people, it’s kind of through Jo’s perspective and I think it’s because Louisa May Alcott was writing Jo essentially, as herself, so she’s the protagonist of the book. It might be little women, it might be four women, there’s a bunch of other main characters, but really you see everything through Jo’s lens. Even when Amy is somewhere else when Marmee goes to the Union Hospital to take care of her, their father. You only hear about what’s happening through the letters, but when Jo goes to New York, you see what’s happening in New York.

41:08 Haley Victory Smith: As a girl I didn’t really like this book very much. And the reason is because… And you [chuckle] wrote this in our notes, wait, have you read the book?

41:18 Natalie Dowzicky: I have, yeah. Way back.

41:19 Haley Victory Smith: Okay, ’cause you say you were like… You were sad when Jo doesn’t end up with Laurie.

41:27 Natalie Dowzicky: So Marianne and I saw this together and I was like, No, I guess I was kind of hoping they would, they would do like something surprise.

[chuckle]

41:32 Haley Victory Smith: They would change it. No, Okay, so…

41:36 Natalie Dowzicky: Because when I was little I wanted… That’s what you want Laurie and Jo to be together.

41:40 Haley Victory Smith: Everyone did. And I think now as an adult, I relate much more to the story and I think I appreciate it much more now as I’ve gotten older and as you have these experiences of losing Love and the thing that… The future that everyone kind of had pictured for you, it maybe doesn’t necessarily pan out that way and that it’s okay to not pick that and to pick something else. I found I’m gonna go back to the scene one more time. The attic scene when she says what was so profound to me about that is that I think that every woman has experienced the pressure from themselves to be with someone that they didn’t love because they didn’t wanna end up alone. And I think that is what Jo is worried about. She’s so profoundly lonely that she just is like, so she does… She has that scene where she’s gonna go and she’s gonna say to Laurie, that she acted too quickly and then Laurie comes back married. And I just found that to be so just profoundly relatable and real and I think…

42:58 Natalie Dowzicky: It’s so sad.

42:58 Haley Victory Smith: Yeah, I mean it is a little sad but in another way, I don’t see it that way. I see it as now she’s with the professor and like that’s really probably the person she should have been with all along. Laurie just wasn’t the right sort of person for her and she needed to find someone who was, who was more mature and in the book, he is pretty old guy, you know.

43:18 Kat Murti: Yeah, he’s in his 40s, she is her early 20s.

43:20 Haley Victory Smith: Yes. Now I was personally glad that they used, ’cause in the previous, previously they haven’t used very attractive actors.

43:26 Natalie Dowzicky: They fixed that.

43:27 Haley Victory Smith: They used what’s his name and I was like, Yes. But I just think that there is something that is just so profoundly beautiful about that and I don’t know, I just really appreciated the way that it was portrayed in the film, and I think that, I don’t know. So that’s what makes me kind of relate to the story. That was the reason that I cried in my car for 10 minutes after the film was over, was because it just, it felt so real to my own experiences.

43:54 Natalie Dowzicky: So kind of going off of that scene as well as like the Jo and Laurie relationship, I think part of the reason in the movie where I think they built up Jo and Laurie a whole lot more than we got a professor Bhaer compared to the book, so professor Bhaer wasn’t an as‐​developed character in the movie. You saw him in passing in the beginning, we met him, he was trying to be tough on Jo and she did… Which was another seen, I could relate to that she… He was trying to be tough on Jo ’cause he thought she was a good writer, but Jo took it as criticism that he was wrong.

44:27 Kat Murti: And in the book he’s criticizing her, ’cause he thinks that she’s writing about topics he shouldn’t write about that aren’t becoming of a woman and aren’t… Oh yeah, it’s was a very mansplaining scene.

44:35 Natalie Dowzicky: Oh, I forgot about that.

44:37 Haley Victory Smith: She does write a lot. She wrote these very dramatic stories, and Louisa May Alcott did the same thing, by the way.

44:43 Natalie Dowzicky: So I think in the movie when I was watching it and more so when I got sad, I was just like, Man, they just built up this whole thing from an entertainment standpoint, just looking at the movie and not considering what already happened in the book. I was just like, “Dang, they just look so good together”. [chuckle] I also thought it was interesting, because we got to that scene towards the end. And we’ve already had a movie chock‐​full of quotes from Jo, that she’s like very… A strong individual, and she even said early on in the movie, to Laurie, that she can’t get over the disappointment of being a girl. Which I thought… That quote really stuck out to me, partially, just because in this time period girls thought they didn’t really have a future that was their own. But it was interesting coming from Jo because she was this… She’s been a strong individual, this whole movie. So that was another quote that kind of built Laurie and Jo’s relationship up for me, just to be more disappointed by the outcome.

45:39 Marianne March: I wonder if Jo would have been less disappointed, for being girl if she was born today? Because it seems like…

45:44 Natalie Dowzicky: I think so.

45:44 Marianne March: The things that she wanted to do… The boyish things that she was interested in, are running.

45:49 Kat Murti: She wanted to watch sports, yeah.

45:50 Marianne March: Yeah, and using slang.

45:52 Kat Murti: Yeah.

45:53 Marianne March: But I feel pretty free to do those things if I want to.

45:55 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah. [chuckle]

45:55 Kat Murti: She wanted to be friends with boys. And she didn’t like that she wasn’t allowed to do that. And I kinda wanna tie together everything we’re saying.

46:00 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah.

46:00 Kat Murti: Because that line right there, and what you were saying earlier about how you didn’t relate to the book as much when you were younger and you do more. I really felt like when I read it as a kid, I related to Jo because of things like, her saying that she wished that she was born a boy. Because I felt like when I was a kid, there were a lot of things that I was constantly told, “No, that’s for boys, you can’t do.” And as an adult, I don’t feel those same barriers at all. And I also think that I relate a lot more to a lot of the other women, and a lot of their struggles because I’ve grown up and I’ve seen those kinds of things happen. But also, I really wanna talk about that Laurie love story. Because they treat it so differently in… Yeah, I think, I liked the way that it played out in the book. I’m sorry, in the movie, but in the book, it’s so different. She can tell that Laurie likes her. It takes her a long time, it’s obvious that he likes her from the time they first meet.

46:53 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah.

46:53 Kat Murti: But she kind of gets that feeling, that Laurie likes her. And she also thinks,“Beth is kind of sad because she knows she’s dying.” But Jo mistake… And she feels like she’s gonna miss out on having a husband and kids and stuff. But Jo mistakes it as Beth is pining for Laurie. So the reason she goes to New York… That she has a long sit‐​down with Marmee, and she tells her essentially part of the things she’s worried about… She doesn’t… She’s worried that Laurie is gonna propose to her, she’s really good friends with him, but she just doesn’t feel romantic feelings for him. And she’s hoping that she’ll marry… That he’ll be interested in Beth instead, if she leaves. And so she leaves for that reason, she avoids Laurie for a long time. And of course, the proposal also doesn’t happen at this wedding. As they’re leaving Meg’s wedding, Laurie’s grandfather actually tells him that he’ll be happy as long as he marries one of the remaining March girls.

47:43 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah.

47:44 Kat Murti: So it’s always that. And when Beth says that she’s dying, and then Laurie proposes to her, and she’s trying to stop him from proposing, and he does it anyway. And then she… She says, “No, I can’t do it, I’ve tried, it went away. I tried to think about how I could… I just can’t do this.” She actually says to herself… He’s upset, and he’s… Kind of does this whole thing, and she says to herself, “I hope that he marries Amy, because she’s the only one left for him.” And then he goes to Europe and Amy kind of tossed to him something like, “Look, you’re acting as if she owed you a marriage. And you didn’t.” And it’s such a different…

48:20 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah.

48:20 Kat Murti: He’s playing this nice boy, nice guy character, nice guy TM, you see on the internet.

[chuckle]

48:26 Kat Murti: That Amy talks him out of. And so that marriage was a marriage… Jo wanted them to get married so much, and she was so happy when they got married. That lonely moment, that was her being lonely, that she felt like everyone else was growing up. And she couldn’t do things, ’cause she wasn’t getting married.

48:41 Marianne March: That’s something that I definitely relate to, is the loneliness. And I wish that I had read this book as a kid. I did not, I read it for the first time this year. And I would love to convince myself that I’m a combination of all the characters.

[chuckle]

48:53 Marianne March: But really I’m an Amy.

[chuckle]

48:55 Kat Murti: But I still relate a lot to Jo. [chuckle]

48:57 Haley Victory Smith: That’s honest, nobody says that. Everyone thinks they’re a Jo.

[chuckle]

49:00 Kat Murti: Yeah.

49:00 Haley Victory Smith: So good for you.

[chuckle]

49:00 Marianne March: Thanks. But I do relate a lot to Jo. And especially the moments where she is angry when Meg is getting married, ’cause she doesn’t wanna lose her sister. I have an older sister, and I remember having that realization of, “Oh, I’m never gonna have the same relationship.” And when she has her breakdown with Marmee and says how lonely she is. It’s not unreasonable that she should be lonely, she should be lonely. She was in New York, in a new city, a huge new city, away from her family. Her beloved sister had just passed away. She doesn’t enjoy… And going out on visits as described in the book.

[music]

49:34 Natalie Dowzicky: So the last scene which I thought was very powerful and it was towards the end. And kind of how I wanted to wrap this up is, when Jo is negotiating with Mr. Dashwood for her book. I thought it was incredibly interesting, because they’re going back and forth. He’s like, “Oh I’ll give you 5% royalty. I won’t pay you upfront.” And it’s very rare that you see this type of negotiation between a man and a female, at one in a movie, but even like in… Common in the workplace, women are 40% less likely than men to negotiate their contracts in a work environment. And I just thought it was so powerful and such a great way to end the film. As like the ending dialogue, ’cause it’s kind of going through… It’s interesting, ’cause it’s going trough the sequence where you’re seeing Jo at her new school, and you’re seeing her in the backyard, and they’re all celebrating. And then you’re going back to Jo talking about, how she doesn’t… How she wants 10% royalty, and not 5% royalty. And I just thought it was a great sequence to end the movie in such a powerful note that… Again, I’m going back to what I said earlier is why I didn’t think the romance was the central theme, just because I saw that as the powerful ending. But I mean, when you look at the book obviously, romance…

50:41 Haley Victory Smith: No, I don’t think romance was really the central theme of the book either.

50:44 Kat Murti: No.

50:44 Haley Victory Smith: I think it’s certainly part of it, but it’s not really how the book ends. It’s not… It is certainly woven into the story.

50:55 Natalie Dowzicky: It’s an element.

50:55 Haley Victory Smith: Yes, I think this is very similar to Anne of Green Gables, for example. Anne of Green Gables is not really about the romance between her and Gilbert. You have to get a few books in [chuckle] to really get that, part of it. It’s about a whole lot of other themes. It’s mostly about day‐​to‐​day common life, and portraying the real human emotions that we experience from day‐​to‐​day. And romance is a part of that, but it’s not the only part. And this would be separate from Jane Austen, who really all of her books are about the romance. And look, I’m okay with that.

51:32 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah. [chuckle]

51:32 Haley Victory Smith: But it’s different, it’s more of kind of especially these longer works are usually more of this narrative. And then we get to a…

51:41 Natalie Dowzicky: A slow trickle.

51:41 Haley Victory Smith: To a certain point, yeah.

51:42 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah.

51:42 Haley Victory Smith: And so I think the movie appropriately represented that. That it wasn’t just about the romance between the two…

51:48 Kat Murti: Actually I think the movie made it more about the romance than the book.

51:52 Haley Victory Smith: I don’t know. I mean, maybe a little more, but I think it’s also because the pacing is different.

51:56 Natalie Dowzicky: Yes, right.

[laughter]

[overlapping conversation]

51:57 Marianne March: I agree that they made it more about the romance, because reading the book, I didn’t know until Jo admits it to herself that Laurie is interested in her. I never through the writing saw the little sly glances that he gives her in the movie.

52:10 Kat Murti: I saw it from the beginning from that first scene. They’re just so flirtatious. But that’s the thing, Jo doesn’t realize.

52:16 Haley Victory Smith: You mean in the book or…

52:18 Kat Murti: I saw it from the book. Like the first time they meet at that dance, he’s clearly flirting and she just doesn’t see it.

52:26 Marianne March: I guess I didn’t see it either then.

[laughter]

[overlapping conversation]

52:27 Natalie Dowzicky: You’re more of a Jo than you know.

52:31 Marianne March: Maybe so. I love the negotiation scene principally because she wins the negotiation and that’s also a portrayal that we don’t see. ‘Cause sometimes when you’re negotiating, you don’t get what you want, and sometimes you end up flat on your face. I’ve had that experience actually in a wage negotiation and was told to take a softer approach, and I…

[laughter]

[overlapping conversation]

52:54 Marianne March: So it was just nice to see, to not only see a woman negotiating, but to see her successfully negotiating and keeping her power, that was really great.

53:05 Kat Murti: And I like the point where she talks about how she wants to own the intellectual property that is her book. She doesn’t want to just get an upfront cost because it’s her work and it belongs to her.

53:16 Haley Victory Smith: I also felt like, I love Saoirse Ronan so much. The acting in that scene was so good. She’s just like so spunky, and I’m like, “Yeah girl, you go.”

53:27 Natalie Dowzicky: Her face doesn’t change, she’s like, “Oh no, sorry, try again.”

53:32 Haley Victory Smith: I loved it. I loved it.

53:35 Natalie Dowzicky: And it was just a powerful ending, I think.

53:37 Kat Murti: We didn’t touch on one of my favorite scenes in the movie.

53:39 Natalie Dowzicky: Go ahead.

53:40 Kat Murti: Which I think was in the movie, and honestly, not really in the book. It kind of brought out something that I missed on reading the book, the three times I’ve read it. This is after the war, Marmee is working in a refugee center for a Union soldiers type thing. And there’s a scene where she’s sort of… They’re helping people go places, and…

54:02 Natalie Dowzicky: They were giving out blankets and…

54:05 Kat Murti: Yes, exactly and telling them like, “Hey, there’s a family here that you can stay with until you can find your family”, etcetera. And she’s working there and she’s working next to a black woman, and she says… She’s talking about the Civil War and she’s glad that the Civil War is over and she’s, of course, from that perspective, she’s from an abolitionist family and she says, “I spent my whole life ashamed of my country.” And the other woman says, “No offense meant, but you should still be ashamed.”

[music]

54:38 Natalie Dowzicky: Thanks for listening. If you watched the Oscars recently, you probably noticed that Greta Gerwig did not even get nominated for best director for her work in Little Women. Regardless of the Oscars voters think, the newest edition of Alcott’s beloved story is a must‐​see. So go buy your popcorn and raspberry slushy, rush to the theater and after the movie, let us know which Little Women character you are on Twitter at Pop N Locke pod. That’s Pop the letter N. Locke with an “e” pod, Make sure to subscribe to us on Apple Podcast, Spotify or wherever you listen. We look forward to unraveling your favorite show or movie next time. Pop N Locke is produced by Tess Terrible and Landry Ayres as a project of lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org To learn more, visit us on the web at www​.lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org.