Our first question at SuckMyAlcott and a really interesting one! I don’t know why I’m surprised, with all these brilliant followers.
ANYWAY, the first thought that came to my mind was that Alcott may have objected to Irish immigrants due to their reputation as drunks. Alcott, along with many other suffragette/abolitionists of her day, was a promoter of the temperance movement (which they linked more with the prevention of domestic violence against women and children, more so than the prevention of immoral behavior caused by drinking).
I am not saying her objection is entirely valid, but I can understand her concern. Dude, have you SEEN Gangs of New York? If stories about the Butcher were being published in the papers, I can imagine why people were so anti-immigrant. Irish and Italian people in particular were discriminated against as violent, trashy alcoholics and they still are to this day (Italian people in America—ahem Jersey Shore—, as are Irish people in England).
The Alcott family’s fondness for German Romanticism is reflected in Jo’s interest in the Hummels and the professor. When I was rereading the book this past month, I noticed that the descriptions of the professor could be kind of crass (being loud and boisterous at dinner, eating a lot and quickly), but to Jo this seems endearing. His foreignness is a major part of what makes him so appealing to Jo, I think. She tends to find proper, upper-middle class American behavior repulsive and unTrue.
One thing I forgot to mention above is that her discrimination against the Irish is probably linked to an aversion of Catholicism. Germans are generally protestant, as were the Alcotts/Marches. Alcott even satirizes Amy’s idealization of Catholicism, which is associated with gaudy cathedrals and superficial/materialistic belief. Prof Fritz might represent what it means to be a True Christian and Transcendental human being: unaffected, full of heart, industrious, and skeptical of enterprises that require new clothes.
Followers and fellow admin, please feel free to discuss this more and correct me in any historical inaccuracy!
Or leave as many comments as you please in our ask box!
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“I find it poor logic to say that because women are good, women should vote. Men do not vote because they are good; they vote because they are male, and women should vote, not because we are angels and men are animals, but because we are human beings and citizens of this country.”
“You should have been a lawyer, Miss March.”
“I should have been a great many things…”
Yup, Little Women turned me into a feminist forever!
gurl gotta support them tittays!