Anda di halaman 1dari 244

LITTLE WOMEN, THE NOVEL AND THE FILMS,

A LINGUISTIC ANALYSIS
Index
Introduction ......................................................................................................... 3
I. Little Women, from the Novel to the Films ...................................................... 5
1.1. Louisa May Alcott ................................................................................... 5
1.2. Little Women ........................................................................................... 7
1.3. Intersemiotic translation ........................................................................... 8
1.3.1. Various film versions of Little Women .............................................10
1.4. Conclusion ..............................................................................................17
II. Conversational Analysis.................................................................................18
2.1. Spontaneous speech .................................................................................18
2.2. Conversational analysis ............................................................................21
2.2.1. Turn-taking structure .........................................................................24
2.2.2. Terms of address................................................................................26
2.2.3. Routinary formulae ............................................................................29
2.2.4. Interjections, exclamatory words and hesitators .................................32
2.2.5. Discourse markers .............................................................................33
2.2.6. Dysfluencies, hesitations, false starts, reformulation and
multifunctional connectives .........................................................................35
2.2.7. Ellipsis...............................................................................................37
2.2.8. Question tags .....................................................................................38
~1~

2.3. Conclusion ...............................................................................................39


III. An analysis of conversation in Little Women ................................................41
3.1. An analysis of the conversations between Jo and Aunt March ..................41
3.2. An analysis of the conversation between Jo and Mrs. March ....................56
3.3. An analysis of the conversations between man and women .....................63
3.3.1. An analysis of the conversations between Mrs. March and an old man
and an assistant of hers ................................................................................63
3.3.2. Analysis of the conversations between Jo and Laurie .........................68
3.3.3. An analysis of the conversation between Meg and Mr. Brooke ........115
3.3.4. An analysis of the conversations between Jo and professor Bhaer ....130
Conclusion .......................................................................................................140
Appendix A ......................................................................................................145
Appendix B ......................................................................................................179
Appendix C ......................................................................................................212
Bibliography ....................................................................................................241
Filmography .....................................................................................................243

~2~

Introduction

The purpose of this study is to observe how the features of conversation provide
the reader of a novel or the audience of a film with information about the speakers
and their relationship with each other.
I will apply the tools of conversational analysis to the conversations in three
different films based on the novel Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I have
chosen to examine these films, because conversation in the novel and,
consequently, in the films, plays a critical role. Actually, most of the plot is
composed of the conversations between the characters, while action plays a minor
part.
I have decided to concentrate on different film scripts, because I want to examine
how the portrait of the characters changes through the years in relations to the
features of conversation. Besides, I am also interested in analysing the way in
which the characters relate to each other by means of conversation in the different
film adaptations.
In fact, the films were shot in very different periods and, at first sight, it is easy to
perceive a difference in the characters behaviour and in their relationships with
each other. Thus, I hypothesise that the characteristics of conversation are
consistent with this first impression and they will vary according to the portraits
of the characters.
In order to carry out my analysis, I will focus on the conversations between
speakers who have a particular relationship, such as those between peers (i.e.
Laurie and Jo), or asymmetrical ones (i.e. Jo and aunt March), including those
between men and women (i.e. Meg and John Brooke, Jo and professor Bhaer).
~3~

Thus, I hope I will be able to demonstrate how these relationships have changed
in films and how it is possible to deduce it from the study of the conversations
between the characters, even though, in all versions, conversational features
contribute to a definition of the characters.

~4~

I. Little Women, from the Novel to the Films

1.1. Louisa May Alcott


Louisa May Alcott occupies a particular place in the hearts of all girls and
women. Her charm lies not so much in her plot or in thrill, but in the natural,
healthy, everyday life she shows to her readers. In fact, when she wrote Little
Women, she drew some incidents from her own and her sisters life to create the
novels framework.
Louisa May Alcott was born on 29 November 1832, the second daughter of Amos
Bronson and Abigail Abba May Alcott. She was raised in Concord,
Massachusetts, a small town to the north of Boston that was home to many great
writers. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau
were neighbours to the Alcott girls. All these writers were part of the
transcendentalist movement during the New England Renaissance.
Transcendentalists believed that one could find spirituality through nature and
reason. They were an optimist group who believed humans were capable of great
thoughts, and they promoted nonconformity and being true to ones inner self.
Amos Bronson Alcott was not a particularly responsible father or husband,
although he was an enthusiastic transcendentalist philosopher, abolitionist and
teacher. He failed to provide enough money to support his family, and their
poverty was so awful that in twenty years, they moved twenty times. Louisas
mother acted as head of the household, and when Louisa grew older, she also took
on much of the burden.

~5~

Louisa May Alcott had an older sister, Anna, and two younger sisters, Lizzie and
Abba May. These names are noticeably similar to the names Alcott gives her
characters in Little Women (Meg, Beth, and Amy). Her sister Lizzie died at the
age of twenty-two after a bout of scarlet fever. Alcott also had a brother, Dapper,
who died in infancy.
Alcott was educated at home by her father. She loved to read and write and
enjoyed borrowing books from Emersons large library. As a child, she struggled
with the ladylike behaviour that was expected of girls in the nineteenth century.
Though she was required to be calm and stay at home, Alcott was a tomboy
whose favourite childhood activity was running wild through the fields of
Concord. She had an unladylike temper that she struggled to control.
Like Jo March in Little Women, Alcott could not get over her disappointment in
not being a boy, since opportunities for women were much more limited. When
the Civil War broke out in 1861, Alcott wished to go and fight in it. Like most
transcendentalists, she supported the Northern side of the conflict because she was
against slavery. But since she was a female and thus could not join the military,
she signed up to be a Union nurse and was stationed in Washington.
Later in life, Alcott became active in the womens suffrage movement in the
United States, whose supporters sought to extend the right to vote to women.
Alcotts feminist sympathies are expressed through the character of Jo March in
Little Women.
Though she never married or had a family of her own, Alcott was devoted to her
parents and her sisters. She understood that for women, having a family meant
professional loss, and having a profession meant personal loss. Little Women
dramatizes this struggle between the desire to help ones family and the desire to
help oneself.
Alcott is most famous for her domestic tales for children, which brought her fame
and fortune during her lifetime. Alcott also wrote sensationalist gothic novels (as
Jo does to earn money in order to support her family), such as A Long Fatal Love
~6~

Chase, and serious adult novels, such as Moods and Work, which received
mediocre reviews. Little Women and Alcotts other domestic novels have enjoyed
more popularity than her novels of other genres, though Alcott did not particularly
like Little Women and she wrote it at the request of her publisher (Anthony,
1938).

1.2. Little Women


Little Women possesses many qualities of the didactic genre, a class of works that
have a moral lesson. Little Women does not preach directly to the reader, however,
as did much didactic fiction of its time. The narrator avoids too much explicit
moralizing, allowing the reader to draw his/her own lessons from the outcome of
the story.
Since Jo learns to behave herself and becomes a lady at the end of the novel, it is
possible to assume that Alcott wants to teach her readers that conformity is good.
Interestingly, however, Little Women has been championed by feminists for more
than a century because untamed Jo is so persuasively portrayed. Moreover, in the
novels characterization of the March sisters, rebellion is often valued over
conformity. So while Little Women can be called a didactic novel, the question of
what it teaches remains open.
While on the surface Little Women is a simple story about the journey of the four
March girls from childhood to adulthood, it centres on the conflict between two
emphases in a young womans life, that is to say the one she places on herself, and
the one she places on her family. In the novel, the emphasis on domestic duties
and family prevents the March girls from developing various womens abilities
but not from attending to their own personal growth. For Jo and, in some cases,
Amy, the problem of being both a professional artist and a dutiful woman creates
conflict and pushes the boundaries set by nineteenth-century American society.

~7~

At the time when Alcott composed the novel, womens status in society was
slowly improving. As with any change in social norms, however, progress toward
gender equality was made slowly. Through the four different sisters, Alcott
explores four possible ways of deal with being a woman bound by the constraints
of nineteenth-century social expectations: marry young and create a new family,
as Meg does; be subservient and dutiful to ones parents and immediate family, as
Beth is; focus on ones art, pleasure, and person, as Amy does at first; or struggle
to live both a dutiful family life and a meaningful professional life, as Jo does.
While Meg and Beth conform to societys expectations of the role that women
should play, Amy and Jo initially attempt to break free from these constraints and
nurture their individuality. Eventually, however, both Amy and Jo marry and
settle into a more customary life. While Alcott does not suggest that one model of
womanhood is more desirable than the other, she does recognize that one is more
realistic than the other (Saxton, 1995).

1.3. Intersemiotic translation


This novel has inspired many cinematographic adaptations, some of them more
truthful to the original, some other less, but they all add something to the story. As
a matter of fact, Jacobson considers the passage from a literary work to a film as a
particular kind of translation, which he calls intersemiotic (1959: 232). In
intersemiotic translation, like in any kind of translation in general, it is advisable
to take the loss of material belonging to the original text into account from the
start and, consequently, to work out a translation strategy that rationally builds up
the most distinctive components of the text and those that can instead be
sacrificed.
Before approaching a text, a translator must make a series of decisions aimed at
finding the dominant aspects of the text, not only in itself but also in relation to
the cultural context in which the original is located, within the culture where it
was originated and the cultural context into which the original is projected, i.e. the
~8~

receiving culture. If the translation is intersemiotic, the choice between the parts
to be translated and those that must be sacrificed is far more difficult, since the
two medias work in a different way and are not able to convey the same features.
The main difference between films and literary works lies in the fact that literature
is fixed in a written form, while in a film the image is supported by the sound, in
form of music or words. An audiovisual text can be divided into different
elements: the dialogue between characters, the physical setting, the possible
voice-overs, the musical score, the editing, the framing, lighting, coloration,
perspective, the composition of the frame and, in the case of human voice, also
timbre and intonation. In order to carry on the filmic translation of a verbal text, a
rational subdivision of the original is inevitable to decide what elements of the
text to translate.
Textual translation follows the principle according to which an original can
possibly have many different translations, all of them potentially accurate; such
potentiality is even more developed in intersemiotic translation, to such an extent
that any attempt to retranslate a text into its original language - hoping to recreate,
as a result, the original text - is unconceivable (Rutelli, 2004).
Consequently, there is a close and mutual relationship between a novel and a film.
In other words, the film owes a lot to the novel, because it draws inspiration from
it, but the novel itself is in debt to the film.
The attitude towards cinematographic adaptation varies depending on the
audiences relationship with the work of art. This means that literary people may
adopt an attitude from defensiveness to superiority, when they evaluate a film
made from a literary work, whereas, film supporters tend to see adaptations
differently. Directors consider dramatic scripts as instructions to put on a play and
literary translators regard the original work as a starting point for their own
efforts, whereas, film artists usually see the art of making a film from literature as
a creative process itself. However, the creative process is different, because the
writer works on his own, while the film artist works together with dozens of other
~9~

people to realize their creation. As a consequence, a film is a collaborative


medium, whose result depends on cooperation and joint vision.
As already hinted above, the passage from literature to film is a translation from
one medium to another and, as happens with other translations, something is lost
and something is gained. Film supporters usually claim that the final film product
has the same status as the translation of a poem from one language to another: the
words will never be the same as in the original, but a careful and imaginative
translation can show the text under a new perspective.
On the contrary, traditionalists are uncomfortable with this concept and assert that
no film can reproduce the subtleties and complexities of a novel, because
screenwriters are compelled to reduce the text to a manageable size,

and

consequently they simplify the original.

1.3.1. Various film versions of Little Women


The various film versions of Little Women have brought Alcotts novel a wider
audience, because some viewers experience the film and then turn to the book for
a deeper and richer reading experience. Contemporary interest in this novel is also
justified by modern attention to gender issues, since its film version allows
screenwriters to use the novel to deal with topics related to the changing of
womens role in society.
Since each translation is an interpretation, and in each period a novel is read in a
different way, there have been different film adaptations of the same novel. This
also explains how a novel written in 1868, such as Little Women, can be the
source of many successful films, produced from the thirties to the nineties. Each
film shares the same original text, but each of them interprets differently the story
and the topics treated by Alcott.
There are five different cinematographic adaptations of Little Women: the first one
dates back to 1933 and is directed by George Cukor; the second was shot in 1949
~ 10 ~

and directed by Mervyn LeRoy; the third one was released in 1978 and its director
was David Lowell Rich and the last one was directed in 1994 by Gillian
Armstrong.
I will concentrate on the 1933 version and on the 1994 film version, because they
were produced under different conditions and in different cultural context. I also
chose to analyse the 1949 version, since at first sight is may seem very similar to
the 1933 version, but on a close view, some meaningful differences can be
noticed.
The 1933 version is a monochrome version with sound produced by RKO
(Radio-Keith-Orpheum). The film stars Katherine Hepburn as Jo, Joan Bennet as
Amy, Jean Parker as Beth, Frances Dee as Meg, Douglass Montgomery as
Theodore 'Laurie' Laurence and Spring Byington as Mrs. March. The film was
nominated for the Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay and the
Academy Award for Best Picture.
In the 1949, the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presented a version of Little Women
produced and directed by Mervin LeRoy. This version stars many famous actors,
i.e. June Allyson stars as Jo, Peter Lawford as Laurie, Janet Leigh as Meg,
Elizabeth Taylor as Amy, Margaret OBrian as Beth and Mary Astor as Mrs.
March. The film won the Academy Awards for Best Art Direction and was
nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Cinematography.
The 1994 film version (produced by Columbia Pictures Corporation) stars Susan
Sarandon as Mrs. March, Winona Ryder as Jo, Claire Danes as Beth, Kirsten
Dunst as younger Amy, and Christian Bale as Theodore 'Laurie' Laurence. The
film was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Actress in a
Leading Role for Winona Ryder, Best Costume Design, and Best Music,
Original Score for composer Thomas Newman.
All adaptations are rather truthful to the original text, as far as plot is concerned.
This is quite obvious, because, as said above, what is interesting in Alcotts novel
is not the story, but the everyday life ordinary events and the relationships
~ 11 ~

between the characters. As a consequence, scriptwriters have concentrated on the


most important topics present in the text, rather than on the events, which are
quite ordinary.
Context is very important for all works of art, because they mirror the society
where they are conceived. Thus each film focuses on a different topic. In the case
of the 1933 and 1949 versions the focus is on the family, while in the most recent
version it is centred on Jo as the main character. Thus the differences between the
two versions are due not only to the different cinematographic techniques, but
also to the different purposes of the films directors.

1.3.1.1. The 1933 film version


The 1933 version of Little Women was shot during the Great Depression.
Beginning in 1929, the United States saw one of the most dramatic turmoil in its
history: in just a few years the nation crashed precipitously from the prosperity
and glamour of the Roaring Twenties to the desperate hardship and poverty of
the Great Depression. In an American culture that measured self-worth by
success, many breadwinners from the Roaring Twenties felt deep humiliation
when they found themselves unable even to put food on their families tables.
Even today, nearly every survivor of the Great Depression can still recall the
feelings of hunger and desperation.
Hollywood produced movie after movie to entertain its Depression audience and
the 30's are often referred to as Hollywood's "Golden Age". The 30s was also the
decade of the sound and colour revolutions and the advance of the 'talkies', and
the further development of film genres (gangster films, musicals, newspaperreporting films, social-realism films, light-hearted comedies, westerns and horror
to name a few). It was the period in which the silent epoch ended, with many
silent film stars not making the transition to sound.

~ 12 ~

Movie goers mainly wanted to forget their everyday troubles for a few hours,
however, Hollywood, while upholding American institutions such as government
and family, also created characters and plot lines that stayed within the realm of
possibilities.
Actually, the purpose of director George Cukor was to create an easy-going, full
of live and nave comedy to entertain his audience, trying to help them to hope
that they would surmount all the problems and sufferings due to the Great
Depression, as the March family got through the problems due to the Civil War.
In fact, since the beginning, the reference to the Civil War is evident, for the first
scene takes place in the United States Christian Commission (which was an
important agency of the Union during the American Civil War. It was religious in
nature, but provided as well numerous social services and recreation to the
soldiers of the U.S. Army), where Mrs. March is doing her best to help the army.
As a consequence, a close relation between the condition of the population during
the Civil War and during the Great Depression is established.
It is not to be forgotten that the Civil War, as well as the Great Depression, was
one of the most catastrophic event in American history, since nearly every
American lost someone in the war. As disastrous as the war was, however, it also
brought the state closer together. After the war, the United States truly was united
in every sense of the word. Most obvious, the war ended the debate over slavery
that had divided North and South since the drafting of the Constitution in 1787.
The Civil War was also a significant event in world history because the Norths
victory proved that democracy worked. Thus, the comparison between the Civil
War and the Great Depression is not a negative one, since it demonstrates that the
country already showed to be able to get over a really dreadful period, then it
would be able to get over the Great Depression after all.
The directors idea was not to merely amuse his spectators, but also to convey a
positive message during a hard period for the American population. The simple
and genuine story told by Alcott in her novel is perfect for this purpose. Actually,

~ 13 ~

what Cukor sought to underline in his version was is the homely atmosphere of
the story along with the freshness, liveliness and positive attitude of the four girls
notwithstanding the war.
In order to achieve his aim, the director foregrounded the episode in which all
four girls are working hard to help their family, and enjoy working rather than
those in which they complain.
If, on the one hand, this aspect is prioritized, on the other there are features which
are neglected. Jo s wish to become a writer is, in fact, rather underestimated.
Actually, when she is in New York, she seems to dedicate more time to her
governesss duties than to her writing, and the role of Professor Bhaer as an
advisor for her writing is reduced to some hints.
Moreover, in the novel, Jos greatest wish is to go to Europe with her aunt, and
she is very upset on discovering that it is Amy who will accompany Aunt March,
whereas, in the film, she is not so disappointed, because she is more concentrated
on her duties towards her family (such as earning money) than on her personal
interests.

1.3.1.2. The 1949 film version


It is interesting to compare the 1949 film version with the 1933 and the 1994
versions, since, although it may seem very similar to the previous film, it has
many features in common with the most recent version.
Actually, the most of the scenes, of the dialogues and of the settings are the same
as in the 1933 film, however, there are some relevant differences which make
them different and, at the same time they associates the 1949 version with the
1994 version.
In fact, in the 1949 film, there are some scenes, such as the one in which Jo asks
her mother about her plans for her daughters, which is very similar to a scene in

~ 14 ~

the 1994 version, where Mrs. March and her older daughters discuss the role of
women in society. Thus, in the 1949 version the focus is not exclusively on the
family, as in the 1933 film, but also on the position of the woman, not only as a
member of a family, but also as an individual. As a consequence, Jo is the real
central character of the film, while her family is in the background.
This features is evident since the beginning, which is completely focused on Jo
(i.e. we see her coming home after skating and jumping the fence, which
underlines her characterisation as a tomboy), while in the 1933 version the focus
is on all the March women and their occupations.
In the 1949 film the attention is more on Jos writing than on the fact the every
member of the family works. Moreover, the script writer tends to underline the
fact that writing is not only a mere pastime or a whim, but it is a real mean to earn
Jos living. Actually, in this version, it is implied that Jo earns regularly form her
writing, even before going to New York (Laurie offers to give her his money
instead of letting her work), while in the previous version she gets a dollar only
once for one of her stories.
This feature is due to the historical context, since, in the Forties, as most men
were sent off to war, single women were recruited to the workforce and married
women were allowed to work. As a consequence, people, at that time, were more
familiar with the idea of a woman earning her living, independently from a man,
and this is mirrored in the film (not only by Jo, but also by the fact that Meg hints
at her wage when she speaks of her job as a governess).

1.3.1.3. The 1994 film version


Jos characterization in all films is influenced by womens role in society. In the
1994 version, Jo is portrayed rather differently. Womens role in society has
greatly changed since 1933 and now they are more independent. Thus the focus of
this version of the story, which is based on a family of women (in fact, Mr. March

~ 15 ~

never appears), is not on the family itself, but on what these women are able to
achieve by themselves. As a matter of fact, the beginning of the film is
particularly meaningful since we hear Jos off-stage narrating voice, who tells her
familys story, emphasising not only the fact that she is the main character, but
also her desire to become a writer.
Actually, Jos and Amys artistic aspirations are widely emphasized. Since the
beginning, all the family is really keen on everything Jo writes and, when she goes
to New York, it is not only to part from Laurie, but also to improve her writing
with new ideas. In this case, professor Bhaer is very helpful and concerned about
Jos writing.
The relationship between professor Bhaer and Jo mirrors the way men and
women relate to each other in the Nineties. Actually, their relationship is far
closer than in the previous version, where professor Bhaer shows his interest in Jo
only by asking her leave to write to her father, and spectators guess that he wants
to ask her hand. This difference is due to the changing relationship between
women and men, which is becoming more intimate and more spontaneous.
Actually, the same evolution can be noticed in the way Jo and Laurie relates to
each other: in the 1994 version they are more natural and closer and their
relationship is significantly less formal.
Jos passion for writing is underlined also by means of a cinematographic
technique, i.e. the off-stage narrating voice. It is Jo who tells the March girls
history, underlining the analogy between her and Alcott. The title of the book
written by Jo is actually Little Women.
Undoubtedly, this version has a decided feminist outlook, characterized not only
by Jos portrayal, but also by Mrs. March. As a matter of fact, she discusses with
her eldest daughter the role of women in society and compares it with mens, and
above all with their freedom. Her idea of female up-bringing is rather new, since
she thinks that girls need just what boys need. This is a trait which is totally
different in the previous versions of Little Women, where Amy is told off by Mr
~ 16 ~

Davis, her teacher, and his behaviour is considered to be right and nobody
complains about it. On the contrary, in the latest version, the episode of Amys
education is very different, and Mrs. Mach withdraws her from school because
Mr. Davis stroke her in punishment for her behaviour and he does not believe in
womens education.

1.4. Conclusion
In conclusion, the analysis of three film adaptations of the same novel, realised in
different periods allows us to perceive that film adaptations of literary works offer
many possibilities to scriptwriters, who are free to emphasize some aspects and to
shift others to the background. Even more importantly they tend to rewrite the
original text adapting it to the context where they live, which This is undoubtedly
a way of enriching the original text and making it more accessible and interesting
for a larger audience.

~ 17 ~

II. Conversational Analysis

I have chosen to analyse three film scripts based on the novel Little Women, since
film dialogues are written to be spoken as is not written and consequently share
most features of oral language but also some of written language. In fact, they
have two modes of existence: as texts and as performances (Fabb, 1997: 221),
because they are written to be performed.

2.1. Spontaneous speech


The contrast between spoken and written language has almost always interested
linguists. In dealing with the relationship between language and society, linguists
have to take into account both spoken and written language. As a matter of fact,
we live in what is called a literate society, which means that the majority of the
population in the community uses language both in a written and in a spoken
form.
Writing and speaking can be defined as two different modes of communication as
they are two different ways of expressing linguistic meanings. We may imagine a
tripartite model of language: there is a network of meanings which are encoded by
means of a network of expressions. These expressions can be expressed through
two different mediums, the medium of sound and the visual medium, as a
consequence speaking and writing look like just two alternative outputs.
However, this is not completely true, as writing and speaking are not just
alternative ways of doing the same thing, rather, they are ways of doing different
things in order to achieve different goals. It is rather like the principle that what is
said in one human language can also be said in any other, but it is also true that

~ 18 ~

each language has evolved in its own culture, so not all languages are equipped to
serve the needs of every culture. Likewise, there is an analogy with speech and
writing, that is to say that the former is not always able to express the same
meaning that the latter is able to express, and vice versa. This is due to the
substantial differences between the written and the spoken language (Halliday,
1985).
As Biber points out, there is no single boundary dividing all spoken text from all
written texts, so we must recognize different genres, such as conversation, news
broadcasts and academic texts. That is to say that the differences between spoken
and written text are not a matter of mode, because, for example, we may have an
informal letter, which is a written text with oral features, or an academic lecture,
which is a spoken text with literate features. This means that the difference
between the oral and the written language lies in the concept of planned or
unplanned production of speech and writing (Biber, 1999).
Planned production includes speech based on writing, such as lecturing, giving a
sermon or uttering a prepared speech. Unplanned production includes
conversation, extempore narration and impromptu discussion, but also writing
activities such as composing personal emails or personal letters. Some speech
production can be defined as semi-planned, for example, speakers narrating
events which they have described previously and for which they remember readymade phrases and clauses.
What is coming out of research is that spontaneous language is far more different
from written language than expected and any area of language is affected by this
difference (morphology, phrase and clause syntax and organization of discourse).
However, in the case of film scripts, the situation is ambivalent, because they are
text written to be performed, so they are a sort of planned production, but which
try to imitate unplanned production.
Linguists have identified a series of differences between spontaneous speech and
written language. First of all, oral language is context dependent: this means that
~ 19 ~

it is closely linked to the context where the oral exchange takes place. Meaning ,
in this case, depends on context, because it entails what speakers know about what
they can see about them (situational meaning), their background knowledge, i.e.
what they know about each other and the world, and what they know about what
they have been saying (context).
Thus, in the analysis of the three film versions, it is important to take the context
into account, and not only the narrative context, but also the context in which the
film was shot, because it influences the features of the conversation.
However, it is not always possible to make conversation in films exactly similar to
real spontaneous conversation. For instance, spontaneous speech is additive or
rhapsodic, i.e. speakers stitch together elements drawn from previous discourse
or add language as they go on. Besides, speakers are usually never sure whether
their listener is paying attention and understanding what they are saying, so they
tend to repeat the content of their message several times, by means of repetitions,
paraphrases and restatements. This makes speech redundant and rich. Thus
speakers show the conversational cooperation in the construction of their turns,
but without organizing their speech hierarchically.
On the contrary, in the script that I analysed, I have not noticed that, in fact,
speakers do not tend to repeat what has been previously said. This feature
underlines the fact that film scripts share some characteristics with oral language
and others with written language. As a matter of fact, scriptwriters tend to avoid
repetitions, which would be natural in spontaneous speech, in order to make
conversations more fluent and more agreeable for the audience (in fact, the
scriptwriter is rather sure that his/her hearer, i.e. the audience, is listening, so
he/she does not need to repeat, as the real speaker does).
An oral exchange is made up not only of spoken language, but also by body
language and prosodic features. Body language is an important part of the oral
exchange, because part of the meaning is conveyed by the speakers behaviour.
For example, if we are saying something embarrassing, we are likely to blush, or
~ 20 ~

if we are telling a lie, we will not look our listener directly in the eyes. Therefore,
to operate efficiently in conversation, speakers knowledge has to stretch far
beyond awareness of individual sounds or words. Instinctively, it seems, and
usually without any formal training in the rules of conversation, speakers are
capable of structuring and building conversation to fit the situation in which they
find themselves. It seems that our early years of language acquisition and our
subsequent years of talk have taught us all we need to know.
Moreover, the study of body language can reveal some information about the
speaker and his/her relationship with the hearer. For instance, in the 1994 film
version of Little Women, this features is more evident, since the characters are
more spontaneous and less concerned with formality and social rules, so they act
more freely and, consequently, their body language is more meaningful. For
example, in the scene, where Laurie proposes to Jo, he kisses her, while in the
previous versions he simply stands close to her. Thus, this tiny detail testifies to
be the fact that relationships between men and women have changed a great deal
in time.

2.2. Conversational analysis


There are different types of oral exchanges and the major types are: face-to-face
exchanges, which can be private or public, in the latter case, more ritualized, nonface-to-face exchanges, such as telephone calls, and broadcast materials, for
example TV chat shows or radio programmes. As I analyse film scripts, whose
plots are set at the end of the nineteenth century, the only oral exchange that I will
take into account is face-to-face conversation, which will serve as reference
model.
A conversation is communication between two or more people, often on a
particular topic. Conversations are the ideal form of communication in some
respects, since they allow people with different views of a topic to learn from each
other. Conversation is no to be mistaken with speech, which is an oral
~ 21 ~

presentation by one person directed to a group, thus the level of interaction, in this
case, is less significant.
Conversers naturally relate the other speakers statements to themselves and insert
themselves into their replies. For a successful conversation, partners must achieve
a workable balance of contributions, since a successful conversation includes
mutually interesting connections between the speakers or things that the speaker
know. Conversers must find a topic on which they both can relate in some sense.
Conversation has both communicative goals and social function. Its primary
function, the interactional one, is to establish and maintain social cohesion
through the sharing of experience, while its secondary function consists of
entertaining, giving information and direct other peoples behaviour, a function
which is called transactional.
The first function is the most interesting for my analysis, since I am interested in
how it is possible to infer information about the speaker and about his/her
relationship with the hearer, from the linguistic texture of their utterances. As a
consequence, I will concentrate on the features which build, reinforce or maintain
a relationship.
Despite of the fact that conversation is unplanned speech, linguists claim the
possibility of studying conversation. Conversation may seem impossible to study,
due to its spontaneous and unplanned nature, but, by means of a closer analysis is
it possible to identify some regularities, but also some interdicts. Actually,
conversation is considered on the basis of its suitability to the context. Speakers
are bound to adapt their speeches to the situation and to the their partners in the
exchange. This means, for example, that Jo does not speak in the same way when
she is at home with her sisters and when she is with her aunt. The difference can
be seen, for instance, in the use of terms of address, in the politeness formulae and
in the proxemic features which are used. Consequently, Jo addresses her aunt with
more formal terms of address, she uses more formal expressions and she is more
composed.
~ 22 ~

As Grice points out conversation is the result of combined efforts, which imply a
minimum level of cooperation between the speakers (1967). By observing
regularities in conversation, Grice postulate a cooperative principle, which states:
Make your contribution such as it is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by
the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged.
The principle is composed of four maxims, which are the maxim of quantity, the
maxim of quality, the maxim of relation and the maxim of manner.
However, speakers can respect the cooperative principle and be cooperative with
each other, but, at the same time, they can violate one or more maxims, and
consequently they exploit some implicature. Implicatures do not affect the
conversation negatively, because, in these cases, speakers still cooperate with
each other interpreting the implicatures. For instance, when aunt March addresses
Jo as Miss, while she normally uses her nieces first name, Jo understands that
her aunt is using the title as a reproach.
Consequently, we can affirm that conversation is not completely spontaneous and
unplanned, thus, it is possible to study it. One of the approaches to the study of
conversation, derived from Ethnomethodology (a sociological discipline which
examines how people make sense of their world, display this understanding to
others, and produce the mutually shared social order in which they live. The term
was initially coined by Harold Garfinkel in the 1960s) is conversational analysis.
It generally attempts to describe the orderliness, structure and sequential patterns
of interaction, whether this is institutional or casual conversation. In fact, the
expression conversation may be misleading, if read in a colloquial sense,
therefore Emanuel Schegloff, one of the most important conversational analysts,
prefers to use the expression talkin-interaction. Some other linguists, who use
the methodology of conversational analysis, identify themselves as discourse
analysts (though that term was first used to identify researchers using methods
different from conversational analysis (Levinson, 1983), and still identifies a
group of scholars larger than those who use only conversational analysis methods.

~ 23 ~

Conversational analysis was developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s,
principally by the sociologists Harvey Sacks, Emanuel Schegloff and Gail
Jefferson. Nowadays, conversational analysis has become an established
methodology in sociology, anthropology, linguistics, speech-communication and
psychology. It is particularly influential in interactional sociolinguistics, discourse
analysis and discursive psychology. Recently, techniques of sequential analysis
have been employed by phoneticians to explore the fine phonetic details of
speech.

2.2.1. Turn-taking structure


Linguists have indentified turn-taking organization as a basic rule of conversation.
This means that people have to know when to talk and how to gain a turn, when
engaged in a conversation. This consideration has lead scholars to the conclusion
that conversation has a rather rigid structure.
Although conversational analysis does not explicitly claim that turn-taking
organization is universal, since research has been carried out on more languages,
it is quite likely that certain regularities are to be observed almost universally.
According to conversational analysis, the turn-taking system consists of two
components: the turn constructional component and the turn allocation
component.
The turn constructional component describes the basic units out of which turns are
fashioned. These basic units are known as turn constructional units and they are
grammatically and pragmatically complete units, meaning that in a particular
context, they accomplish recognizable social actions.
The turn allocational component describes how turns are allocated among
participants in a conversation. There are three possible options: current speaker
selects next speaker, next speaker self-select as next, current speaker continues.

~ 24 ~

Therefore interlocutors co-construct dynamically the conversation adapting their


talk to the ongoing exchange, thus, to operate efficiently in conversation, our
knowledge has to stretch far beyond an awareness of single sounds or words
(Pridham, 2001).
To analyse conversation, therefore, we have to examine how and where we take
turns and how these turns are built onto each other to structure the conversation as
a whole. In fact, it is possible to infer information about the speakers form the
analysis of the turn-taking structure of a conversation. It is possible, for instance,
to observe how power dynamics works. Thus, the speaker, whose turns consist of
speech acts like questioning or commanding, is probably the most powerful
character, while the speaker who answers or apologises, is usually the powerless
one.
As a consequence, from these details of a conversation, we deduce much
information about the participants relationship. Moreover, we can also infer some
aspects of the speakers personality. Actually, the speaker, who utters the longest
turns or has most turns, is probably the most talkative, whereas, a shy person is
more likely to utter short turns and to listen rather than to speak.
As hinted at above, the turn-taking organization is based on the minimal pair,
called adjacency pair. An adjacency pair is a unit of conversation that contains an
exchange of one turn each by two speakers. A turn is a time during which a single
participant speaks, within a typical, orderly arrangement in which participants
speak with minimal overlap and gap between them. The turns are functionally
related to each other in such a fashion that the first turn requires a certain type or
range of types of second turn.
A question, for example, requires an answer, a statement invites a response (such
as agreement, modification, disagreement), a command or request expects
compliance. Exclamations are odd because they are non-interactive: if someone
calls out 'Help', it is action not language that is required.

~ 25 ~

The adjacency pair can be symmetric, for example greeting-greeting, or


asymmetric in case of question-answer pairs and responses can be minimal
(such as monosyllables like yeah, no, mm), since the context is provided in the
preceding turn.
Adjacency pairs are organized in first and second part. For any particular first part
speech act (proposal, request), conversationalists show a preference for particular
second parts in response (acceptance, grant). We can distinguish between
preferred second parts and dispreferred second parts (rejection, refusal). If the
rules are ignored and these patterns are broken (even by choosing the dispreferred
second part), this immediately creates a response (Pridham, 2001).
The choice of the second part is interesting, because on the basis of the type of
response, we may infer something about the characters attitude towards the other
participant.
For example, when Jo asks professor Bhaer his opinion about her novel, he does
not give her his opinion, but only states that he is not the right person to judge:
JO: [...] What's your honest opinion?
PROF BHAER: I'm a professor of philosophy, Jo.(Little Women, 1994)1
Consequently, we deduce that professor Bhaer does not have a positive opinion
about Jos novel, but, at the same time, he does not want to tell her in order not to
hurt her feelings.

2.2.2. Terms of address


Terms of address are one of the most meaningful elements of conversation for
what concerns the relationship between the participants, even if they are

For 1994 film script see appendix C.

~ 26 ~

peripheral elements. Actually, the way people address each other is important in
the interpersonal dynamic, since vocatives are not only used to single out one or
more addresses, but they always imply the speakers evaluation of the addressee.
They are particularly important in the English language, which does not
distinguish between a polite and a familiar form, as happens in Italian (as a matter
of fact, it is interesting to compare the original form of terms of address and their
Italian translation, in the film I am going to analyse, since the difference is often
significant), but is uses only one pronoun, you. As a consequence, the choice of
the pronoun is important to show the speakers attitude towards the hearer.
For instance, first names in their full form show familiarity between the speakers,
i.e. Meg calls Mr. Brooke John and he calls her Margaret only when their
relationship becomes closer. However, the most frequent terms of address in all
the three versions of Little Women are familiar forms, which is not surprising as
long as the majority of conversations are held between people which share a great
degree of intimacy, such as the March sisters, which are called Meg, Amy and
Beth. On the contrary Jo is not a diminutive, but it is a shortened form (from
Josephine), which is interesting because it shows not only familiarity between the
speakers, but emphasizes her tomboy temper, as Jo is also a masculine name.
It is interesting to notice that Jo addresses Laurie as Teddy only in the 1994
version (and in the novel), because Teddy is a diminutive like Laurie, but
since it is derived from his first name (Theodore) and not from his surname
(Laurence), it shows a higher degree of intimacy, which is significant of the
change in the relationship between them and between man and woman in general.
As long as the relationships between the characters are rather close, the use of
terms of endearment is quite frequent, and the most common is dear, above all
in the 1933 and in the 1949 version, where it used by Mrs. March to address her
daughters. In the 1994 version, there is a greater variety of terms of endearment
used by Mrs. March, such as cricket or my child. This difference
demonstrates not only that the use of terms of address has changed during the
~ 27 ~

years, but also that the relationship between mother and daughter has evolved
towards more open expressions of love.
Other common terms of address are kinship terms, which are used in different
ways and show different degrees of intimacy. In fact, the March sisters call their
mother both mother and marmee. The second term is a diminutive, showing
closeness and tenderness and it is used in particularly intimate situations.
Besides, the other kinship term which is rather common is aunt. It is usually
used as a title before the surname, i.e. aunt March, which demonstrates that the
March girls do not share a great intimacy with their aunt. However, both Jo and
Mrs. March, in the 1933 and in the 1994 version, call aunt March with the
diminutive auntie to try so soothe her when she is disappointed.
The use of titles is interesting not only in ordinary use, i.e. before last names
between people whose relationship is formal (Mr. Laurence and Mrs. March
always use the form title plus last name to address each other), but also as when it
is used as a reproach. It is usually uttered from an elder person to a younger one to
underline incorrect behaviour, such as when aunt March scolds Jo for being
impertinent (aunt March: Hoity Toity. Don't you be impertinent, miss!).
However, in the 1994 version, Mrs. March uses title plus name to address Amy
(miss Amy), to underline affectionately that Amy, although she is still a little
girl, tries to behave like a little woman. Thus, in this case, the use of title is meant
to show affection and not to reprimand.
As hinted above, the use of terms of address can be reciprocal, i.e. both speakers
use the same term to address each other (such as the March sisters or Jo and
Laurie), or they can be non-reciprocal and they indicate a difference in age (for
instance between Mrs. March and her daughters) or an imbalance in power (Mrs.
March calls her servant Hannah with her first name, while Hannah calls her Mrs.
March to show respect) (Gramley and Patzold, 1992: 288).

~ 28 ~

Finally, it is important to take into account the position of terms of address. They
can be placed in different positions within the utterance and this has bearings on
their function. For example, if a vocative is in the middle of the turn, it is used to
try to keep contact with the listener. This type of vocative is called address,
whereas, if the vocative is placed at the beginning of the turn, it is labelled as
call and it is used to attract the listeners attention (Zwicky, 1974).
JO: Amy, don't be such a ninny-pinny. (Little Women, 1994)
JO: Oh, I'm sorry, Aunt March. Merry Christmas. (Little Women, 1933)2
In the preceding examples, the first term of address is meant to attract Amys
attention on the reprimand that Jo is going to utter, whereas, the second term is in
the middle of the turn and it is uttered because Jo wants to maintain the contact
with the speaker, and in this particular case, it is meaningful since Jo is
apologising, so probably aunt March is disappointed and Jo is trying mend the
situation.

2.2.3. Routinary formulae


Terms of address, usually accompany polite speech act formulae, such as requests,
thanking and apologizing, even if they can also stand alone, as in the following
examples:
JO: Friedric ! Thank you for my book. (Little Women, 1994)
HANNAH: Well, she's out. But I'm expecting her back any
minute. Would you come in? (Little Women, 1933)
Some speech acts such as thanking and requesting, can be realised by means of
routinary formulae. However these formulae are not completely fixed, on the

For 1933 film script see appendix A

~ 29 ~

contrary, they can vary according to the context, the speakers purpose and the
relationship between the interactants. Consequently, there are different strategies
by means of which this type of speech acts are performed.
The use of these formulae is due to the need to be polite, since, as Brown and
Levinson (1987) point out, conversation is not only meant to convey information,
but also to maintain social relationships. Actually, Brown and Levinson state that
speakers exploit language to reach their goals, but that they also have two
important characteristics: 1) rationality, consisting of a set of goals that they want
to reach and 2) face, which is the desire to gain the hearers approval (positive
face) and the wish to avoid imposition from others (negative face).
As a consequence, during a conversation, people are caught between the wants to
achieve their own goals and the desire to avoid infringing their partners' face. So,
speakers usually try to plan their utterances in order to redress their partners' face
wants. In particular, in the case of conventional indirect speech acts, such as
requests and thanks, the relevant redress is focused on the imposition itself.
Thus, speakers tend to use standardized formulae, which are commonly accepted,
to be sure to protect both their own and the hearers face.
As a matter of fact, the most common thanking strategy that I found in the three
script is the simplest, which consists of thanking the hearer directly, by means of
the expression thank you. This feature is quite obvious, since the conversations
in the films always involve people who know each other very well (i.e. the
member of the March family and their acquaintances), so they are not excessively
concerned about formality. In addition, the majority of the exchanges occur in
ordinary-life like situations, where the most common thanking expression is
thank you.
However, there is another thanking strategy that occurs in the films, in which the
performative verb is reinforced by stressing the speakers desire to express his or
her gratitude, as in:

~ 30 ~

JO: [] I wanted to thank you. We did have such a good time


over your nice Christmas present. [] (Little Women, 1933)
This formula is used in more formal contexts to emphasise the speakers wish to
thank his/her hearer (Ajimer 1996: 38).
Concern for formality is still more evident in offers. Actually, a large number of
requests have the form of yes-no questions containing one of the auxiliaries
can/could or will/would. It is often possible to infer the degree of formality of the
request from the choice of auxiliary. This means that if the hearer uses the
auxiliary will instead of would, his request will sound more informal, such as
in:
JO: Will you tell him that we dont like anyone in our house [] (Little
Women, 1949)3
In fact, this request is made by Jo to Laurie when they still do not know each other
very well. On the contrary, when Mrs. March addresses her daughters, she is
inclined to use less formal strategies, as in:
MRS. MARCH: [...] Can you get my boots, Amy, please [...](Little Women,
1949)
As a matter of fact, she chooses the auxiliary can, which shows a minor concern
for formality and a major degree of intimacy. Notwithstanding, Mrs. March adds a
mitigating device,
please"4, as it often happens in the case of requests, since they can create a
conflict (Aijmer, 1996: 160).

For 1949 film script see appendix B.

Mitigating devices belong to the interpersonal rather than to the referential component of the
language and they facilitate the cooperation between the speakers, especially in the case of speech
acts that can potentially create a conflict (Aimer, 1996).

~ 31 ~

2.2.4. Interjections, exclamatory words and hesitators


Along with these features of conversation, which are very standardized and
consequently not very spontaneous, there are some elements which are utterly
unplanned and quite unconscious, i.e. inserts, interjections, exclamatory words
and hesitators.
These elements are meaningful, although they are peripheral both in the language
and in the lexicon of the language. They may appear on their own or attached to
longer structures and they rarely occur in the middle of the utterance. Inserts have
no denotative meaning, but their use is defined by their pragmatic function, for
example, one of the most frequent interjection, oh, generally introduces or
responds to utterances expressing surprise, unexpectedness or emotive arousal, as
in the following example, where Mrs. March is very positively surprised and
pleased by her daughters unexpected Christmas presents:
MRS. MARCH: Merry Christmas, my... Oh darlings! Oh, Meg,
dear! Oh, thank you. Oh, and handkerchiefs from Bethy. Thank
you dar... Oh, Hannah, did you see? Oh, Amy, my precious.
Thank you. (Little Women, 1933)
Similar in both frequency and function are also exclamatory words, which express
speakers feelings. Jo, for instance, uses one such expression to express surprise
or bewilderment as in the following example. Jo is astonished by the Christmas
dinner sent over to their by Mr. Laurence:
JO: Christopher Columbus! What's this? (Little Women, 1933)
This interjection is very significant, because it is part of Jos idiolect, as she utters
it very frequently (only in the 1933 and in the 1994 version). Besides, she is the
only one who utters this particular interjection, which is considered very rude by
her sisters, who always scold when she utters it.

~ 32 ~

2.2.5. Discourse markers


Other elements, discourse markers, serve a function that is independent from their
literal meaning, like exclamatory words. Actually, discourse markers are words or
phrases that function primarily as a structuring unit of spoken language. They
signal a transition in the ongoing conversation or an interactive relationship
between speaker and hearer and message. Discourse markers are active
contributions to the discourse and signal such activities as change in speaker,
taking or holding control of the floor, relinquishing control of the floor, or the
beginning of a new topic.
It is nearly impossible to establish an exhaustive list of discourse markers for a
given language, due to their wide range of functions and the difficulty of defining
them precisely; moreover, discourse markers are subject to dialectal and
individual variation, and novel formations always arise. Many words and phrases,
that are used as discourse markers, also have other literal meanings, but discourse
markers are only those instances that function to structure the discourse and do
not carry separate meaning (Blakemore, 2004).
However, one of the most common discourse markers, such as well, which is
particularly versatile, occur with a certain frequency in the scripts. It is a common
turn initiator with a variety of functions, but it usually indicates the speakers need
to consider the point at issue. It can also indicate self-correction in the middle of
an utterance. If it is uttered by the addressee it indicates some contrast and
disagreement. Consider the following examples:
MR BROOK: Young Laurence says you are an aficionado of the
theatre, miss March.
MEG: Well, I enjoy reading plays (1994 version).

~ 33 ~

In this case, Meg utters the discourse marker at the beginning of the turn, because
she is slightly embarrassed (she does not go very often to the theatre due to her
familys economic problems), and needs some time to think about what to say.
On the contrary, in the following example, professor Bhaers well expresses his
disagreement, since he does not approve of Jos sensational stories:
JO: Ah, yes. Thank you. Did you like them?
PROF. BHAER: Well, Miss March, I must be honest. I was
disappointed. (Little Women, 1933)
Another common discourse marker is I mean, which is used as an editing term,
i.e. that the speaker utters it while he/she is trying to correct what he/she is saying
or trying to render it more clear, as in the following example, where Jo corrects
herself, since she says Beth, but she means the character she is playing:
JO: Yes, you are a princess but you dont know it, you think you
are a servant and you are working for Beth, I mean, Edgarda, the
witch. (Little Women, 1949)
One common discourse markers that has other functions is you know. You
know is sometimes employed as an utterance-final generalizer, allowing the
speaker to extend their specific examples to a more general observation:
MR. LAURENCE: Oh, it wasn't that I wanted to hear her, but that
piano down there is simply going to ruin for want of use. I was
hoping one you young ladies would come and practice on it.
Just... Just to keep it in tune, you know. Well, if you don't care to
come, never mind. (Little Women, 1933)
Moreover, you know can also be a filler as in:
Mrs. March: I couldn't bear it without them. Meg and Jo are
working, you know? (Little Women, 1933)

~ 34 ~

As a matter of fact, Mrs. March utters this discourse marker because she needs
time to recover form the strong emotion she feels.
Another function of you know is to secure the listeners comprehension in the
case of a difficult topic, as when Meg inquire abouts Jos feelings towards Laurie:
Meg: [...] Forgive me, Jo, its just, you know, you seem so alone
and I thought that if Laure came back, you might (Little
Women, 1949)
Finally, you know can be used to emphasise the importance of the subject for
the speaker, especially when it is placed at the end of the turn as in:
JO: Europe! Im going to Europe, you know! (Little Women, 1949)
You see is another discourse marker which is very frequent in the scripts that I
analysed, and is meant to introduce an explanation, but, at the same time, it can
function as a filler and it gives the speaker time to organise his/her speech.
Consider the following example:
Laurie: Grandfather mightnt approve, you see, he doesnt
believe in being neighbourly.[...] (Little Women, 1949)

2.2.6.

Dysfluencies,

hesitations,

false

starts,

reformulation

and

multifunctional connectives
Linguists have noticed some performance phenomena, which can be compared
with the element discussed above, since they are meaningful despite the fact that
they do not carry any literal meaning: among them there are dysfluencies,
hesitations, repairs, false starts and reformulation. These phenomena are due to
the pressure of real-time production, because speakers are subject to the
limitations of short-term memory and they have little time to plan their speech.

~ 35 ~

Dysfluencies are minor performance problems that do not interfere with


understanding, while hesitations are pauses (which can be filled with a vowel
sound or not) and signal that the speaker has not finished his/her turn and
discourages another speaker from taking the floor.
Hesitation also shows the speakers attitude, such as embarrassment,
thoughtfulness, insecurity, as when Meg answers Mr. Brookes proposal:
MEG: Oh, thank you, John. But .... I agree with Mother. It's It's
too soon. (Little Women, 1933)
It can also happen that the speaker uses the same bit of language until he/she is
able to move on. If the repeated element is smaller than one word, it produces a
stutter effect. Repetition may be voluntary or involuntary. Consider the example
below:
JO: As though I'd change you, Laurie. Darling, you should marry
you should marry some lovely accomplished girl who adores
you. (Little Women, 1933)
In this case, the repetition is due to Jos difficulty in dealing with such a delicate
topic as Lauries proposal, above all since she is refusing him but she does not
want to hurt him. For the same reason, the speaker can decide to make a change in
his/her turn, as professor Bhaer does in:
PROF BHAER: I I do not want to be your teacher. No,
understand me . . .I am saying only that you should please
yourself. [...] (Little Women, 1994)
Reformulation means that the speaker retraces what he/she has just said and starts
again, this time with a different word or sequence of words, but in a more explicit
way than using a discourse marker such as I mean. This detail is due to the fact
that conversation happens in real time, and, sometimes the speaker feels the need
to correct himself on the basis of the hearers reactions.

~ 36 ~

Likewise, the use of connectives in conversation is influenced by real-time


production, thus speakers tend to use multifunctional connectives, such as and
or then. For example, the multifunctional connective and can be used to
express opposition rather than to simply add other elements, as in the following
example where the multifunctional connective and is very significant, since it is
used to express the incompatibilities between Jo and Laurie:
JO: I loathe elegant society, and you like it. And you hate my
scribbling, and I cant get on without it. I know we will quarrel.
(Little Women, 1933)

2.2.7. Ellipsis
In the scene where Laurie proposes to Jo, another important feature of
conversation, and more generally of spoken language, emerges, that is to say
ellipsis. Especially in face-to-face conversation, speakers do not bother to encode
all the information, because it can be understood from the linguistic or situational
context.
Ellipsis is a form of syntactic reduction, that implies the omission or deletion of
some items of the surface text, which are however recoverable in terms of relation
with the text itself (the constraint of recoverability is very important). The variety
of extra-linguistic factors may contribute to our understanding of a language
event, for example the setting, the knowledge shared by the conversers and
paralanguage (gestures, facial expressions, eye-contact).The recovery of omitted
items is based on non-verbal context and cognitive processes.
On the basis of the Economy Principle (Be quick and easy), the use of ellipsis
reduces the amount of time and effort in both encoding and decoding, avoiding
redundancy and repetition, but only when it does not lead to ambiguity. As a
matter of fact, ellipsis is considered a major cohesive device, contributing to the
efficiency and compactness of a text.

~ 37 ~

Ellipted items can be recovered from the linguistic context, and this type of
ellipsis is called contextual ellipsis, or from the situational context, and, in this
case, it is called a situational ellipsis.
There are different syntactic types of ellipsis which are classified on the basis of
the syntactic items that are omitted, thus we may find ellipsis of the subject,
nominal ellipsis (which entails the omission of elements within the nominal
group), verbal ellipsis (there are two different kinds: the first one entails the
omission of the lexical verb and the second the omission of the operator), ellipsis
of the object, ellipsis of predicate nominal and clausal ellipsis (it entails the
omission of other elements of the clause belonging to the verbal group. It is
frequent in question-and-answer sequences).
In some cases, ellipsis is useful to deduce some information about the relationship
between the speakers and how they cooperate in the exchange. For instance, in the
scene where Laurie proposes to Jo, the contrast between the characters is mirrored
by the ellipsis of the lexical verb. As a consequence, the focus is on the modal
verb (which is not omitted). In fact, the contrast is expressed by the modal verb,
since when Jo uses a positive modal, Laurie, in his response, utters the same
modal but in the negative form. Consider the following examples:
JO: [...] and we should quarrel.
LAURIE: Oh, no, we shouldnt [E] . (Little Women, 1933)

2.2.8. Question tags


Omitted elements can also be recovered by means of question tags. They entail a
declarative sentence to which a shortened form of question is appended. Question
tags are characterized by a syntactic dependence on the preceding main sentence,
which means that they have the same operator and subject as the main sentence,
but their polarity is inversed.

~ 38 ~

For question tags prosody is very important, because it is on the basis of their
intonational contour that the listener is able to understand the meaning of the
question tag itself. Actually, question tags can have either a rising or a falling
tone. The functions of the rising tone is that of seeking verification, i.e. the
speaker entertains some doubts on the topic of the main sentence, so he/she is
open to all answers. A falling tone is used by speakers who are certain of the truth
of the proposition and simply asks for confirmation.
On the one hand, in some cases, verification-seeking tags can mirror the speakers
stated of mind or some information about his/her temper. In the following
example, the tag, uttered by Meg, show that she is not very self confident, since
she needs her sisters opinion o a trivial matter, and that she is very concerned
about hiding her familys economic problems:
MEG: Its all right, its only for one night. You dont suppose
anyone will notice they come from a rag bag, dont you? 
(Little Women, 1994)
On the other, confirmatory tags show a major degree of self-confidence on the
speakers part, so they are usually meant to create common ground between the
speaker and his/her hearer, as in the following example:
SHOP ASSISTANT: And a real comfort they are too, aren't they?  (Little
Women, 1933)
Actually, Mrs. Marchs assistants is not looking for a confirmation, since she
knows that Mrs. Marchs daughters are a comfort for their mother, but she is
simply expressing her sympathy and comprehension.

2.3. Conclusion
Conversation is a common activity which is the basis of all human interaction.
Therefore, from the analysis of its features, it is possible to obtain a greater
~ 39 ~

information about the way in which it works, but also about the speakers
personality and their relationships within the conversation.
As a consequence, in films, which imitate reality, conversation is an important
factor for the characterization of the characters and their relationships with each
other. This is particularly true in the films drawn from Little Women, which is a
conversational novel. In fact, the plot is not based on extraordinary events, but it
concentrates on the everyday life of the characters and their relationships with
their relatives and friends. Moreover, it is interesting to compare the features
which emerge from the different versions drawn from the novel, because they
mirror the important changes in society, among which womens role and their
relationship with men.

~ 40 ~

III. An analysis of conversation in


Little Women

In this chapter, I will analyse some scenes from the three versions of Little
Women, in order to demonstrate that the linguistic features of conversation, along
with body language and proxemic features, influence the descritpion of the
characters and the relationship between the speakers.
I have chosen the most meaningful exchanges, on the basis of the relationship of
the characters involved in the conversation. This means that I have privileged the
scenes where the dynamics between the characters is more interesting, i.e. scenes
where the relationship is not peer-to-peer. Moreover, I have chosen some scenes
where the relationship between the characters or the portrait of the characters
changes in the different versions of the films.

3.1. An analysis of the conversations between Jo and Aunt March


The exchanges between Jo and aunt March are interesting, because the characters
have an unbalanced relationship. This is due to their kinship relation and to the
difference in their age, so Jo is obliged to respect her aunt, who, on the other hand,
enjoys a great deal of power over her niece.
I have chosen the conversations between aunt March and Jo, and not one of the
other sisters, since Jo is the most self-confident and strong willed of them, so she
does not always get on very well with her aunt, consequently, observing the

~ 41 ~

dynamics of their exchanges is more interesting. However, as in one of the scene,


Mrs. March is involved in the conversation, I have taken her into account.
This scene I will analyse does not appear nor in the novel nor in the other two film
version, thou, there are two episodes which are similar to this one (one in the
novel, one in the 1994 film version and two in the 1949 film), but they are both
rather short and not as interesting as this.
All the scenes begin in the same way: Jo is reading Belshalms book to Aunt
March, when she falls asleep and Jo takes advantage of the situation. Then the
three episodes take each a different turn: in the 1994 version Jo takes a more
interesting book to read while she sees her sister Amy crying out of the house and
goes to see what is happening; in the novel she starts reading a novel, The Vicar of
Wakefield, and manages to draw aunt Marchs interest to it.
In the scene in the 1933 film there are only two speakers, Jo and her aunt. Their
relationship is not peer-to-peer, that is to say that there is an imbalance of power
between the characters. This difference is due to the kinship relation and the
difference in age. Actually Jo is bound to respect and to be meek towards her
aunt. Moreover, the disparity is also due to the old ladys strong character and to
the fact that she is helping the March family financially, which makes Jo feel
obliged to be kind to her aunt; this means that Jo is the powerless character while
aunt March is the powerful one.
There are various factors that show aunt Marchs powerful position. The first one
is the use of vocatives: aunt March is the only character who calls Jo by her full
name form (apart from Meg, who uses her sisters full name when she rebukes
her) , which is Josephine:
AUNT MARCH: Hold your tongue! Disrespectful old bird. Go on,
Josephine. Josephine? Uh! Wherere you off to, Miss?

~ 42 ~

This detail is rather important, not only because the use of the full name is more
formal than the familiar form Jo, but also because aunt March insists on using
the full form even if Jo openly declares that she does not like to be called by her
full name ("I hate my name, too, so sentimental! I wish every one would say Jo
instead of Josephine. [...], "I can't thrash Aunt March, so I suppose I shall have to
bear it." And Jo resigned herself with a sigh., Little Women, page 27).
In this turn, there is another term of address, which is rather interesting, miss. It
is obviously used in order to reproach Jo, since we already know that her aunt
calls her by her full name and not with the title miss, which would be even more
formal.
AUNT MARCH: [...]Wherere you off to, Miss?
Actually, there is another occurrence of the term of address miss which
confirms the use of the title as a reproach:
AUNT MARCH: Hoity-toity! Don't you be impertinent, Miss!
It is also interesting to notice that both terms of address are used after a question
and an imperative, which are face-threatening speech acts. This type of speech
acts distinguish the dominant speaker along with speech acts like questioning and
commanding, and actually it is aunt March who uses imperatives as in:
AUNT MARCH: Never mind thanking me. Just spend it
wisely.[...]
or who makes requests, actually in a very direct way, just expressing her want and
without any mitigating devices, underlining the fact that she does not need to ask,
she just claims it, as in:
AUNT MARCH: Oh, very well then. Just a minute. Come back
here. Look at this. You haven't dusted properly. I want this stair
rail dusted and polished before you leave here.

~ 43 ~

The second part of the dialogue looks like a sort of interrogatory since it is
composed of aunt Marchs yes-no questions and Jos answers, which are made up
only of a yes or no and a term of address, as in the following pair:
AUNT MARCH: Did you wash those tea cups and put them away,
carefully?
JO: Yes, Auntie.
The speech acts realised by Jo show that she is powerless, since they always
consist in her reaction to what aunt March previously said. Moreover, her turns
are rather shorter than aunt Marchs turns, because it is her who controls the
conversation. As a matter of fact, when Jo tries to contradict her aunt, she
interrupts her niece reproaching her:
JO: There's nobody looking after us, and we don't ask favours
from anybody. And I'm very proud of Father. And you should be
too.
AUNT MARCH: Hoity-toity. Don't you be impertinent, Miss!
Apart from these turns, all the other turns uttered by Jo are speech acts like
apologising, thanking and answering (which are all reaction to the previous turn
of the other speaker). So her linguistic behaviour shows a rather passive attitude
as she does not initiate any sequence.
Jos first turn consists of an implicit apology (Aijmer, 1998: 82), that is to say that
she does not utter any of the explicit forms typically used to apologize (such as
Im sorry or I beg your pardon). On the contrary, she uses a strategy which
consists in giving account of what she was doing (which is actually her wrong
action, thus leaving earlier) and minimising it (she says that she thinks her aunt
would agree):

~ 44 ~

JO: Oh, I didn't think you'd mind. It was nearly time to leave and
the girls all said they'd be home early so we could rehearse my
play for Christmas.
As a consequence, we can infer that Jo is probably not really sorry for what she
has done and she is simply trying to calm her aunt down in order to be able to go
home earlier. Actually, she does not use any term of address in this turn, which is
typically used to create a contact with the hearer. It is interesting to notice that she
uses terms of address in her turns, except for this turn and the one where she
disagrees with her aunt, so when she does not really care to keep contact with her
aunt.
Moreover, in the other turn where Jo apologies to aunt March, she uses a direct
form of apology (Im sorry) followed by the a term of address, composed of the
kinship term (aunt) used in the manner of a title and the surname (March). This
type of term of address is rather formal.
JO: Oh, I'm sorry, Aunt March. Merry Christmas.
On the contrary, in the second part of the dialogue, Jo uses a diminutive of the
kinship term as a term to address her aunt, auntie, which shows more intimacy
between the speakers than the preceding one. The change in Jos use of terms of
address reflects the change in her attitude towards her aunt. As a matter of fact, it
happens when aunt March gives her a Christmas present for her and her sisters.
JO: Yes, Auntie.
The Italian translation is rather truthful to the original, so the only thing which is
interesting to notice is the use of the term of address. In Italian, it is possible to
use three different pronouns to address another person, depending on the
relationship between the speakers, while in nowadays English there is only one
pronoun used on every occasion, which is you.

~ 45 ~

In the English version, aunt March obviously addresses Jo with the pronoun
you, while in the Italian dubbing, in her first turn, aunt March addresses Jo with
the pronoun voi, which makes the utterance sound more formal:
AUNT MARCH: [...] Dove state andando, signorina?
During the rest of the film, aunt March uses the informal pronoun tu to address
all her nieces. As a consequence, the reproach to Jo sounds more severe.
In the 1949 film, there is a scene which is similar to the one in the 1933 version.
However, the 1949 scene is different because it takes place at the Marches, so
there are also Mrs. March and Jos sisters, not only Jo and aunt March, as in the
preceding version.
These details are meaningful, since they allow us to analyse not only Jos and aunt
Marchs behaviour, but also Mrs. Marchs and her daughters attitude. Besides, it
is possible to compare Jos and her sisters conduct in their aunts presence.
In this scene, it is important to take powers dynamics into account and to compare
it with the way it works in the same scene in the 1933 version. Power dynamic are
interesting since Jo and aunt March are involved and they are both very strongwilled and stubborn, so their relationship is not always easy to manage.
Moreover, there are some external factors which influence Jos and aunt Marchs
behaviour, such as the fact that Jo does not work for aunt March, and the fact that
aunt March is very disappointed in her nieces, because they did not visit her to
wish her merry Christmas. The fact that Jo does not work for her aunt is
particularly interesting, as she does not need to be polite with her aunt not to lose
her job, so she can afford to be more impulsive.
Aunt Marchs high temper is evident since her first turn, as she does not answer
Amys greeting:
AMY: Good evening, aunt March.

~ 46 ~

AUNT MARCH: Not at all, miss, not at all, its freezing cold and
you havent shovelled the path to the door, I might have slipped.
On the contrary, she contradicts her niece expressing her dislike for the evening in
order to emphasise the fact that she had to go out to visit he nieces. In fact, she
repeats the expression not at all twice and she calls Amy with the title Miss as
a way of rebuking her. Actually, we do not know how aunt March refers to her
nieces, so it is her tone which demonstrates that the term miss is an implicature.
In addition, aunt March reproaches her nieces because they had not shovelled the
path, so the reproaching tone is unmistakable.
Moreover, when the girls and Mrs. March wish aunt March merry Christmas, she
does not reply wishing them merry Christmas, in her turn. And when Mrs. March
implicitly thanks her for coming, aunt March repeats her statement in an annoyed
tone in order to underline the fact that she went to see them, while they should
have visited her out of respect:
GIRLS: Merry Christmas, aunt March.
MRS. MARCH: It was nice of you to come.
AUNT MARCH: Yes, it was nice of me to come.
What is remarkable in aunt Marchs turn is that not only does she repeat Mrs.
Marchs utterance, but she re-elaborates it. In fact, that she changes the pronoun
(from you to me) according to the correct deictic function, but stressing the
word you. Consequently, aunt March creates an opposition between the
pronoun you uttered by Mrs. March and the pronoun me that she utters,
which is meant to underline the fact that she had to visit them, while it should
have been the other way round.
Then Jo intervenes in the exchange to invite aunt March to warm herself up, by
the fire. The way she refers to her aunt is meaningful for Jos characterisation,
since it is a rather direct invite:

~ 47 ~

JO: Come by the fire.


First of all, she does not utter any term of address when talking to her aunt, as her
sisters do in order to show their respect. In addition, Jo uses an imperative
(come), instead of a more polite formula, such as will you or would you.
So, from this turn we may infer that Jo is very straightforward and does not care
for formality, and also that she is not afraid of her aunt (and this first impression
will be confirmed in the rest of the conversation).
Aunt March reply is rather harsh, because, even if she thanks Jo, she refuses her
invitation and takes again advantage of the occasion to emphasize the fact that she
made an effort going out to bring her nieces their Christmas presents:
AUNT MARCH: Thank you, Ive a fire at home, where I should be
this minute. Ive only come to bring you these. Meg.
The fact that, in all the first part of the scene, aunt March insists on trying to make
her nieces feel guilty for obliging her to go out, contributes to her characterisation
as a crockery, old woman, although, at heart she cares for her nieces (even if she
does not wish to show it).
In fact, aunt March gives her nieces their presents without even wishing them
merry Christmas, just calling them by their first names (so we have the
confirmation that the title, miss, that she used to address Amy contains an
implicature):
AUNT MARCH: Jo.
JO: Thank you, aunt March.
In this version, aunt Marchs use of first names is significantly different, since it is
different from the use she makes of them in the 1933 version. What is particularly
interesting is that she uses the shortened form to address Jo and the diminutive to
address Meg, which is not consistent with her temper, as they usually show

~ 48 ~

intimacy and endearment. Consequently, aunt Marchs stiffness seems mitigated


by the affection for her nieces, which she tries to hide, but which emerges
nonetheless from the choice of the terms of address.
All the girls thank her very simply, just uttering the expression thank you, and
adding the appropriate term of address, consisteing in a kinship term and last
name. It is worth noticing that, in this case, also Jo utters the appropriate term of
address, since, despite her pride, she is grateful to her aunt for the present.
Till now, aunt March has proved to be the most powerful character, and this
impression is confirmed by the turn where she reproaches Amy, who is hidden
behind her aunts back. In fact, in this turn she uses two types of speech acts,
which are typical of powerful speakers, that is questioning (What are you doing
back there?) and commanding (Come to the open) speech acts:
AUNT MARCH: What are you doing back there? I dont like
people sneaking about, come to the open, I always say.
Furthermore, she states what she likes (I dont like people sneaking about) and
expects that everybody acts according to her opinions (come to the open),
which she thinks is the the best possible.
After handing out the presents, finally, aunt March decides to reproach openly her
nieces (the discourse marker, well, at the beginning of the turn signals a topic
change), comparing her behaviour, when she was a girl, with their behaviour,
giving prominence to the personal pronouns (both I and they, referred to her
aunts) to underline that her attitude towards her aunts is the right one:
AUNT MARCH: Well, when I was a girl, I used to visit my aunts
to wish them merry Christmas, they didnt visit me. See that you
spend it wisely.
At this point Mrs. March tries to flatter aunt March, providing an explanation for
not visiting her, thus demonstrating that she is the powerless character:

~ 49 ~

MRS. MARCH: Weve planned to visit you tomorrow, auntie.


Also Mrs. Marchs use of the term of address is meant to soothe aunt March,
auntie, displaying a major degree of intimacy, and, actually, it also used by Jo,
in the 1933 film, for the same purpose (Oh, I'm sorry, auntie.).
Aunt Marchs powerful position is confirmed by the fact that her turns are longer
that the others turns. The girls and Mrs. March let their aunt talk without
interrupting her not only because they are afraid of her, but also because they
know that she is not interested in what they may have to say. In fact, even when
she asks a question, she does not let her addressee answer, since she goes on
speaking, as in the following turn:
AUNT MARCH: You never know if there will be a tomorrow.
Have you heard form that foolish father of yours, who goes to the
war and leaves others to take care of his family? It isnt
preachers who is going to win this war, its fighters.
Actually, in this turn aunt March just wants to express her opinion about Mr.
March and the war.
At this point, the exchange becomes more similar to the one in the 1933 version,
since Jo reacts to aunt Marchs comments on her father. However, there are some
meaningful differences, which influence Jos characterisation. In fact, in the 1949
version, Jo is more self-confident and not at all afraid of her aunt. As a matter of
fact, when aunt March reproaches her, she does not apologise, as she does in the
preceding version. On the contrary, she goes on telling her what she thinks. Her
turns are rather short and incisive and their syntax is very simple, as she uses only
the multifunctional connector and:
JO: Were very proud of father and you should be too. And
theres nobody looking after us. (1993 version)

~ 50 ~

JO: That was years ago and has nothing to do with now and it
was our money who got lost anyway. (1949 version)
These features demonstrate that Jo is very self-confident, but also that she is very
straight-forward, since she does not use long and complicated sentences to express
her thoughts, she just say what she thinks, even to her aunt, never minding the
consequences.
In the 1949 version, Mrs. March is present to this conversation and first tries to
stop Jo from behaving in such an impertinent way, since she does not want to
disappoint aunt March. Nevertheless, her attempt to stop Jo is quite feeble, as she
only utters her name as a kind of reproach (the shortened form and not the full
form, which should have been more appropriate for a reproach). In fact, she
probably agrees with her daughter, even if she does not dare to say it openly.
Actually, in her next turn, Mrs. March, instead of trying again to stop Jo, tries to
soothe aunt March offering her some tea and calling her auntie again.:
MRS. MARCH: Would you like some tea, auntie?
Consequently, Mrs. March is certainly less impulsive than Jo in her way of
dealing with aunt March, and this is probably due to the fact that she is more
mature than her daughter and she knows that, now that her husband is away, she
needs aunt Marchs help to take care of her daughters. For these reasons, she is
also more inclined to stand her lectures, althought, she too has a strong temper.
It is at the end of the scene that Jo shows her strong temper, when, even though
she does not agree with her aunt, she asks her to work for her as her companion.
Displaying such humility, Jo demonstrates that she is so strong that she can ignore
her ill feelings for her aunt, in order to make something good for her family.
However, it is not easy for Jo to asks her aunt a job and this shows from the
linguistic features of her turn:
JO: Aunt March, you still want me to work for you, dont you?

~ 51 ~

As a matter of fact, she utters a term of address, which she used only when she
thanked her aunt, so she wants to show her that she can be respectful. Besides, Jo
is not so self confident, since she is not sure that, after her disrespectful behaviour,
her aunt still wants her as a companion, so she utters a confirmatory question tag
at the end of her turn.
In this part of the scene, aunt Marchs turns are shorter, not because she is no
longer the powerful character, but because she is very disappointed in her nice,
since she refused to listen to her (Dont be impertinent, miss. Its a waste of time
to talk to you, nobody listens to me, anyhow. Merry Christmas.).
In her last turn, Jo calls her aunt auntie, as in the 1933 version, but, in this case,
the purpose is different, as she does not mean to soothe her aunt, she is simply
grateful to her for the job she gave her in spite of her behaviour:
JO: Thank you, auntie. Merry Christmas, aunt March.
In the 1994 version, aunt Marchs role is limited to only once scene, where she is
one of the participants in the conversation, and to a couple of turns in other
scenes, where she is only a side-participant.
However, the only scene where she is one of the main characters can be compared
with the scenes in the previous versions, expecially for the powers dynamics and
Mrs. Marchs characterisation.
In this case, actually, the main participants in the conversation are Mrs. March
and aunt March, and the conversation takes place in the Marches house, in a
rather more relaxed situation than in the preceding versions, since Mrs. March and
aunt March are having tea.
The conversation begins in medias res, so we do not really know why aunt March
is visiting her nieces, but the fact that, in her first turn, aunt March reproaches
Mrs. March for the way she manages Meg is significant:

~ 52 ~

AUNT MARCH: Abigail, I shake my head at the way you you're


managing Margaret. How is she to be married without a proper
debut?
Her turn begins with a terms of address, Abigail (it is the only occurrence of
Mrs. March first name in all the three versions), which is meant both to attract
Mrs. Marchs attention on the subject aunt March is going to treat, and to reproach
her. The fact that aunt March uses her nieces first name is meaningful, since it
underlines the fact that she is the most powerful character, in this interaction, due
to her age, the kinship relations with the hearer and her strong-willed temper. In
addition, the use of first name displays a certain degree of intimacy (it is not to be
forgotten that Mrs. March is not aunt Marchs niece, but her nephews wife, so the
familiarity is not foregone).
Besides, another elements showing her powerful position is the fact that she asks
Mrs. March a question (How is she to be married without a proper debut?, but
she is not really interested in her answer, as she demonstrates when she interrupts
her niece just at the beginning of her turn:
MRS. MARCH: Now, auntie, in the present circumstances
AUNT MARCH: Things will not change with your husband's
return. My nephew is as foolish with money as with his new
philosophies. The one hope for your family is for Margaret to
marry well. Though I don't know who marries governesses.
Even if aunt March does not let Mrs. March speak, it is easy to understand that
she would have to objected to aunt Marchs opinion, since she begins her turn
with the discourse marker, now, which is usually meant to change the topic of
the conversation, and in this case it is used to emphasize the fact that what Mrs.
March is going to say contrasts with aunt Marchs opinion.

~ 53 ~

Besides, Mrs. March knows that aunt March is very edgy and it is not appropriate
to disappoint her, so she adds a term of address, showing intimacy, auntie in
order to soothe her.
Mrs. Marchs behaviour is very meaningful, since she does not let her aunt
understand to what extent her words disturbed her, speaking calmly and going on
mixing her tea. However, during aunt Marchs next turn, which is rather long, it is
evident that Mrs. March would like to object to what she is saying, but she does
not interrupt her showing a great deal of self control.
At this point, Jo interrupts the conversation calling her mother aloud, and this is
the only occasion to analyse how Jo acts in her aunts presence. The impression
we get is that aunt March and Jo do not go on very well, due to Jos impulsive
temper:
AUNT MARCH: And this one is entirely ruined with books. Are
those for me, Josephine?
JO: No, Meg is taking them to the Maffets. Marmee, Meg is
frantic, shes lost a glove, shes has only one pair.
In aunt Marchs turn, the terms of address used to refer to Jo shows that she does
not approve of her, since she first refers to her as this one, which has a negative
connotation, and then she addresses her with the full form of her name, which
displays a minor degree of familiarity and the desire to keep the distance.
On the other hand, Jo answers her aunts question with a sharp no and without
uttering either terms of address or mitigating devices, which are likely to be used
in the case of a negative answer. Consequently, Jo does not seem afraid of her
aunt at all, but she does not appear to be more strong-willed, in this case, just
impulsive and unconcerned for formality, as she ignores her aunt and goes on
talking with her mother.

~ 54 ~

Aunt March asserts her powerful position by interfering in the conversation


between Jo and her mother, but that does not seem to upset Mrs. March at all,
since she agrees with her aunt and even underlines it by means of the adverb
absolutely:
AUNT MARCH: She can't go without gloves. The Maffets are
society.
MRS. MARCH: You're absolutely right. Tell Meg she may borrow
mine.
However, the adverb sounds a little ironic, as Mrs. March agrees with her aunt,
but then sets the question in a way she knows she will not like. It is in fact
completely out of aunt Marchs reach that Meg is about to go to the Maffets
without new gloves, and Mrs. March suggests she can borrows hers. In this way,
Mrs. March, on the one hand, does not disappoint aunt March and, on the other,
she chooses herself how to deal with her daughters.
Mrs. March shows that she does not take aunt Marchs opinion on this matter too
seriously by ignoring her disappointed expression and offering her some tea:
MRS. MARCH: More tea?
Also in the 1949 version, Mrs. March offers aunt March some tea, and it is
interesting to compare the two different strategies used. In fact, in the preceding
version, the offer was more polite and formal, as Mrs. March uses the auxiliary
will and adds a terms of address, auntie (Would you like some tea, auntie?),
while, in the 1994 version, she does not utter any term of address and instead of
using an auxiliary she used an ellipsis, which shows not only more informality but
also that Mrs. March is not feigning indifference for aunt Marchs remarks about
her daughters.

~ 55 ~

3.2. An analysis of the conversation between Jo and Mrs. March


The conversation between Jo and Mrs. March contributes to the characterisation
of both characters. In particular the one where Jo tells her mother that she wants to
go to New York for a while. Moreover, this scene is present also in the book, so it
is interesting to compare the different versions of the same conversation.
In the 1933 and in the 1949 version, it is Mrs. March who begins the conversation
(which, in both cases, takes place after Megs marriage and Lauries proposal) and
both times by means of a question:
MRS. MARCH: Jo, why arent you in bed? Its late. (1933
version)
MRS. MARCH: Are you very lonely, my Jo? (1949 version)
These questions could seem trivial, but they are meaningful for the
characterisation of Mrs. March, since they are arisen by two different motivations.
In the first case, the question is inspired by the context, i.e. the fact that Jo is still
up and this worries Mrs. March, whereas in the second case, the question is
inspired by Mrs. Marchs motherly concern for her daughters behaviour.
The terms of address are consistent with this hypothesis, since, in the 1949 film,
where Mrs. March is anxious for her daughter, she utters a possessive before the
term of address, which shows intimacy and affection, while, in the 1933 version,
Mrs. March uses the shortened form, since she is not worried, but surprised.
As a matter of fact, the conversations in the 1933 and in the 1949 version seem
very similar, also because of the context (they both take place just before the
characters go to bed after Megs wedding), but there are many differences which
make comparing them very interesting. The differences mainly affect Jos and
Mrs. Marchs characterisation, and they are due not only to their speech acts but
also to the way they interact with each other.

~ 56 ~

The type of speech acts used and the lengths of the turns affect Mrs. Marchs and
Jos characterisation, but they di not entail a strong power dynamics, since, even
though the characters are mother and daughter, they have a peer- to-peer
relationship.
Jos answer to her mothers question is different in the two versions. In the 1949
version, her turn is very short, while in the 1933 version, it is very long:
JO: Mother. Mother, I I want to go away. I mean, just for a
little while. I don't know. I I feel restless, and anxious to be
doing something. I'd like to hop a little way, and try my wings.
(1933 version)
JO: I think I must be. (1949 version)
From these turns it emerges that, in the 1933 version, Jo is more impulsive and
talkative. In her first turn she tells her mother what she thinks, even if her mother
has not asked her. However, she is not very self-confident, even though she is
very keen on her project, as she makes some false starts (I I want , II feel)
and corrects herself by means of an editing term (I mean). In fact, she realised
that stating that she wants to go away, is a bit impulsive. Besides, she calls her
mother twice at the beginning of the turn, as if she needs her help, because it is
not easy for her to tell her that she wants to go away.
On the contrary, in the 1949 version, Jo utters only a few words, so she seems
more introvert and reflective, and this gives her mother leave to utter a very long
turn:
MRS. MARCH: You know, Jo, when you were little girls. I used to
ask myself what will become of Meg, Beth and Amy. Ive worried
for Meg longing for wealth, Beths timidity, Amys selfish little
ways, but I never worried about you. You always seemed so sure

~ 57 ~

of yourself. But lately I found myself thinking of you more than the
others. You often seems sad.
Conversely, in the previous versions, Mrs. March asks Jo only a question, while,
in this version, she asks her daughter a lot of questions, in order to understand if
she really wants to go away and why:
MRS. MARCH: Where would you hop?
Moreover, this question shows her concern for the unexpected wish of her
daughter to go away, and, as a matter of fact, the question is uttered in a very
anxious tone.
In the 1949 version, after Mrs. March expresses her concern for her, Jo tells her
that she wants to go away:
JO: No, Im not sad, marmee, not exactly. Ive been thinking Id
like to go away some places. Amy could take care of aunt March
and you have Beth and if I get to try my wings, maybe
The turn is shorter that the one in the previous version and displays a major
degree of insecurity from Jos part, since she not only hesitates, but also uses the
mitigated expression Id like to go away instead of the more direct formula I
want to go away, as in the 1933 version. Besides, she does not finish her turn,
because she needs to check her mother reaction.
Mrs. March agrees with her daughter, but she does not want to force her decision,
so she adds the adverb perhaps and the auxiliary should before telling Jo to
go, in order to let her make up her mind without interfering.
MRS. MARCH: If you think so, Jo, perhaps, you should go.
As soon as Jo has her mother approval, she tells her all her plans, demonstrating
that her mothers opinion, and not only her permission, is very important for her:

~ 58 ~

JO: Id go to New York. Ive always wanted to go to New York.


They have the the finest libraries and theatres there, and I can
work for Mrs. Kirke taking care of the children and write in my
spare time.
In the 1933 film, Mrs. March understands that there is a hidden reason for Jos
desire to go away and she asks her, showing that she knows her daughter very
well:
MRS. MARCH: I don't doubt it. Jo, nothing's happened between
you and Laurie? Don't be surprised, dear. Mother's have to have
sharp eyes, especially when their daughters keep their troubles to
themselves.
Mrs. March uses two different terms to address Jo, the first one is the shortened
form, while the second is an endearment term, since she knows that this topic is
uncomfortable for her daughter, and she wants her to now that she has all her
support.
Moreover, Mrs. March wants to know how her daughter feels about Lauries
feeling to ascertain that she does not care for him and that going away is the right
choice for her:
MRS. MARCH: I see. And how do you feel about this foolish
romantic notion?
Conversely, in the 1949 version, Mrs. March does not ask her daughter about her
and Laurie (actually, she only asks her one question, and then she does not even
need it, because Jo speaks spontaneously),demonstrating that she does not want to
force her daughters confidence, but that she is always ready to listen to her and to
help her:
JO: Oh, it would and Laurie will get over me when Im gone and,
when I come back, well be just the same as we used to be.

~ 59 ~

MRS. MARCH: Of course, my darling. Go to bed, now. Good


night, dear.
As a matter of fact, when Jo spontaneously tells Mrs. March about Laurie, she
starts using terms of endearment to refer to Jo, demonstrating that is very
comprehensive and supportive.
The scene in the 1933 film is the most similar to the same scene in the novel,
since in both conversations Mrs. March asks Jo a lot of questions to get to know
her daughters intentions and to help her.
Consequently, Jos and Mrs. Marchs characterisation in the 1949 film version are
somehow different, in that Jo seems more mature, but also pensive and introvert,
while, in the 1933 version, she appears to be more talkative and impulsive. As a
result, Mrs. March looks more apprehensive in the previous version, since she
fears that Jo is acting too impulsively, whereas, in the 1949 version, she knows
that if Jo has made up her mind, she can trust her decision, thus she does not need
to ask her too many questions.
In the 1994 version of the same scene, there are only two turns, but, despite this,
the scene is more meaningful compared with the preceding versions. As the
exchange in this scene is very restricted, it is more interesting to concentrate on
body language.
As a matter of fact, in this scene, Jos portrayal is influenced more by her body
language than by her utterances. Actually, her behaviour is very different from the
one in the preceding versions, where Jo is quite static (she sits near the window
looking out or she sits on the bed with her knees near her breast). Conversely, in
the 1994 version, Jo is restless, she walks to and from waving her hands. Thus,
this behaviour is consistent with her feelings, since she feels impatient and
unsatisfied.

~ 60 ~

Her utterance also reflects her feelings and matches her body language, since Jo
does not structure her turn very well. On the contrary, she seems to follow her
train of thoughts and to speak more to herself than to her mother:
JO: Of course Aunt March prefers Amy over me. Why shouldnt
she, I'm ugly and awkward and I always say the wrong things. I
fly around throwing away perfectly good marriage proposals. I
love our home, but I'm so fitful and I can't stand being here. I'm
sorry. I'm sorry, marmee. There's something wrong with me. I
want to change, but I can't, and I . . .I just know I'll never fit in
anywhere.
Jo uses asyndeton and the multifunctional connective and, which demonstrate
the she is uttering what she thinks without bothering to structure her discourse,
and it is consistent with her fretful state of mind. Moreover, she used two
adversatives (I love our home, but I'm [], I want to change, but I can't []),
which show that she is very confused and does not know exactly what she wants.
Comparing the turn uttered by Jo and her body language, it is possible to divide
her utterance into two parts. In the first, Jo seems to speak to herself and to say
things just as they come into her mind, and, in this case, she is very agitated. At a
certain point, she seems to be exhausted and she sits down, and at this point, the
nature of her turn changes. In fact, Jo realises that she has to calm down and
reflect, and calls her mother. The term of address uttered in the middle of the turn
is meant not only to attract Mrs. Marchs attention, but it is also a call for help,
which shows that Jo still needs her, while in the preceding versions, she just asks
her mother the permission to go away, but she decides it on her own.
As a consequence, in this scene, Jo seems more spontaneous (at least to a 1994
audience, since her behaviour has to be consistent with the audiences idea of a
young woman in the Nineties), but also more immature that in the preceding

~ 61 ~

versions, since she does not make up her mind on her own, but she needs her
mothers help.
Also Mrs. March characterisation is different form the preceding versions,
actually, she looks more like a modern mother, since she seems more at ease with
the idea of her daughter going away. Both linguistic features and body language
contributes to Mrs. Marchs characterisation.
In fact, Mrs. March listens to her daughter without either interfering or asking her
questions. She does not get near her and continues to work, since she understands
that she needs to take everything out:
MRS. MARCH: Jo, Jo, you have so many extraordinary gifts.
How can you expect to lead an ordinary life? You're ready to go
out and and find a good use for your talents. Although I don't
know what I shall do without my Jo. Go... and embrace your
liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it.
Moreover, Mrs. March encourages her daughter to go, without asking her
husbands opinion, thus demonstrating to be independent, as it is possible in the
Nineties, but not in the Thirties and in the Forties (actually, in both preceding
films, Mrs. March have to talk with her husband before making up her mind).
Another element that underlines the difference between Mrs. Marchs
characterisation in the 1994 version, is the fact that she openly tells her daughter
that she is going to miss her (Although I don't know what I shall do without my
Jo.). In the previous versions, on the contrary, the character never expresses her
feelings explicitly. Besides, when she speaks to Jo, Mrs. March walks close to her
to show her support and affection.
This scene seems not very different from the same scene in the precious versions,
but, in fact, the portrait of the characters, that it conveyed, is very different from
the preceding versions.

~ 62 ~

3.3. An analysis of the conversations between man and women


The analysis of these conversations are particularly interesting, since the nature of
the relationship between man and woman has significantly changed from 1933 to
1994. As a consequence, it is very interesting to observe how the character of this
relationship is rendered in the different film versions of Little Women.
Moreover, not every relationship between man and woman is the same, which
means that Jo behaves with Laurie in a different way compared to how Meg
behaves towards Mr. Brooke, and to how Mrs. March deals with a old man, whom
she meets for the first time.

3.3.1. An analysis of the conversations between Mrs. March and an old


man and an assistant of hers
Actually, in this scene I will analyse not only the exchange between Mrs. March
and the old man, but also between Mrs. March and one of her assistants, since the
two conversations are strictly related to each other.
The characters in the first part of this scene are Mrs. March and an old man who is
looking for a coat at the United States Christian Commission, where Mrs. March
works.
It is Mrs. March who speaks first (even if we understand that the scene begins in
medias res, actually her first turn begins with a discourse marker, so) and who
asks questions. As a consequence she chooses the topics of the conversation. Not
all her questions serve the same function, that is to say that the first one is a casual
one, as a sort of polite warning utterance:
MRS. MARCH: So you're going to Washington?
while the second one expresses her real concern for the old mans situation:
~ 63 ~

MRS. MARCH: Oh. This will be an anxious Christmas for you. I


think this one will do. Let's try this. Is it your only son?
The old man just answers her questions showing to be collaborative with her.
When she asks him about his journey to Washington and his children, he gives her
more information than she explicitly required (her question are rather generic,
because he does not know him well and does not want to intrude), and this shows
his concern for his sons.
He shows her his respect calling her maam in each turn. On the contrary, Mrs.
March uses only one term of address, which is sir, with which she expresses
her admiration for the old mans behaviour.
The old mans turns are quite short at first, but when Mrs. March praises him, his
turn is longer than the former and it is not only a reply to Mrs. Marchs question,
but he expresses his willingness to do something useful for his country. The
syntax of his two first turns is linear and simple: there is neither coordination nor
subordination, only juxtaposition. Only in the third turn, which is the longest one,
is there a hypothetical period, but all the other sentences are linked by means of
juxtaposition:
OLD MAN: Oh, not a might more than I ought to, Ma'am. I'd go
myself if I was any use. Thank you for the overcoat.
His last turn is made up of short routine expressions such as thank you, God
bless you and repetition as a mean of strengthening the wish Merry Christmas.
This turn gives us the idea of the old mans feelings of gratitude towards Mrs.
March and his involvement because of her generosity and sincere concern.
Thanking is realized by the old man in a direct way, that is to say with the
expression thank you but without any intensifier. The first time, he simply
thanks her for the overcoat:
OLD MAN: [...] Thank you for the overcoat.

~ 64 ~

The second time his feelings of gratitude are expressed by a simple thanking
expression, but they are strengthened by the following blessing and the
handshake:
OLD MAN: Thank you, Ma'am. God bless you. Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
This scene is also present in the book, but it is reported by Mrs. March to her
daughters, because they asked her a story. In fact, the reported dialogue is
composed of only four turns.
Mrs. Marchs narration begins with a short description of the man and then she
reports the dialogue. It begins with a question asked by Mrs. March, but this is a
more specific one. The old mans answer contains all the information he gave
with two answers in the film. Moreover the turn is syntactically more structured,
that is to say that there are one subordinate clause (a relative clause) and a
coordinate clause (an adversative clause):
Yes, ma'am. I had four, but two were killed, one is a prisoner,
and I'm going to the other, who is very sick in a Washington
hospital.' he answered quietly. (Little Women, page 41)
Due to this feature, the turn uttered in the film is more likely to sound
spontaneous, since in spontaneous conversation there is not time enough to plan
ones speech, so turns are often not well structured syntactically.
Mrs. Marchs second turn is the same as the one uttered in the film, with the same
vocative used to express her respect and admiration for the old man, but in the
novel the author also explains openly the characters feelings, which have
changed since the beginning of the dialogue, since she writes :
You have done a great deal for your country, sir, I said, feeling
respect now, instead of pity.

~ 65 ~

Thus, Mrs. Marchs feeling towards the old man are expressed both by means of
the vocative, but also by means of the authors comment, while in the novel they
are conveyed by the presence of the vocative but also by the behaviour of the
characters.
The second part of the old mans second turn is not present in the film. However,
it is rather interesting because the author tries to reproduce the dialect spoken by
the old man. In fact, it is only what Leech and Shot call eye-dialect, because
the impression of reproducing non-standard speech by means of non-standard
spelling is illusionary (Leech and Short 1981: 168). Despite this, this feature is
interesting for the analysis because the old man has used a standard language till
the moment he speak about a topic which is very important for him. That is to say
that the old man has been paying attention to the register he was using, because of
the rather formal situation, but his excitement has made him forget is concern for
formality and politeness and the emotions prevailed. Notwithstanding the
overwhelming emotions, the man does not forget to use the formal form of
address to talk to Mrs. March.
In the film the scene goes on and an assistant of Mrs. March asks her to sign a
paper using a formal term of address, Mrs. March, which is composed of title and
last name, but then she uses a less formal formula for her request, that it to say
will you sign this so . Actually, the form will compared to the form
would sounds more direct and assertive (Aijmer 1996: 160) and shows a higher
degree of intimacy between the speakers. Actually, as soon as the woman realizes
that there is something wrong with her assistant, she inquires about the cause and
starts calling Mrs. March with the endearment term dear, which shows a certain
degree of intimacy. The familiarity between the two women is also conveyed by
the use of different forms of address, which is called multiple naming (Gramley,
Patzold 1992: 290).
Mrs. Marchs assistant shows her concern and her willingness to console her also
by means of repetition. In fact, she does not repeat the same words uttered by Mrs.

~ 66 ~

March, by she changes them slightly to underline the concept. This kind of
repetition can be seen as a device to change the topic of the conversation from the
old mans son lying ill to Mrs. Marchs daughters. Actually, Mrs. March begins to
speak of Meg and Jo instead of the poor old man and she seems less upset.
MRS. MARCH: Yes, I know. His last son is lying ill miles away
waiting to say goodbye to him, forever perhaps, while I have my
four girls to comfort me.
MRS. MARCHS ASSISTANT: And a real comfort they are too,
aren't they?
The question tag, added by Mrs. Marchs assistant, it is meant to establish a
common ground, thus, in this case, to express the speakers sympathy. It does not
require an answer, actually Mrs. Marchs assistant is not really interested in her
assistant daughters. Her limited interest is also shown by the fact that just after
uttering the question tag she handles Mrs. March the paper to sign.
Even if she is not supposed to answer her assistant, Mrs. March does, but after a
short pause she slightly changes the subject because she does not want to linger
anymore on an unpleasant topic:
MRS. MARCH: I couldn't bear it without them... Meg and Jo are
working, you know?
You know at the end of the turn is a filler, not a real question, Mrs. March
utters in order to give herself time to recover from the emotion caused by the
meeting with the old man.
Actually Mrs. Marchs assistant does not answer as if Mrs. March was asking her
if she knew that the girls were working, but she simply utters a backchannel cue
(yes) to indicate that she is still listening and she is interested in what Mrs.
March is saying.

~ 67 ~

The second part of the scene does not exist in the novel and it has been created as
a device to express Mrs. Marchs feelings, which in the novel are conveyed during
her conversation with her daughters. The scene added in the film is meant to
emphasise the fact that the story goes on during the war period, since the 1933
version was shot in the Second World War period.
It is interesting to take a look at the Italian dubbing of the film. The translation of
one of the terms of address is not very faithful to the original. In the Italian
dubbing, Mrs. Marchs assistant calls her cara signora , which sounds more
formal than my dear (which is usually used by people who share a certain
intimacy), since there is no possessive, as in the original form, and the title
(signora) is preserved. This detail influences the impression we get of the
relationship between the speakers, making it seem more formal.
Thus, even if the speakers in this conversation have an unbalanced relationship,
and Mrs. March is the powerful speaker, she does not exploit her powerful
position, on the contrary, she is very friendly and warm both with the old man and
with her assistant.

3.3.2. Analysis of the conversations between Jo and Laurie


The conversations between Jo and Laurie are peculiar, since they are man and
woman, so their relationship should be unbalanced, and Laurie should be the
powerful character, and Jo the powerless one. However, it is not so, since Jo and
Laurie do not take social conventions into any account, and behave very
spontaneously.
Obviously, there is plenty of conversations between Jo and Laurie, but I
privileged the moment when they meet for the first time, since it is interesting to
see how they behave when they are embarrassed, but also how the quickly
overcome the uneasiness and becomes more spontaneous.

~ 68 ~

Both in the novel and in the 1933 film version, the moment of the first meeting
between Jo and Laurie is divided between two different scenes: once they meet at
a ball and once at Lauries while he is sick. Actually, in the film version, the
chronologic order of the two scenes is inverted, i.e. they meet for the first time at
Lauries house and then at the ball (which, in fact, takes place at the Laurences
house and not at the Gardiners house, as it happens in the novel).
In the 1933 version, the scene begins with Jo calling Laurie (throwing a snowball
against his window) from the yard in order to thank him for the Christmas
presents he sent them.
It is clearly Jo who leads the conversation from the beginning with a rather long
turn containing different speech acts. This means that she begins with a greeting, a
very formal one to answer Lauries greeting (which, on the contrary, was a less
formal one), then she goes on thanking him. She thanks him in a direct way, using
the expression I wanted to reinforce the performative verb, showing that she
really appreciated Lauries act and truly cares to express her gratitude.
Jo is very talkative and quite embarrassed, consequently she does not even give
Laurie time to speak and goes on inquiring after his health.
JO: How do you do? I wanted to thank you. We did have such a
good time over your nice Christmas present. What's the matter?
Are you sick?
Then Jo asks Laurie another question and Lauries answer is interesting. He was
supposed to say yes or no, since it was a yes-no question (Jo: Can anybody come
to see you?), but on the contrary, he does not explicitly say yes or no, because his
affirmative answer is implied. Actually, Laurie's answer is an invitation to Jo to
come and see him; this is an example of indirect illocutionary act, that is to say
that an illocutionary act is carried out indirectly by means of another act. In this
case, the indirect illocutionary act is the invitation, while the act realized by
Laurie is:

~ 69 ~

LAURIE: If they would.


This attitude shows Lauries shyness, since he would like to ask Jo to come and
see him, but he is not bold enough to ask her in a direct way. Thus, he leaves it to
Jo to decide whether to understand the implicit invitation.
On the contrary, in the Italian dubbing, Lauries invitation is much more explicit,
actually he asks her to come and see him directly:
LAURIE: Verreste voi?
This difference can influence the characterisation of the character, because in the
Italian dubbing, in this scene, Laurie looks less shy that in the original version.
In the novel, this scene is quite the same, but it is a bit longer. It is still Jo who
asks questions, inquiring about Lauries health and his occupation during his
convalescence. It is interesting to notice that, as it happens in the Italian dubbing,
Laurie directly asks Jo to come and see him:
LAURIE: [...] Will you come, please?
As a consequence, in the 1933 version the directors intention was to emphasize
Lauries shyness even more than in the novel.
There is another difference in the use of the only term of address which is uttered
in this scene. In the novel, Laurie refers to Mr. Laurence, his grandfather, as
grandpa, which is a diminutive form of the kinship term and, therefore, shows a
grater deal of intimacy and familiarity between the characters.
Grandpa does sometimes, but my books don't interest him, and I
hate to ask Brooke all the time.(Little Women, page 45)
On the contrary, in the 1933 version, Laurie uses the standard form,
grandfather, which is more formal and shows less intimacy between him and his
grandfather. Moreover, the use of this form of address contributes to the

~ 70 ~

characterisation of Mr. Laurence, since it shows us how he is seen by his


grandson. In fact, we get the impression that he is rather strict and rough :
LAURIE: Just a little cold, but Grandfather's made me stop
indoors for a week.
Then, the scene goes on at Lauries house, as Jo has accepted to visit him.
The greetings are very formal, followed by a very formal term of address, made
up of the title and the last name, and accompanied by a light bow of the head by
both characters:
LAURIE: How do you do, Miss March?
JO: How do you do, Mr. Laurence? [...]
In the novel, this part of the scene is absent, but the author let us know about the
use of terms of address in an ironic way. Alcott tells the reader about the terms
used by both Jo and Laurie to refer to each other, not placing them within the
direct speech, but telling the reader how Jo refers to Laurie and vice versa:
Presently there came a loud ring, than a decided voice, asking
for 'Mr. Laurie', and a surprised-looking servant came running up
to announce a young lady. (Little Women, page 46)
Alcott underlines the incorrect use of the terms of address to underline Jo and
Lauries clumsiness, due to their young age and scarce experience of the world.
Actually, the way Jo refers to Laurie is rather funny, since she uses the title Mr.
and the diminutive form of his last name, thus she mixes a formal term with an
informal one, each of them pointing in a different direction.
Laurie is not less than Jo in the use of terms of address, since he refers to her as
Miss Jo, which sounds odd, because it is composed of the formal title, Miss
and the diminutive form of her first name, which is informal (in this case, the
terms of address is inserted in the direct speech):

~ 71 ~

All right, show her up, it's Miss Jo," said Laurie [...] (Little
Women, page 46)
The difference between the novel and the film in the use of terms of address is
also due to the fact that Jo and Laurie already know each other in the novel,
because the first met at the Gardiners ball. Moreover, in the novel, during their
first meeting Jo and Laurie talked about their names and both stated that they
prefer their diminutive. However, in this particular scene, they add the title
because they are not talking to each other, but to the servant, who opens the door,
so they feel bound to use more formal terms of address.
As in the preceding scene, it is Jo who begins the conversation, just after the
greeting. She starts talking about the present her family sent Laurie, just to break
the ice, because they are both a bit embarrassed and when she is embarrassed she
tends to speak a lot. Her embarrassment is shown by her hesitations, above all in
the second part of her turn, where her awkwardness is increased by the fact that
Beth insisted on sending Laurie her kittens and she know that boys do not like
kittens. Actually, in her second turn there are many features that show her
embarrassment, such as hesitations, a filler (um) and the two repetitions of the
pronoun I :
JO: And um Beth lent you these until you're will. I I know
boys don't like kittens but she was so anxious I I couldn't refuse.
In the first part of the dialogue, Lauries turns are quite short and the majority of
them consist of routine formulas, such as Thank you, Wont you come in,
How many please?. This is due to the fact that Jo is so talkative that she does
not even give him time to speak, and to the fact that he is very shy and probably
does not know exactly what to say, so these routine formulas help him.
Moreover, as we have seen before, at first both characters are rather formal and
very polite to each other, and Laurie is the one who behaves like this for the

~ 72 ~

longest time, since he is the shyest and he is a young man, so he is supposed to


show his respect towards a young lady.
Notwithstanding his shyness and formality, Laurie manages to make Jo feel at her
ease joking about the kittens (Laurie: Well, maybe they'll help to liven things up.
It's as dull as tombs over here.) and, actually they both start to laugh, which is a
sign of increased collaboration.
As a matter of fact, after this moment of fun, they are both somewhat more at ease
(in the novel this change is conveyed by the author comment: It so happened that
Beth's funny loan was just the thing, for in laughing over the kits, Laurie forgot
his bashfulness, and grew sociable at once. Little Women, page 46). As a
consequence Laurie takes advantage of this moment to invite her to come in
(since, till now, the scene has gone on in the entrance). The invitation is made in a
rather direct way, since Laurie uses the auxiliary will, which is more direct than
would and he does not use any mitigation devices as please. This feature
shows that Laurie is beginning to feel more at ease:
LAURIE: Wont you come in?
Jo, at first, declines the invitation in a rather clumsy way, that is to say without
any mitigation devices, in fact, she repeats no twice. Her first interjection, oh,
shows that she did not expect Laurie to ask her to stay. So, she draws back to the
front door with a rather worried expression, while Laurie comes near her. :
JO: Oh, no. No, I'm not to stay.
Laurie insists on his invitation, but, this time he uses a more persuading approach,
i.e. the mitigating devices please, to make his request milder with just to
minimize his request:
LAURIE: Oh, please. Just for a few minutes. I've ordered tea.

~ 73 ~

The syntax of Lauries turn is quite simple and characterized by asyndeton This
demonstrates that he is really eager to get her to stay, so he does not have enough
time to structure his speech, consequently he utters his turn very quickly, since he
fears that she might go away.
Actually, he manages to persuade her to stay, even if she does not explicitly agree.
We understand this because she utters an interjection oh and she smiles, thus in
this case the characters are communicating by means of the body language, more
than by means of words.
The scene continues in the sitting room and both characters now feel at ease.
Jos first turn is interesting, because she utters the exclamation which will
characterize her for the first part of the film. The exclamation is Christopher
Columbus and it is used to express her amazement in front of the richness of
Laurence houses sitting room:
JO: Oh Christopher Columbus! What richness! Oh! Just like
summer! Oh! This is marvellous! Oh, it's so roomy. Oh...
Her amazement is also conveyed in a more ordinary way, by means of the three
different exclamations (What richness!, Just like summer! and This is
marvellous!) and the four interjections (Oh), that express both surprise and
enjoyment, uttered by Jo while she dances through the room to enjoy all the
beautiful things she is not used to.
Her behaviour, when she walks around the sitting room to enjoy it, without being
invited to do it, instead of staying still or drawing back, as she did in the first part
of the scene, shows that she is now feeling at her ease. Also the tone of her voice
is different, which means that, when she is at ease, Jos tone is rather harsh,
because she makes an effort to feign a masculine voice; on the contrary, she uses a
more feminine tone when she is embarrassed (in this case, she cannot control her

~ 74 ~

emotions very well) or in a formal situation (and this is a characteristic which will
feature Jo for the first part of the film).
In the novel, this turn is different, because Jos amazement is expressed by the
author via her description of her behaviour:
And so, at last they came to the library, where she clapped her
hands and pranced, as she always did when especially delighted.
(Little Women, page 49)
As a consequence, she utters only one exclamation showing her amazement
(What richness!), but she expresses her appreciation for Lauries library (in the
novel, they are in the library and not in the sitting room, so she can appreciate all
the books, which she loves so much), reproaching him for not being happy
notwithstanding all the beautiful things he owns:
What richness! sighed Jo, sinking into the depth of a velour
chair and gazing about her with an air of intense satisfaction.
Theodore Laurence, you ought to be the happiest boy in the
world she added impressively. (Little Women, page 49).
What is also interesting in this turn is the term of address used by Jo as an explicit
way to rebuke Laurie. Actually, she calls him by his full name, Laurie Laurence,
which is evidently an implicature, because we already know that they use the
diminutive form to address each other.
Jos behaviour and tone change when she realises that Laurie is serving tea and
she begins to try to behave politely. Actually, her tone becomes softer, she
remembers that it is impolite to keep ones arms behind ones back and she asks
Laurie a rather formal question (the formality of the question is underlined by the
very formal term of address used by Jo, Mr. Laurence) about his liking his new
life after living in Europe for a long period.

~ 75 ~

However, Jo cannot keep behaving like a young lady for long, and even if she
made an effort to be polite and inquire about Laurie, she does not even let it reply
and goes on chatting:
JO: Two, please. Three. And how do you like it here, after living
in Europe so long, Mr. Laurence?
LAURIE: Oh...
JO: I'm going to Europe.
Laurie does not seem to be bothered by Jos behaviour, instead he seems to like
listening to her, since he encourages her to tell him more about her trip to Europe
by means of two questions, which show that Laurie is collaborating to the
conversation, even if he not talking so much:
LAURIE: Really? When?
The turn, during which she talks about her future trip to Europe, is the longest
(even if it is interrupted by Lauries short answer) and this shows that Jo is very
keen on this trip:
JO: I don't know. You see, my Aunt March has rheumatism, and
her doctor thought that the baths... Oh, not that she hasn't a bath,
she has a very nice one. Did you take any baths while you were
there? I mean, for rheumatism.
Her enthusiasm about the topic affects the realisation of the turn, which is not well
structured. In fact, Jo begins to explain why she will go to Europe, but she goes on
talking about her aunts bath and inquiring about Laurie having baths for
rheumatism.
The syntax of the turn reflects Jos state of mind: actually, there is no
subordination between the different sentences, but only coordination ([...] my

~ 76 ~

Aunt March has rheumatism, and her doctor [..]) by means of the multifunctional
connective and, so it resembles the additive association of thoughts in her mind.
There are some discourse markers, which help Jo structuring her turn. The first
one, you see, is meant to introduce an explanation, and, actually, Jo feels the
need to explain her previous statement, since she knows that she has been a little
too hasty affirming that she will go to Europe.
The fact that Jo does not structure her turn very well is also shown by an explicit
editing term, which is I mean. She corrects herself because she is mixing up the
two different meanings of the word bath, because she is talking very fast and
not really following the thread of her argument, which is provoked by her
excitement.
After this first part of the turn, Laurie just answers Jos question, without adding
any extra information and this means that he is collaborating with her, but also
that it is Jo who is controlling the conversation.
Then Jo goes on explaining why her aunt will take her to Europe and she
continues to feel the need to make clear which kind of bath she is talking about, so
she uses the same explicit editing term as before, I mean , but this time she
intensifies it with the expression that is to say:
JO: Nope. Neither am I. But she thought that the baths wouldn't
do me any harm. I mean, that is to say, while I was there. You see,
I've always wanted to go to Europe. Not for the baths, of course.
But for my writing. You see, my Aunt March. Oh, but you don't
know Aunt March, do you? Ah well, never mind. Now, what were
you saying, Mr. Laurence?
This turn is very rich in discourse markers, and the most frequent is you see (it
is repeated twice), which introduces an explanation. Then, when Jo realises that
she is talking about a person, her aunt, whom Laurie does not know (the question

~ 77 ~

tag she utters [...] do you? does not require any answer, since it has only the
function to establish common ground, in this the case the fact that Laurie does not
know aunt March), she changes the topic of the conversation by means of another
discourse marker, which is now.
It is also interesting to take a look at Jos posture and body language while she is
speaking. Actually, her behaviour is not very lady-like, since, as soon as she start
talking about the topic she really likes, she does not mind anymore to behave like
a young lady. As a matter of fact, Jo takes and eats more than one tartlet while she
is speaking, without waiting for Laurie to finish serving tea (in fact, it is Laurie
who gives her a napkin and a plate for the tartlets). Besides, while she talks, she
gesticulates a lot and she even points at Laurie, which is not at all lady-like
behaviour.
When Jo changes the topic of the conversation from her trip to Europe to her
inquiry about Lauries new life in America, she also changes her attitude, and she
calms down sitting on the armchair. Laurie does not answer Jos enquiry, because
he noticed that she was addressing him in a very formal way, i.e. using the
combination title and last name (Mr. Laurence), while he wants her to call him
Laurie, which is his diminutive. It is interesting to notice that Jo does not give
Laurie explicit leave to use the shorten form of her name, but he does it anyway
without offending her, because their relationship has evolved in a very friendly
one, so the use of diminutive forms of address is implied.
On the contrary, in the novel it is Jo who asks Laurie first to call her Jo instead of
Josephine and he immediately does the same:
"Nicely, thank you, Mr. Laurence. But I am not Miss March,
I'm only Jo," returned the young lady.
"I'm not Mr. Laurence, I'm only Laurie." (Little Women, page 27)

~ 78 ~

Jo seems to like calling him by his diminutive, even if she is probably a bit
embarrassed at first, and so she starts her turn with a discourse marker to take
some time before speaking, just to get used to the new term of address:
JO: Well, Laurie. Well, how do you like it here after Europe?
Then she utters the same discourse marker again, but with another function, that is
to say to change the topic of the conversation from acknowledging Lauries
request to call him simply Laurie (actually, she repeats his name to acknowledge
the request) to his life in America.
From this moment, Laurie becomes more active in the conversation, since, till
now, he has only answered Jos question or uttered some routine formulas, which
are commonly required from a host. Jo and Lauries turns are now more balanced,
that is to say they have the same length and Laurie does not only answers Jos
question, but he gives his own contribution to the conversation.
He begins his turn with a discourse marker (well) in order to take time to
organize his speech, because he does not know how to talk about his grandfather.
He cannot explain what he feels about his grandfather, because he fears to be
misunderstood, if he says that he thinks his grandfather is a holy terror.
The second discourse marker, you know, which is uttered by Laurie just before
he starts speaking of his grandfather, is not only meant to take time to organize the
speech, but it also functions as a device to secure the speakers comprehension in
the case of a difficult topic. And, as a matter of fact, Jo immediately understands
what he means:
LAURIE: Well, it's strange after living in schools all my life. Oh,
it'll be, when I get used to grandfather. You know, he's
JO: Oh, yes! You should have seen him before you came.

~ 79 ~

Actually, Jo interrupts Laurie, but it is a form of collaboration, since she interrupts


him in order to let him know that he does not need to say more, because she
understands what he means.
Then, Laurie understands that he can talk freely about his grandfather because Jo
will not blame him for being impertinent, and he actually he calls his grandfather
a holy terror.
Jo does not answer Lauries question tag (Isnt he a holy terror?) directly, since
it is only meant to establish common ground but she implicitly assents, comparing
Lauries grandfather to her aunt March:
JO: Oh, you oughta see my Aunt March!
Then, Laurie changes the topic of the conversation, not by means of a linguistic
device (such as a question) but because he takes a blancmange in order to eat it,
and utters a comment on it (Oh, it's too pretty to eat. I wish we had things like
this over here.).
In the next turn, Jo makes a false start, and then she goes on saying something
completely different, since she realised that she did not really mean what she was
going to say:
JO: And I wish... It is nice, isn't it? My little sister put on the
geranium leaves. She's very artist.
She was probably going to wish she had all the beautiful things Laurie owns, but
she realises that she has to be happy because she has a loving family, while Laurie
is rather lonely. After the false start, she utters a simple comment on the
blancmange just to keep the conversation going. Actually, the question tag she
utters after her comment on the blancmange (It is nice, isn't it?) is meant to
establish common ground, and actually Laurie does not feel bound to answer. As
a matter of fact, Jo slightly changes the topic of the conversation, from the one

~ 80 ~

about what they wish they had, which could potentially be a difficult one to
handle, to the blancmange and her sisters.
It is interesting to notice Jos change of tone during her turn. When she begins to
speak (and then she interrupts herself), she uses her tomboy tone, and she makes
an effort to make her voice sound masculine, but when she starts talking about her
sisters (who made and decorated the blancmange), her tone becomes softer.
Now, Laurie utters his longest turn, in which he explains how he knows Jos
sisters and apologises for spying on them:
LAURIE: Why, I often hear you calling to one another. And
when I'm alone over here, I I beg you pardon for being so
rude, but sometimes you forget to put down the curtain. When the
lamps are lighted, its like looking at a picture to see you all
around the table with your Mother. You always seem to be having
such good times.
He begins his turn with an exclamation which expresses his surprise (why),
since he realises that, having uttered Amys name, when he was supposed not to
know her, he is forced to explain how he knows Jos sisters.
He is obviously embarrassed because of his behaviour and, actually, he hesitates a
lot (And... when Im [...]) and he makes a false start (I...I beg your pardon[...])
repeating the pronoun I, which creates the impression of someone who is
stuttering, and it is also interesting to notice that it happens just before he starts
apologising, which is a rather difficult moment. Laurie uses a formal formula to
apologise, which is I beg your pardon, probably because he does not know
exactly what to say to convey his feelings and not because he wants to create
distance between Jo and himself.

~ 81 ~

His embarrassment is evident also through his body language, because he plays
with the plate while he is speaking and looks at it, instead of at Jo, when he is
thinking what to say.
On the contrary, in the second part of the turn, his attitude changes and becomes
kind of dreamier, since he looks at the ceiling with a dreamy air. The change is
due to the fact that he is not apologising anymore, but he is talking about Jos
family. As a matter of fact, he does not hesitate anymore, but his speech becomes
more well structured and fluent, because he is not embarrassed.
The turn Laurie utters in the novel is very similar to the one in the film:
Laurie colored up, but answered frankly, "Why, you see I often
hear you calling to one another, and when I'm alone up here, I
can't help looking over at your house, you always seem to be
having such good times. I beg your pardon for being so rude,
but sometimes you forget to put down the curtain at the
window where the flowers are. And when the lamps are
lighted, it's like looking at a picture to see the fire, and you all
around the table with your mother. Her face is right opposite,
and it looks so sweet behind the flowers, I can't help watching
it. I haven't got any mother, you know." And Laurie poked the
fire to hide a little twitching of the lips that he could not
control. (Little Women, page 47)
In the novel the turn is longer and better structured, as there are neither hesitations
nor false starts. As a consequence, Alcott had to find out some other ways to
convey Lauries embarrassment and, actually, she explicitly describes a feature of
Lauries behaviour which shows his embarrassment (Laurie coloured up, but
answered frankly, And Laurie poked the fire to hide a little twitching of the lips
that he could not control.).

~ 82 ~

Alcott also introduces a couple of discourse markers in his turn to render it more
spontaneous. The first one, you see introduces the explanation Laurie is going
to give Jo and also to take time to organise his turn. The second one, you know,
is at the end of the turn and after a statement, which does not appear in the film (I
haven't got any mother [...]) and which signals Lauries bitter feelings in stating
this truth.
It is also interesting to compare the scene in the film with the one in the Italian
dubbing. Actually, the differences mainly lie in the different use of terms of
address. Especially for the use of pronouns. That is to say, that in the English
version, there is no difference underlining the change in Jo and Lauries
relationship a part from the use of the diminutives, since in English the only
available pronoun is you. On the contrary, in the Italian dubbing, the characters
do not only use diminutives to address each other, but they also automatically
switch from the more formal form voi to the less formal tu:
JO: Vi piace vivere qui dopo essere stato tanto in Europa, signor
Laurence?
JO: Ah, allora... come ti trovi qui dopo lEuropa?
Moreover, in the Italian dubbing, Jo does not repeat Lauries name to
acknowledge his request to call him Laurie, but she simply begins to use the
tu form.
This scene is followed by the meeting between Jo and old Mr. Laurence. In this
short conversation, it is interesting to notice the formality and the power dynamics
between the characters.
The first feature to be noticed is the use of vocatives. As a matter of fact, Mr.
Laurence addresses Jo as maam, which is very formal and usually used to
address women who are married or over thirty. On the contrary, young women

~ 83 ~

generally receive miss, but they can receive maam if well dressed (Gramley,
Patzold 1992: 296).
This means that, in this particular case, the use of the form miss to address Jo
exploits an implicature, since she is too young to receive this form of address and
she is not particularly well dressed (her dress is rather simple). As a consequence,
Mr. Laurence is addressing Jo as maam for a particular purpose, which is to be
very formal in order to impress her, since she previously stated that she is not
afraid of him (Jo: [...] Oh, that's that's a good picture of your grandfather. He
looks pretty grim, but I shouldn't be afraid of him. Though I can see how his face
might frighten some people.).
On the other hand, Jo always addresses him as Sir, which is the appropriate
form to be used in this context, since Jo is younger than Mr. Laurence and does
not know him well. What is interesting is that Jo uses terms of address in each of
her turns, as long as she is speaking directly to Mr. Laurence. This means that she
is very impressed by Mr. Laurences haughty attitude and that she realizes that
what she previously said about him is not quite appropriate, so she is trying to
look more polite and respectful to Mr. Laurence.
The terms of address are not the only device Mr. Laurence uses to look more
haughty and to impress Jo. Actually, all his turns, in the first part of the
conversation, are made up of Jos statements about Mr. Laurence and some of
them finish with a question tag. The functions of the first of the question tags is
challenging, as Mr. Laurence is trying to impress Jo by pretending to be a haughty
old gentleman who is reproaching a young impertinent lady:
MR. LAURENCE: Thank you, ma'am. So you're not afraid of me,
eh?
In this case, the tag is an invariant tag, which means that the tag consists of only
one lexical element (eh) which is independent from the rest of the sentence.

~ 84 ~

Not all the question tags he uses have a challenging function, in fact, the last one
has a confirmatory function, because the speaker is sure of the truth of the
statement and simply asks of confirmation:
MR. LAURENCE: But with all that you like me, eh?
As a matter of fact, this turn shows that, in fact, Mr. Laurence was only
pretending during the first part of the conversation and he really likes Jo.
Mr. Laurences body language and the change in his attitude show that he is
pretending. In the first part of the conversation he stares at Jo with a grim
expression, but when he says that he likes her, he smiles at and tenderly shakes
her hand. Jo is pretty still until she admits that she likes Mr. Laurence, and she
comes closer, showing that she really wants him to believe her and actually she
repeats I do three times.
The exchange in the novel is very similar to the one in the film, the main
difference consists in the use of terms of address. This means that Mr. Laurence
uses two terms which show endearment:
"You've got your grandfather's spirit, if you haven't his face. He
was a fine man, my dear, but what is better, he was a brave and
an honest one, and I was proud to be his friend."(Little Women,
page 50)
That will do, that will do, young lady. Too many sugarplums are
not good for him. His music isn't bad, but I hope he will do as
well in more important things. Going? well, I'm much obliged to
you, and I hope you'll come again. My respects to your mother.
Good night, Doctor Jo. (Little Women, page 52)
In this turn, there is also another term which is interesting, Doctor Jo. It is used
only in the novel and only twice (the second time, it is uttered by Beth: "Two
letters for Doctor Jo, a book, and a funny old hat [...] obviously addressing Jo). It

~ 85 ~

is used in an ironic and affectionate way, since what Mr. Laurence wants to
convey is that he appreciated what Jo did to make his grandson feel better, and he
makes a joke about the fact that she cured him from his cold.
Jos contribution to the conversation is restricted to her reactions to Mr.
Laurences statements, which means that she is less powerful than Mr. Laurence
in the conversation.
Laurie utters only three turns, and actually he is not a very active participant in the
conversation. He can be classified as a side participant, because he contributes
only a little to the exchange. Notwithstanding, it is interesting to notice his use of
terms of address, since he addresses Mr. Laurence as grandfather, while, in the
novel, he calls him sir, which is much more formal:
LAURIE: Grandfather, you should see her fence. Come on, let's
show him.
"I didn't know you'd come, sir," he began, as Jo gave him a
triumphant little glance. (Little Women, page 51).
On the other hand, Mr. Laurences use of terms of address is more complicated in
the film, for he calls Laurie in two different ways. Actually, once he calls him
young man, which is a form showing familiarity, implying a more relaxed
relationship between the speakers, and sir, which, on the contrary, is much more
formal, above all if used by a grandfather addressing his grandson:
MR. LAURENCE: Oh, no, no, no. You stay indoors, young man. I
shall see Miss March home. I want to pay my respects to your
mother and thank her for the medicine she sent my boy. I can see
it's done him lots of good. You get upstairs and do your sums.
Brooke is waiting for you, and see you behave yourself like a
gentleman, sir.

~ 86 ~

As a matter of fact, the terms of address are different because Mr. Laurence wants
to convey a different attitude towards his grandson. This means that young man
is used when Mr. Laurence is expressing is concern for Lauries health, since he
does not allow him to got out. On the contrary, sir is used when Mr. Laurence
gives orders to Laurie and wants to be more authoritative.
Multiple naming shows more confidence in a relationship, as a consequence, the
impression we get from this detail is that the relationship between grandfather and
grandson in the novel is more formal, whereas in the film it is more relaxed. This
is quite reasonable, since the book was written in 1868 and the film was shot in
1933, so it is normal that the relationship has evolved towards a more informal
model.
In the 1949 version, the idea we get of Jo and Laurie and of their relationship is
still different. In this film version, the first meeting between Jo and Laurie takes
place in two different moments, similarly to the previous version, but in this case,
the occasion of the first meeting is different. Actually, Jo and Laurie meet by
chance in the street while Jo and her sisters are taking their breakfast to the
Hummels.
This scene does not exist either in the novel or in the other film versions I
analysed. However, it is very interesting, because Jos and Lauries attitude is
very different from their attitude in the other versions. This means that they are
not at all embarrassed during their fist meeting, on the contrary, they look relaxed
and at ease, notwithstanding the fact that they do not know each other.
In this scene, Jo and Laurie are not alone, since there are also Jos sisters and Mr.
Brooke, but they can be classified as side participants, since their contribution to
the exchange is very limited. As a matter of fact, also Lauries contribution to the
conversation is very limited since he utters only three turns. As a consequence, it
is Jo who leads the conversation (which is more a like a monologue).

~ 87 ~

As a matter of fact, it is Laurie who addresses Jo the first time, when he picks up
the popover she dropped and gives it back to her. He addresses her it in a very
formal way:
LAURIE: You drop this, maam.
Laurie calls Jo maam, which is very formal, because this form of address is
usually used for married or older women, while Jo is a young lady and she is not
married. As a consequence, we get the impression that Laurie is extremely polite
and formal. This impression is underlined by a rather formal gesture, showing
respect, that Laurie makes, which is to touch his hat when he addresses Jo.
Another feature which emphasizes the impression that Lauries behaviour is very
formal, is the fact that he does not look like a boy, but more like a young man,
who is not at all embarrassed by the presence of a young lady (as happens in the
other versions).
Jos answer is formal and polite, since she thanks him and calls him sir, which
is rather formal, but not as formal as maam in this situation, because there is
only one term of address for men, whether they are young or adult, married or not,
and it is sir. Consequently, Jo is bound to use sir to address Laurie, so the
only element that shows Jos formality is the presence of the term of address and
not the type of term used:
JO: Thank you, sir.
Jos first turn is very simple, since she uses only the expression thank you
without any intensifier, not because she is not grateful to Laurie (actually, she
smiles at him), but because she is very straightforward, so she prefers simple and
direct expressions.
Then the only turn uttered by Amy, which is interesting because she uses Jos full
name to address her sister. She calls her Josephine just after uttering an

~ 88 ~

imperative, so she is using this form to address her sister because she is trying to
sound more authoritative:
AMY: Come on, Josephine!
Amys behaviour is conditioned by the presence of the two men, as she wants to
show them that she not taking their presence into any account, but also that she
does not let her sister command her (since Jo prevented her from carrying the
popovers and eating all of them). As a matter of fact, she does not even look at
Laurie and Mr. Brooke and goes on as if she hadnt noticed them.
On the contrary, Jo is very spontaneous and not concerned about formality, and
actually she immediately shows that she recognised Laurie as her neighbour:
JO: You live next door, dont you?
She abandons every trace of formality, actually she does not use any term of
address and starts talking to Laurie before introducing herself. Moreover, she does
not try to hide the fact that she knows who Laurie is (as Amy did), as can be seen
from the question tag she utters which is meant to create common ground between
the speakers, since Jo is sure that Laurie is her neighbour.
Laurie does not seem to be surprised by Jos straightforward behaviour and takes
advantage of the situation to introduce himself and Mr. Brooke:
LAURIE: Yes, I do. My name is Theodore Laurence and this is
John Brooke, my tutor.
Jos reaction is quite surprising as she gives Laurie the popovers to be able to
shake Mr. Brookes hand. Moreover, her easy behaviour contrasts with the formal
greeting she addresses to Mr. Brooke:
JO: How do you do?

~ 89 ~

Mr. Brookes answer is as formal as Jos, but his behaviour is more consistent
with his words as he lifts slightly is hat to show his respect for the young lady.
Moreover, he is quite surprised by the fact that Jo wants to shake his hand, since
only men are expected to shake hands when meeting.
Then she goes on introducing herself and her sisters in a very informal way
(actually, the expression Im Jo March is more informal that My name is
Theodore Laurence), which is altogether surprising, since young ladies, in that
period, were not supposed to talk or to make acquaintance with men they met in
the street:
JO: Im Jo March and Id like you to meet my sisters. Thats Meg
and the other two off the road are Beth and Amy.
Obviously, Meg is very disappointed by Jos inconsiderate behaviour, but also by
Mr. Brookes polite behaviour, because she didnt like the way he looked at her
(Meg: I didnt like the way that man stared at me.). In fact, when Jo introduces
her sisters, Mr. Brooke greets only Meg, and it is clear that he is very impressed
by Megs beauty, while she looks rather disappointed and answers his greeting
only with a nod (we see her disappointed expression, when Mr. Brooke greets her,
in a close-up shot).
Jo is so excited about this meeting that she does not even give Laurie time to talk,
but in this case the fact that Jo is the one who has most turns (seven out of fifteen)
and that her turns are the longest, has nothing to do with power dynamics. In fact,
it depends on the fact that she is the most excited about the meeting since she was
looking for a way to meet Laurie and finally she managed to do it. It also depends
on Jos character, because she is very communicative and cheerful and this
features influences the way she speaks, i.e. she talks a lot and tends to be
overbearing.
At this point, Meg cannot stand Jos behaviour any longer and calls her sister with
a reproaching tone. As a matter of fact, she uses Jos full name (as Amy did) as a

~ 90 ~

means to express her disappointment in her sister and an imperative, but she adds
a mitigating device, please. This detail underlines the different characterisation
of the two sisters, showing that Amy is still a child (and she is a little spoilt) even
if she tries to behave as a young woman, while Meg is more mature and even if
she is impatient and disappointed in her sister, she never forgets to behave like a
polite young woman:
MEG: Josephine, come on, please!
When they separate, Jo greets Laurie and Mr. Brooke shaking their hands in a
very masculine way, as she did when she met them. What is interesting, though, is
the term of address used by Laurie to refer to Jo, Miss March, which is different
from the first one he used and which was is formal. The difference is due to the
fact that now he knows her and can choose the right term to address her:
LAURIE: Goodbye, miss March.
The use of term of address is interesting also in the Italian dubbing. In his first
turn Laurie calls Jo signorina, which is the correct form for a young lady and,
when he says her goodbye, he uses the title signorina followed by the last name
March (as in the English version).
LAURIE: Le caduto questo, signorina.
LAURIE: Addio, signorina.
On the other hand, Jo uses the term signore to address Laurie, because,
although, in Italian there are two form to address men, signore e signorino,
the second one, which is meant to address young unmarried men, is very limited
in use, while the first one is used for both young and adult men. Consequently, Jo
s use of signore is very appropriate to address Laurie.

~ 91 ~

Moreover, Amy and Meg do not use Jos full name when they address their sister,
and this feature changes a little the tone of their utterances, since they sound less
reproaching:
AMY: Andiamo, Jo.
MEG: Jo, andiamo, ti prego.
The second part of the meeting between Jo and Laurie takes place in Lauries
sitting room, as in the 1933 version. Actually, the two scenes are quite identical,
because of the setting and the main topics of the conversation (also the soundtrack
is the same). However, there are many differences in the characters behaviour
and in the linguistic features, which give a different impression of the relationship
between the characters and of their personalities. As a matter of fact, they look
less embarrassed and, consequently, more at ease with each other.
As in the previous version, Jo throws a snowball against Lauries windows to
attract his attention. On the contrary, in this version, she does not want to thank
him for his Christmas presents, but she wants him to help her shovelling the snow
away from the yard. This detail shows that Jo is much more uninhibited than she
was in the 1993 version. Her attitude is mirrored by the linguistic features of her
turn, as she uses a very direct formula to make her request to Laurie, i.e.
imperative without any edging:
JO: Hello! Hustle yourself and come and help me!
Moreover, it is important to notice that she utters three imperatives (hustle,
come, help) just after greeting him (in an informal way, just saying hello
without any terms of address), which shows a great deal of self-confidence and a
certain degree of familiarity with the addressee.
Lauries response to Jos request is a rejection, which is expressed rather directly
by the expression I cant but it is followed by an account, that is to say I have
the quincey:

~ 92 ~

LAURIE: I cant, I have the quincey.


Lauries next turn is quite interesting, since he makes a slight implicature. This
means that he does not dare to invite Jo explicitly (as he did not dare to do in the
1933 version), so he points out that he can have visitors, but he does not know
anyone (implying that Jo could come and see him), just to see how Jo reacts:
LAURIE: Oh, it isnt contagious! I I can have visitors. I dont
know anyone, though.
The syntax of the turn, which is very simple but fragmented, since there is no
coordination, just asyndeton, and the repetition of the pronoun I, shows that
Laurie is not very self-confident because he does not know how Jo will react.
Jos answer represents another implicature, because she does not explicitly
suggest that she will visit Laurie, but the proposal is implied in the fact that she
points out that he knows her (so he can have her visiting him):
JO: Well, you know me.
Then Laurie is sure that Jo is going to accept his request and dares to ask her
explicitly to come and see him (while in the preceding version he did not dare to
ask her explicitly):
LAURIE: Would you care to come over and keep me company?
Lauries request is very polite as he uses a question instead of a statement and he
chooses would as an auxiliary, which is more formal and polite than will.
Moreover, he does not ask her directly to go, but he inquires if she would like to
come, which is more polite and more thoughtful for the hearer.
Jo does not answer Lauries question, she just runs away calling her mother at the
top of her voice, but from her behaviour Laurie understands that she accepted his
invitation. Jos behaviour is not at all formal in this case, both because she does

~ 93 ~

not answer him and because she calls her mother very loudly from outside the
house.
It is interesting to compare the use of terms of address, used towards servants, in
the novel and in the 1949 version. Actually, as said above, in the novel, the use of
terms of address in the servants presence, is rather clumsy. On the contrary, in
this film version, Jo uses the most suitable term to refer to Laurie, as she calls him
Mr. Laurence, but afterwards she specifies that she means the young one,
which is quite funny, also because she says it with a very dignified manner:
JO: Miss March calling on Mr. Laurence the young one.
When they meet, Jo and Laurie are not at all embarrassed, and in fact, he greets he
using the proper term of address, i.e. title followed by surname, and he helps her
to take off her coat. Also Jo seems perfectly at ease, since she greets Laurie with
an informal greeting, hello, and without any term of address, which shows that
she is not concerned about formality.
Also the thanking strategies of both characters show that they are not very formal
and that they are at ease, as they use explicit strategies without any intensifiers or
formal terms of address, i.e. thank you.
Till now the conversation has been rather balanced, since both characters
contributed equally and this is quite predictable because it is only the introductory
part of the exchange, which consists of routine acts such as greeting and thanking.
On the contrary, as the scene goes on, it is Jo who leads the conversation, as she
immediately offers to entertain Laurie:
JO: Well, Ive come to entertain you, Ill read aloud and you can
listen. I do love to read aloud.
An offer does not only mean to commit oneself to a corresponding behaviour, but
it means also that the speaker is trying to direct the hearers behaviour. This
feature is evident in Jos turn, since she makes an explicit offer using the most

~ 94 ~

direct form I will and then adds what Laurie is supposed to do (you can
listen).
This turn completely reflects Jos temperament, because she is a very strongwilled person and she always says what she thinks. Therefore, the use of
imperative and the strengthening of the verb love by means of the modal do
show that she is very self-confident.
Moreover, the discourse marker, well, that Jo utters at the beginning of the turn
is consistent with her temperament, since, in this case, it does not convey
hesitation or uncertainty, but she uses to introduce a new topic (it is her who leads
the conversation in this case).
Laurie does not accept Jos offer, but he does it in an implicit way, expressing his
wish to do something else, which is a polite strategy. Moreover, he adds an edge
(if you dont ,mind) in order to mitigate the impact of his refusal :
LAURIE: Well, Id rather just talk, if you dont mind.
As a matter of fact, Laurie begins his turn with a discourse marker (well), and in
this case it is meant to take time to organize the turn, since Laurie does not want
to offend Jo refusing her offer, so he needs to find the right words.
These features demonstrate that, even though Laurie feels at ease with Jo, he does
not forget good manners and he behaves like a gentleman.
The scene is very similar to the one in the previous version, because of the setting,
but, in fact, it goes on in a different way and it gives a thoroughly different image
of the characters, who look less shy and embarrassed, not only in their overall
behaviour, but also in their utterances.
Jo and Laurie move to the sitting room, and Jos first turn is quite the same as the
one she utters in the 1933 version:

~ 95 ~

JO: Christopher Columbus! What richness! Why, this is a palace!


Oh, its marvellous! So roomy and so so full of things! Oh, and
look at the flowers, they are lovely, absolutely lovely. I call it a
splendour, I really do! Theodore Laurence, you ought to be the
happiest creature alive!
However, in this version, the turn is longer, but it expresses the same amazement
and, it begins with Jos typical interjection Christopher Columbus and goes on
with the same exclamations (what richness, Oh, this is marvellous). In this
case, Jo adds some extra exclamations showing her amazement, but what is
interesting is that she reinforces two of the expressions of admiration she utters.
This means that when she states that the flowers are lovely, she adds that they are
absolutely lovely, reinforcing her opinion by means of the repetition and the
adverb; then she defines Lauries sitting room a palace and she reinforces her
opinion adding an adverb and an auxiliary verb (I really do), but omitting the
lexical verb.
In this turn, there is an interesting use of a term of address, since Jo calls Laurie
Theodore Laurence, as she does in the novel (Theodore Laurence, you ought to
be the happiest boy in the world," she added impressively). It is an implicature,
but it is different from the implicature in the novel. This is due to the fact that in
the novel, the characters had already decided to use more informal terms of
address, while, in this film version, they are still using the formal terms. As a
consequence, the implicature, in this case is due to the fact that is unusual to call
someone with his name and surname at the same time, thus Jo wants to emphasise
the fact that Laurie is very lucky and to scold him because he does not seem to
appreciate it.
Lauries next turn is interesting because he changes the topic of the conversation,
showing that now it is him who leads the conversation. Thus, the contribution of
the two speakers is more balanced. He changes the topic offering Jo some tea:

~ 96 ~

LAURIE: Oh it just looks like a room to me and it certainly


doesnt make me happy. Lets have some tea, how many lumps?
It is a very informal offer, since he uses the imperative form lets have, instead
of the more informal structure would you like some tea, which is a question, so
it is less imposing than an imperative.
Also the question following the offer is rather informal (how many lumps?),
because there is an ellipsis (he omits [...] would you like, which is the formal
part of the question) which is commonly used in informal contexts. Moreover,
Laurie does not add please as he does in the preceding version (how many
please?), consequently it shows that the intimacy between the characters is
growing.
Jos next turn is consistent with Lauries informal tone, and, actually, it is more
informal that the same turn uttered in the 1933 version. In both turns, she asks him
about his life, but, in this case, before the actual question (but before then
what?), she uses the auxiliary do as a manner of emphasis ([...] do tell me all
about yourself [...]):
JO: One please, er... three. Well, Mr. Laurence, now, do tell me
all about yourself, of course I know everything about your school
and the army and everything, but before then what?
Moreover, Jo asks him a more personal question than in the 1933 version, where
she asked him a more general one ([...] And how do you like it here, after living
in Europe so long, Mr. Laurence?), consequently, she looks more unscrupulous
and straightforward.
The syntax of the turn is not vey linear, i.e. there is a parenthetical (of course I
know everything about your school and the army and.. everything) and there is a
clausal ellipsis [...] but before then what?, thus Jo does not mind to structure her
turn very much, since she is not concerned about formality. Actually, the

~ 97 ~

discourse marker, well is not meant to take time to organise her turn, but it
signals a change in the discourse topic.
On the contrary, Lauries well at the beginning of the next turn is uttered in
order to take time to organise his turn, because he has many things to say about
his life in Europe. But, as in the preceding film version, as soon as Jo ears the
word Europe, she interrupts him to tell him about his trip in Europe with her aunt:
LAURIE: Well, I used to live in Europe with my parents
JO: Europe! Im going to Europe, you know.
You know in this case is used as a device to emphasise the importance of the
subject and to establish common ground with the addressee about the topic.
Actually, Jo is very keen about her trip and wants to tell Laurie more about it, so
she captures his interest, since he asks her about the trip (Laurie: Really?
When?).
As in the previous version, Jo is very excited about this trip and her state of mind
influences the structure of her turn. As a matter of fact, this turn is very similar to
the one she utters in the 1933 version:
JO: well, I dont know exactly. You see, my aunt March, I just
started to work for her as companion, oh! and what a nervous,
fidgety soul she is too, well, anyway, my aunt March has
rheumatism and the doctor thought, baths!

Oh, not that she

hasnt got a bath, she has a very nice one. Did you get any bath,
while you were there Mr. Laurence? I mean, for your
rheumatism?
In the turn, there are the same discourse markers: you see, which is uttered in
order to give and explanation, and I mean, which is an explicit editing term.
Thus, the difference lays in the two parentheticals I just started to work for her as
a companion and and what a nervous, fidgety soul she is too. They show that

~ 98 ~

Jo is following the association of thoughts in her mind and consequently she feels
at ease and, in fact, she eats a biscuit while she speaks, which is not very polite
(even less polite than her behaviour in the 1933 version, where she puts a lot of
tartlets on her plate).
After the parentheticals, she utters two discourse markers, well and anyway,
which are both used to structure the turn, i.e. to signal that she comes back to the
original topic.
In fact, the term of address Mr. Laurence, at this point, sounds a little out of
place, since the intimacy between the characters seems to grow. Actually, Laurie
asks Jo to call him Laurie and not Mr. Laurence:
LAURIE: [...] but Im not Mr. Laurence, Im Laurie.
Jos answer in the same way as in the 1933 version, i.e. using the same discourse
marker, well twice. In this case yet, its meaning is different, since it does not
show that she is embarrassed by Lauries request, but on the contrary, she is very
pleased, as can be seen from the fact that she looks at Laurie and not to the ground
and she utters the turn without any hesitations. Moreover, she utters the new term
of address also at the end of the turn, after the question she asks Laurie, to
underline that she likes to call him so:
JO: Well, Laurie, well how are you getting on with your
grandfather, Laurie?
From this moment, the scene takes a completely different turn from the preceding
version. Jo and Laurie talk about Meg, but Laurie asks Jo some questions about
her sister and tells her that Mr. Brooke is interested in her. Obviously, Jo is very
disappointed. The fact that they treat this topic, which is rather delicate,
demonstrates that they feel at ease with each other, even if they do not agree:
LAURIE: She is? Brooke and I were wondering

~ 99 ~

JO: Why? I mean, why should he wonder?


Jo is quite upset by Lauries hint about him and Mr. Brook wondering about her
sister and actually, she interrupts Laurie to ask him explanations. Why in this
case is not only a question but also an interjection, expressing her surprise, as it
can be seen from the fact that she feels the need to utter the question in a more
explicit way (after an explicit editing term, I mean,), since she realised that, due
to her surprise, her question looked more like an interjection expressing surprise
than a real question.
Laurie realises that the topic is a difficult one to handle and he is a little surprised
by Jos reaction. The interjection why shows his surprise on the linguistic level.
Moreover, Laurie has to plan his turn carefully, in order not to get on Jos nerves,
this is why he hesitates when he explains what he and Mr. Brooke were
wondering about. As a matter of fact, he utters two discourse markers: well,
which functions as a device to take time to plan what to say, and that is, which
is an explicit editing term to introduce a clearer rephrasing of what she said
before, even thou it seems that Laurie uses it in order to take some more time to
think, since he repeats the same word where he stopped and then goes on:
LAURIE: Why, he seems quite taken with your sisters beauty and
he wonders if there was anybody well, that is, anybody she
liked.
Then Jo asks Laurie another question (did he ask you to find out?), showing that
now she is controlling the conversation, which, consequently, is not balanced
anymore. This means that the dynamics between the characters have changed and,
now, Jo is the powerful character while Laurie is the powerless one.
Lauries answer is consistent with his new role, because he repeats twice no,
and begins to justify his behaviour trying to minimize his responsibility by means
of just:

~ 100 ~

LAURIE: No, no. I just...


However, Jo interrupts him, showing that she is not interested in Lauries excuses,
thus exerting her power over him. Actually, she utters this turn, which is quite
long, as a reproach to Mr. Brookes behaviour and she tries to use a serious and
firm tone, but the structure of her turn shows that she is upset by the topic and
does not know exactly how to handle it. At the beginning of the turn, she seems
quite self confident, since she begins to talk without any hesitation (i.e. fillers or
discourse marker to take time to think), but then she realises that the concept she
wants to convey is not so clear and she corrects herself twice: the first time she
uses an explicit editing term, introducing an explication (that is) and the second
one a interjection (oh), which both demonstrate that she tries to be calm but, in
fact, she is quite upset:
JO: Will you tell him that we dont like anyone in our house, that
is we like a great many people, but we dont like young man, oh,
we like young men too, but we dont like young men who wonder
about who else we like. Meg is too young and far too clever to
wonder about who wonders about her. Its ridiculous, its all
ridiculous.
The difficult situation is solved by an event which is external to the conversation,
i.e. by Jos dressing catching fire, thus the characters are obliged to change the
topic of the conversation from Mr. Brookes interest in Meg to Jos dress:
LAURIE: Sorry, I didnt mean to hurt you.
JO: Oh, oh, thats the second dress Ive scorched this week. You
see, I like to toast myself and I get too close. I think Id better go
home.

~ 101 ~

Laurie apologises for hurting Jo trying to save her dress, and he does it in a direct
way, saying sorry, and then minimising his responsibility and justifying his
intentions (I didnt mean).
Jo does not explicitly acknowledge Lauries apology, but minimises his
responsibility blaming herself for what has happened and giving him an
explanation about her habit to toast herself (which is introduced by the
discourse marker you see).
Laurie does not want her to go (the vocative oh expresses his disappointment)
and tries to make her stay, not only by means of an imperative, which, however, is
diminished by a mitigating device repeated twice (please), but also holding her
harm in order to stop her:
LAURIE: Oh, please, please, dont go home, its as dull as tombs
in here.
Actually, Lauries behaviour in this version is far more informal and confidential
than in the preceding version where there is no physical contact between Jo and
Laurie.
Also the turn, where Laurie explains Jo why he stares at them from his window, is
different from the preceding version and this affects the portrayal of the character:
LAURIE: Oh, its rude of me, I know. But you always seem to
have a good time and when the lamps are lighted its like looking
at a picture to see all of you gathered there around the fire with
your mother.
Actually, in this version, Laurie is more self-confident and less shy, consequently,
he does not explicitly apologises and does not hesitates, he simply justifies his
behaviour, although he knows it was not correct. The different realisation of the
turn is also due to the different relationship between the characters, which is less
formal.

~ 102 ~

And actually, Jo asks Laurie a very direct and personal question, without adding
any edges or mitigating devices:
JO: Where is your mother?
When Jo gets to know that Lauries mother is dead, she is sincerely sorry, and
expresses her sorrow in a direct way, i.e. saying Im sorry and emphasising it by
means of the adverb truly. These features demonstrate that she likes to say what
she thinks in a straightforward manner:
JO: Im sorry, truly. [...]
It is interesting to notice the use pronouns, confronting the English version and the
Italian dubbing of Jos and Lauries meeting. Actually, in the Italian dubbing, the
characters keep using the formal pronoun voi after agreeing to use more
informal terms of address (i.e. Jo and Laurie). This detail rather odd, since the use
of informal terms of address is usually followed by the use of more informal
pronouns (i.e. tu).
On the contrary, in the 1933 version, when they agree to use the diminutive and
the shortened form, Jo and Laurie begin to use the informal pronoun tu instead
of voi, which is more natural and spontaneous.
The difference is remarkable since in the 1949 film the relationship between Jo
and Laurie seems more spontaneous and informal. As a consequence, the use of
the pronoun tu may have been more consistent with the kind of relationship the
characters established. On the contrary, in the 1933 film version, the pronoun
voi would have been less surprising, because the relationship between the
characters remains more formal, despite of the major degree of intimacy.
In the English language, this difference between formal and informal pronouns
does not exist, since there is only one pronoun, you. Consequently, in the Italian
dubbing, the choice of the pronoun to use (either tu or voi) is left to the

~ 103 ~

translators discretion, who should take into account the nature of the relationship
between the characters.

The rest of the scene, which consists of the dialogue between Jo and Mr.
Laurence, is remarkable since the power dynamics work in a different way
compared with the 1933 version, and this feature affects Jos characterisation.
As a matter of fact, Mr. Laurences turns are the same as in the 1933 version,
which means that the majority of them ends with a question tag and all of them
have a challenging function, even though, in this case, there are no invariant tags:
MR. LAURENCE: Oh! Thank you, maam. And you think my face
frightens people, do you?
Moreover, Mr. Laurences use of terms of address is the same as in the 1933
version, since he uses the term maam to address Jo and he does it for the same
purpose (i.e. not only to express his respect, but to impress Jo).
Therefore, the difference between the two scenes mainly lies in Jos turns.
Actually, Jos first turn is quite the same as in the 1933 version, however, there
are some slight differences, which are interesting:
JO: Oh bilge! He looks grim, all right. I can see how his face
might frighten a lot of people, but I cant imagine being afraid of
him, of course, every time Ive ever seen him, he has been barking
at something. Somehow, I I rather like him. (1949 version)
JO: Oh, that's that's a good picture of your grandfather. He
looks pretty grim, but I shouldn't be afraid of him. Though I can
see how his face might frighten some people. [...] His eyes are
kind and I like him, though he does bark at you so. (1933 version)

~ 104 ~

In the 1949 turn, Jo expresses the same concepts with the same words, but with
more power. This means that Jo says that Mr. Laurence looks grim, while in the
1933 version she adds an adverb, pretty, which functions as a mitigating device.
As a consequence, Mr. Laurence results more unkind than in the previous version
and Jo seems more straightforward and self-confident since she does not feel the
need to mitigate what she is saying. Besides, the fact that Jo keeps her hands in
her pockets while she speaks displays a major degree of self-confidence and
impertinence.
Moreover, in the 1933 version, Jo says that Mr. Laurences face might frighten
some people whereas, in the 1949 version, she uses the expression a lot of
people. Consequently, the message conveyed is a little different, since in the
second case, Mr. Laurence results more upsetting, due to the fact that he frightens
a almost everybody.
Besides, in the 1933 version, Jo affirms that Mr. Laurence barks at Laurie, while,
in the 1949 version, she says that he has been barking at something every time
she saw him, emphasising the fact that he does not only bark at Laurie. This
means that Mr. Laurence looks like an irritable person to Jo and he does not
hesitate to express his irritation, while, in the previous version, it seems that he is
unkind only towards Laurie.
Also Jos attitude towards Mr. Laurence is different, because, in the 1949 version,
she does not use the modal verb shouldnt before being afraid of him, which
is meant to make an assumption. On the contrary, Jo uses the expression I cant
imagine, which shows a major degree of self-confidence, since it does not make
an assumption but it states a belief. As a result, Jo seems far surer that she would
not be afraid of Mr. Laurence.
It is also interesting to notice that, in both versions, Jo states that she likes Mr.
Laurence, but, in the 1949 version, she uses a mitigating device, which is rather,
while in the previous version she simply says I like him. This detail contributes

~ 105 ~

to Jos characterisation as a strong young woman, because, in the 1949 version,


she gives the impression to be prouder and more tomboyish, due to the more
straightforward portrait she makes of Mr. Laurence, and the fact that she admits
she likes him, but with due reservation (since she says rather).
As the dialogue between Jo and Mr. Laurence goes on, the impression we get of
Jo being very strong willed is confirmed, since she reacts to Mr. Laurences
challenging tags in a rather self-confident and quite impertinent way. This means
that she does not try to mitigate what she said previously, as she does in the 1933
version.
As a matter of fact, in the first turn she utters, speaking to Mr. Laurence, Jo not
only states that she thinks Mr. Laurences face is frightening, but she also adds a
stance adverbial, frankly, to emphasize her position:
JO: Yes, sir, frankly I do. You understand, I dont think you mean
to frighten them, but your face well, you asked me, sir, and
yes, I do think so.
However, she also adds an explanation, which is introduced by the expression
you understand, which works as an hedge. This explanation demonstrates that,
even if Jo is very strong-willed, she is also a little afraid of Mr. Laurence, because
she hesitates uttering a discourse marker, well, before confirming what she said,
in order to take time to think. Then she realises that she does not really want to
explain herself and confirms what she said previously and emphasises the fact that
she really thinks what she said by means of the addition of the auxiliary verb to
the lexical verb (I do think so).
As in the preceding version, Jo uses the term of address sir to talk to Mr.
Laurence rather frequently, in this case twice within two turns. However, the
purpose of the term is different. This means that, in the 1933 version, Jo tends to
use the term sir because she is very impressed by Mr. Laurences haughty
attitude and because she knows that her former behaviour was a little

~ 106 ~

disrespectful, so she wants to show Mr. Laurence her respect. On the contrary, in
the 1949 version, the use of sir is not due to the fact that Jo is ashamed of her
former behaviour (since she is not), but it is only due to the conventions, since Jo
is a young lady who speaks with an old man and has to show him respect (which
is sincerely felt).
In her next turn, Jo is still more self confident, and tries neither to deny nor to
mitigate what she previously said:
JO: Ive heard you bark, yes, sir, perhaps you dont bark all the
time, but you bark, yes, sir.
As a matter of fact, Jo neither hesitates nor utters any discourse marker, which
shows that she is very self confident and straightforward and not very afraid of
Mr. Laurence.
When Jo states that she likes Mr. Laurence, answering his question, she uses a
repetition to emphasise what she is saying, as she does in the 1933 version (Oh,
yes, sir. I do. I do. I do.), but, in this case, it is a different repetition, i.e. she does
not repeat the lexical verb, but the auxiliary verb adding the adverb really:
JO: Yes I do, I really do, in spite of everything.
The body language is important this scene, because it underlines the mutual
feelings of the characters, which means that they like each other and they
demonstrate it shaking hands. In fact, they did the same in the 1933 version, but in
this case, it is a rather masculine handshake, while, in the 1949 version, it is Mr.
Laurence who presses Jos hand in a grandfatherly manner.
Another interesting detail is that Jo winks at Laurie while she goes away with Mr.
Laurence showing a great deal of intimacy and a not very ladylike behaviour, but
in the 1994 version, Jos behaviour is still more unladylike, even if she does not
really look like a tomboy, but she is rather more childish.

~ 107 ~

The 1994 version of Jo and Lauries first meeting is very different from the
preceding versions. As a matter of fact, the meeting is not divided in two different
scenes, as it happens in the 1933 and in the 1949 versions. On the contrary, in this
version, the meeting takes place at the Gardiners house during a ball.
The differences are due not only to the setting of the meeting, but also to the
different behaviour of the characters, who are more spontaneous and far less
formal than in the preceding versions. This is partly because this version was shot
in the nineties, so it has to suit not only the audiences taste, but it has also to be
adapted to the audiences idea of interpersonal relationships. As in the nineties the
relationship between men and women were far more informal than in the thirties
and in the forties (not to mention in the nineteenth century), in the 1994 version,
Jos and Lauries relationship results very spontaneous and relaxed.
The room where the meeting takes place is meaningful, since it is a study where
Laurie is hiding where Jo enters in order to avoid a young man who wants to
invite her to dance. This detail is important for the description of the characters,
because it shows that they are both very shy and a little childish.
As said above, their meeting is accidental, actually, Jo bumps into Laurie (who is
spying on the dancers) walking backwards and not paying attention to where she
is going. Her prompt reaction, when she realises that there is someone else in the
room is of surprise and embarrassment:
JO: Gosh. Im sorry.
What is interesting in this turn is the exclamation gosh, which is meant to
express surprise, because in this version, Jo does not use the expression
Christopher Columbus, that is a distinctive trait of her idiolect in the preceding
versions and in the novel. This is due to the fact that nowadays the expression
Christopher Columbus would sound odd and it will affect negatively Jos
characterisation, making her look like a bit too strange and old-fashioned. As a

~ 108 ~

consequence, the scriptwriter chose a more modern and colloquial expression to


give vent to Jos surprise.
Just after expressing her surprise, Jo apologises to Laurie by using a direct
strategy to express her regret, Im sorry. She chooses this strategy since it is the
most direct and also because she is very embarrassed by the situation and she
wants to go away, so she needs to apologize quickly.
On the contrary, Laurie wants her to stay and tries to stop her not only by means
of an imperative (stay), but also touching briefly her shoulder. This gesture is
significant compared with the gesture Laurie makes in the 1949 version, where he
touches her harm in order to stop her. This shows that Laurie is more clumsy and
not fully aware of the social convention, due to his young age:
LAURIE: No, stay. Its not bad hiding place. You see, I dont
know anyone, I feel awkward just standing and staring at people.
Should I put on my jacket? I don't know the rules. Ehm, Im
Laurie Theodore Laurence . . . ehm, called Laurie.
The rest of the turn shows that Laurie is very embarrassed by the situation, and
actually he tries to explain why he is hiding. His embarrassment and clumsiness
are shown both by the discourse marker you see, which emphasises his need to
account for his behaviour, and by the syntax of his turn, which is characterized by
asyndeton and coordination, so he does not structure his turn very carefully
because he is not at ease.
After giving her account of his behaviour, Laurie remembers that he should take
social convention into account, but he is still very gauche, since he does not know
exactly how to behave (and actually he asks Jo whether he should wear his jacket
and admits that he does not know the rules).
Then Laurie introduces himself, but in a rather clumsy and embarrassed way,
firstly with a diminutive, then he corrects himself and specifies his full name

~ 109 ~

explaining that Laurie is his diminutive. His uneasiness is shown both by


linguistic features, i.e. fillers (ehm) and hesitations and by his body language.
As a matter of fact, Laurie does not look at Jo directly and plays with the cup of
ice-cream he is holding.
Another element showing that Laurie is not fully aware of social conventions is
that he holds his hand out to shake hands with Jo, which is not appropriate with a
young lady.
What is also interesting to notice is that Jo instinctively holds her hand out to
shake Lauries hand, but she remembers that Meg recommended her not to do so
(Meg: [...] and don't shake hands with people, it isnt the thing anymore [...]), so
she withdraws it frowning.
Jo introduces herself in an informal and simple but not completely correct way,
telling him the shortened form of her name and her surname (as she does in the
1949 version). This detail shows that she is embarrassed, but that she is most of
all very straightforward:
JO: Jo March. So, who were you staring at?
It is Jo who breaks the ice changing the subject (actually, she utters the discourse
marker so, which is meant to signal a topic change), or rather beginning the
conversation, because till now they have just introduced themselves.
This quick topic change is rather informal, but the topic of the conversation is still
more informal, since Jo does not ask Laurie a routine question, such as whether he
likes living in America, as she does both in 1933 and in 1949 version. On the
contrary, she asks him who he was staring at, showing a certain degree of
familiarity and a certain mutual understanding, since they both know that staring
at people is not polite, but they still like it.
Laurie admits that he was staring at her, but notwithstanding, he seems quite at
ease and actually he looks directly at Jo without hesitating:

~ 110 ~

LAURIE: At you, actually. What game were you playing at?


Moreover, Laurie demonstrates that he is collaborating asking her what game she
was playing, thus implying that she was doing something impolite like him (such
as lifting old ladies gowns).
At this point, the characters are completely at ease and they have succeeded in
creating a certain complicity, since they begin to stare at the people, who are
dancing, together. As a matter of fact, Jo feels free to ask Jo personal questions in
a very direct way:
JO: [...] Is it true that you lived in Italy among artists and
vagrants?
This turn also demonstrates that it is Jo who leads the conversation as she is the
one who chooses the topics. Furthermore, it shows that the nature of the
conversation is quite informal, since Jo changes the topic rather abruptly.
It is also interesting to look at Jos body language which reveals that she is at
ease, since she sits on the desk while she speaks (which, in addition, is not very
much lady-like).
Laurie does not seem to be upset either by Jos personal and a little inappropriate
questions or by her behaviour. Actually, he laughs demonstrating that he is
amused by her odd questions, but also that he is shyer than her, so he is still a bit
embarrassed (above all because she is asking him to speak about personal issues):
LAURIE: (laughs) Well, my mother was Italian and a pianist...
Grandfather disapproved of her.
Laurie begins this turn with a discourse marker and hesitates since he feels the
need to find the right words to talk about a difficult topic, such as his mother and
the fact that his grandfather did not like her.

~ 111 ~

Jo seems not to understand the seriousness of the topic, proving to be somewhat


childish. As a matter of fact, she follows the associations of ideas in her mind and
changes the topic of the conversation once again by means of a question, so she
associates Lauries words about his mother to the theatre:
JO: Truly? I saw a play like that, once. Do you like the theatre?
The fact that it is Jo who asks questions and Laurie who answers has nothing to do
with power dynamics. In fact, the roles are balanced, since the characters
establishes a friendly relationship. So, the fact that Jo is the one who asks question
is due to her outgoing and curious temper, while Laurie is more bashful. As a
consequence, Jo takes advantage of the situation to get to know as much as
possible about Laurie (actually, Jo and her sisters made a lot of hypotheses about
Laurie before first meeting him).
In her next turn, Jo makes flaunts a maxim, since she asks Laurie if he is born
there, but this deictic is not very clear, so it is necessary to exploit an
implicature:
JO: Were you born there?
This implicature does not disappoint Laurie, who laughs slightly emphasising Jos
implicature:
LAURIE: Where? (laughs) In Italy.
Jo seems not to notice that she clumsily implied that Laurie could be born in a
theatre and goes on asking him questions:
JO: Do you speak French or Italian?
Lauries answer is interesting since, till now, he just answered Jos questions
without adding any extra information, while now, not only he tells her which
languages he speaks, but also which school he attended. This time, it is Laurie
who changes the topic of the conversation, from the languages he speaks to

~ 112 ~

school, demonstrating that he is not happy being taught at home and not so keen
on going to college:
LAURIE: English at home, Franais l'cole, the... Music
Conservatory in Vivay, but Grandfather have me tutoring now.
He... he insists I go to college.
Also the structure of the turn shows that this topic is important for Laurie, since he
makes an ellipsis, omitting the subject and the lexical verb (I speak) in order to
underline the languages he speaks and particularly where he speaks them (that is
to say at home and at school). Moreover, he hesitates before uttering the name of
the school, showing that he liked this school very much and now he longs for it.
He hesitates again when he says that his grandfather insists that he goes to
college, thus appearing not so eager to go.
Jo does not understand Lauries sense of uneasiness, in fact, she is too
concentrated on her dream to become a writer, and, consequently, in the dramatic
side of life. The only detail which attracts her attention is the idea of college,
while in the preceding version it was Europe which attracted her attention (this
difference is due to the different period of realisation of the films, since in the
nineties, it was normal for a woman to go to college, while in the thirties and in
the forties it was not expected, so the scriptwriter did not emphasize this detail):
JO: I'd commit murder to go to college! Actually, I'm going to
Europe. Well, at least, I hope I am. My great-aunt March says
she'll go one of these days and she has to take me with her
because I work as her companion. I have to read to her for hours
and hours. But I do all the voices.
Jo is still following the train of thoughts in her mind and begins to speak of
Europe, as she does in the preceding versions. However, the way Jo speaks about
Europe is different. Actually, she is less enthusiastic about this topic and, as a

~ 113 ~

consequence, the turn is more well structured, since it is not influenced by Jos
excitement.
As a matter of fact, Jo utters only two discourse markers, while in the preceding
version she uses many to help herself structuring her turn. In this case, the first
discourse marker, actually, simply signals a topic change (from college to
Europe), while the second one, well, functions as an editing term, since Jo feels
the need to explain what she said about going to Europe. Consequently, her turn
does not result so confused as in the preceding versions.
Laurie seems to like to hear Jo talking and, actually, in this part of the
conversation, he limits his contribution to short remarks to acknowledge what Jo
is saying, but at the same time it is evident that he does not want to take the turn
(as a matter of fact, they work as a sort of backchannels):
LAURIE: I bet you do.
JO: If I were not going to be a writer, I'd go to New York and
pursue the stage. Are you shocked?
LAURIE: Very.
In this scene, the body language and the prossemic features are very important,
since the characters are not so still as in the preceding version. That is to say that
they move around the room while they talk and they sit on the desk next to each
other showing a certain degree of intimacy. Moreover, while in the former
versions, they had tea and tartlets, in the 1994 version, they eat an ice-cream.
Actually, Laurie offers Jo his ice-cream, without saying anything, just handling it
to her, so they eat the same ice-cream with the same spoon, demonstrating not
only intimacy, but also lack of concern for formality and social rules. On the
contrary, in the previous versions, notwithstanding the fact that the characters are
alone (as in the 1994 version), they still observe certain social rules.

~ 114 ~

The three versions share the scene where Jo and Laurie dance together away from
the rest of the guests and the first two are almost the same. On the contrary, in the
1994 version, Jo and Laurie, while they dance, demonstrate that they are still
childish, since they play rather than dancing because they like it (as they did in the
preceding versions).
It is interesting to notice that in this version the characters do not use any term of
address to speak to each other. The only terms of address used are uttered when
they introduce each other and to refer to Mr. Laurence. As consequence, the part
where they agree to use more informal terms to address each other is omitted, thus
the impression of a major intimacy between the characters is conveyed by other
linguistic and proxemic features, and by their body language.
In the Italian dubbing, there is another feature to consider, which is the use of
personal pronouns. As a matter of fact, in the Italian dubbing the characters keep
using the formal pronoun voi during all the scene:
Jo: Parlate francese o italiano?
This detail contrasts with the degree of intimacy shown by the characters, as it
does, even if to a minor extent, since the intimacy is minor, as in the 1949 version.

3.3.3. An analysis of the conversation between Meg and Mr. Brooke


It is interesting to compare the relationship between Meg and Mr. Brooke because
it is very different from the relationship between Jo and Laurie and it also
different in the various film versions.
The difference is due to the different characters tempers, that is that Jo and
Laurie and more childish and less formal, whereas Meg and Mr. Brooke are more
mature and more concerned about formality. Besides, the fact that Mr. Brooke is
older than Meg influences their relationship.

~ 115 ~

In the 1933 and in the 1949 version there are two scenes where Meg and Mr.
Brooke talk to each other: when they come home after paying visits together and
when Mr. Brooke asks Meg to marry him. On the contrary, in the 1994 version,
there is only one scene of this type, and it is a little different.
In the 1933 and in the 1949 film versions, these two scenes are quite the same, so
it is interesting to analyse them contrastively. As a matter of fact, most of the
turns are the same, thus I will concentrate on the slight differences, on the body
language and proxemic features, and on the use of terms of address.
In the first scene (which does not exist in the novel), Meg and Mr. Brooke are
chatting in the Marchs front yard, while Jo and Laurie arrive. At first sight, this
scene seems the same in both in the 1933 and 1949 version, since the setting is
the same and the characters utter almost the same words. In fact, there are some
slight differences, mostly linguistic in this case and concerning the use of terms of
address.
Actually Mr. Brookes first turn is very similar in the two versions, but the
differences, although minor, influences the impression we get of the characters
relationship:
MR. BROOKE: It's been a most enjoyable afternoon, Miss
Margaret. (1933 version)
MR. BROOKE: Hello, Miss Jo. Thank you for the afternoon, Meg.
(1949 version)
First of all, the use of terms of address is different, as in the 1933 version Mr.
Brooke calls Meg Miss Margaret, which is a form of address composed by the
title and the first name. At the same time, though, this terms shows that the
characters have known each other for a while, since Mr. Brooke uses her first
name after the title instead of the surname, which would have been more formal.

~ 116 ~

On the contrary, in the 1949 version Mr. Brooke utters a far more informal term
of address, which is Meg, i.e. the familiar form. This term emphasises the major
degree of intimacy between Meg and Mr. Brooke.
Moreover, the expression used by Mr. Brooke as a token of his appreciation for
the time spent with Meg is different. Actually, in the 1933 version he uses a more
impersonal and detached expression, which is it has been a most enjoyable
afternoon, thus he does not commit himself too much.
On the contrary, in the 1949 version, Mr. Brooke explicitly thanks Meg (using the
perfomative verb to thank) for the time spent together. As a consequence, the
expression sounds more personal and sincere, and not as a polite but inexpressive
remark, as in the preceding version.
Megs answer is really the same in both versions, the only difference lying in the
term of address she utters. As a matter of fact, she calls Mr. Brooke by his first
name, which is not only consistent with the fact that he calls her Meg, but also
shows a great deal of familiarity on Megs side:
MEG: Thank you. Paying visits has never been quite so much fun
before. (1933 version)
MEG: Thank you, John. Paying visits has never been quite so
much fun before. (1949 version)
Then Mr. Brooke expresses the wish to spend the afternoon with Meg again, and
in this case, the difference lies in the modal verb he uses:
MR. BROOKE: I hope we may do it again, very soon. (1933 version)
MR. BROOKE: I hope we can do it again soon. (1949 version)
As a matter of fact, Mr. Brooke, in the 1933 version uses the modal verb may
which conveys the idea of uncertainty, so he seems not as self confident as in the
1949 version, where he utters the verb can which conveys a higher degree of

~ 117 ~

possibility. As a consequence, Mr. Brookes characterization results a bit


modified and the relationship between the characters seems closer in the 1949
than in the 1933 version.
The greetings are not very interesting per se, but because of the use of terms of
address, which is consistent with the preceding use, since in the 1933 version the
characters utter more formal terms, while in the 1949 version they use more
informal terms:
MEG: Good afternoon, Mr. Brooke.
MR. BROOKE: Good-bye, Miss Margaret. (1933 version)
MEG: Goodbye, John.
MR. BROOKE: Goodbye, Meg. (1949 version)
It is worth noticing that, in the 1933 version, the use of terms of address between
Meg and Mr. Brooke is not balanced, because, although they both use a title to
address each other, Mr. Brooke uses her first name, while Meg uses his surname.
The impression that the relationship between Meg and Mr. Brooke seems less
formal in the 1949 version, notwithstanding the great similarity of the scenes in
the different film versions, is confirmed in the scene where Mr. Brooke proposes
to Meg.
This scene is present in the 1933 and 1949 version and also in the novel. As in the
preceding scene, the setting (the Marchs foyer) and most of the turns uttered are
alike, so the differences we perceive are mainly due to the linguistic features of
the conversation and, to a certain extent, to the characters body language .
In the 1933 version, Megs embarrassment is evident since her first turn, as she
utters an interjection, why, showing surprise, followed by the term of address,
Mr. Brooke, but we know that Meg already knows that it is Mr. Brooke at the
door:

~ 118 ~

MEG: Why, Mr. Brooke.


As a consequence, Meg is probably pretending to be surprised to hide her
uneasiness and the fact that she was waiting for him.
In the 1949 version, it is Mr. Brooke who utters the first turn, so we do not get any
impression of Megs first reaction (also because we can only see her from
behind):
MR. BROOKE: Good afternoon, I came to get my umbrella, that
is, I came to see how your father finds himself today.
This turn is very similar to the one Mr. Brooke utters in the 1933 version:
MR. BROOKE: I I came to get my umbrella. .. er... that is ...
that is, to see how your father finds himself today.
In this version, Mr. Brooke is evidently embarrassed, since he hesitates a lot
making false start (I I), uttering a filler (eh) and repeating twice the editing
term, that is.
On the contrary, in the 1949 version, Mr. Brooke seems more at ease, because he
does not hesitate, and utters the editing term ,that is, only once.
In both versions, Mr. Brooke intends to propose to Meg and finds a pretext to see
her (that is to say, getting his umbrella), thus, it is easy to imagine that he should
be embarrassed. However, in the 1949 version, he is more at ease because, as we
have seen in the preceding scene, his relationship with Meg is more friendly, so he
is less worried about her reaction to his proposal.
The fact that the characters relationship is more informal in the 1949 version is
confirmed by the way in which Meg invites Mr. Brooke to come in:
MEG: Won't you come in? (1933 version)

~ 119 ~

MEG: Well, come in. He is in the racket, Ill get him and tell it
that you are here. (1949 version)
In the 1933 version, Meg uses a more formal formula to invite Mr. Brooke, in
fact, she utters a question in the negative form using the modal verb will. On the
contrary, in the 1949 version, she just utters an imperative, which shows a greater
deal of intimacy.
Moreover, on the one hand, in the 1949 version, in Megs turn, there are no
hesitations, even if she mixes up the pronouns (i.e. she uses him to refer the
umbrella and it to refer to her father) showing that she is somewhat
embarrassed.
On the other, in the 1933 version, the same turn is not so well structured, which
means that there are many hesitations and the same explicit editing term (I
mean) is repeated twice, because Meg realises that she mixed up the pronouns:
MEG: Why he's here in the rack. I mean, it's very well. I
mean I'll tell him you're here.
Besides, Meg utters again the same interjection (why) that she uttered in her
first turn. However, in this case, it is not meant to show surprise, but it is more
likely to be a filler uttered in order to take time before speaking, because it would
be strange if Meg was surprised of Mr. Brooke inquiring about her fathers health.
So, this interjection is consistent with the impression we get of Meg being far
more embarrassed than in the 1949 version.
In Mr. Brookes next turn, it is not only the linguistic features which show the
degree of intimacy between him and Meg and which influence Megs
characterization. In fact, the choice of the adjective referring to Megs mood is
interesting:
MR. BROOKE: Oh, please. Are you afraid of me, Margaret?
(1933 version)

~ 120 ~

MR. BROOKE: Whats the matter, Meg? Are you angry with me?
(1949 version)
As a matter of fact, in the 1933 version, Mr. Brooke asks Meg whether she is
afraid of him, demonstrating that their relationship is not so close. The fact that
Mr. Brooke thinks that Meg is afraid of him shows that they had not had many
occasions to be in each others company, otherwise, it would be impossible to
explain why Meg should be afraid of Mr. Brooke.
In addition, this adjective contributes to Megs portrait as a shy and vulnerable
girl, who is not accustomed to deal with young men (actually, she tries to
withdraw from Mr. Brooke, while, in the 1949 version, she does not move).
On the contrary, in the 1949 version, the intimacy between the characters is
betrayed by the choice of the adjective angry, which implies that Meg and Mr.
Brooke are used to see each other, otherwise, it would not be possible for Meg to
be angry with him.
Moreover, Mr. Brooke calls Meg by her diminutive, as we have seen in the
preceding scene, demonstrating that their relationship has evolved during time and
has become more intimate.
The use of terms of address is more interesting in the 1933 version of this turn, as
Mr. Brooke calls Meg by her firs name, Margaret. This detail is interesting if
compared with the former term of address that Mr. Brooke used, which is more
formal, consisting of title and name (Miss Margaret). As a consequence, it
seems that Mr. Brooke is becoming more self-confident.
In fact, Mr. Brooke uses more and more informal terms of address as the
conversation goes on, i.e. he calls her Meg and dear in the same turn, when he
declares his love to her:
MR. BROOKE: I only want to know if you care for me a little,
Meg. I love you so much, dear.

~ 121 ~

It is possible to notice a sort of crescendo, since as Mr. Brooke becomes more


self-confident and declares his feelings more openly, he uses more informal terms
of address and, in this turn, there is also the use of multiple naming, which shows
a great degree of intimacy.
However, the climax is reached after aunt March goes away, when Mr. Brooke is
completely sure of Megs feelings towards him (because Meg tells her aunt that
she loves Mr. Brooke) and calls her my darling, which demonstrates not only a
great deal of intimacy but it also shows Mr. Brookes feelings for Meg:
MR. BROOKE: My darling! Did you mean it?
Megs use of terms of address is simpler, because she uses only two forms to
address Mr. Brooke. She calls him Mr. Brooke in her first turn, maintaining a
certain formality and indifference. On the contrary, after Mr. Brooke has declared
his feelings, she starts calling him with his first name:
MEG: Oh, thank you, John. But .... I agree with Mother. It's It's
too soon.
The use of such an informal term of address betrays the fact that Meg is pleased
by Mr. Brookes words and that she feels closer to him, even if she is denies it.
In fact, Meg is not so convincing in rejecting Mr. Brookes proposal, since she
hesitates and falters and fails to pronounce, as she planned with Jo, the speech she
prepared (I shall merely say, quite calmly and decidedly, "I'm sorry, but I agree
with Mother that it's too soon.").
Moreover, Megs body language is contradictory (like her words), because she
pretends not to want to hear what Mr. Brooke wants to tell her (Mr. Brooke: You
can. Shall I tell you how? Meg: Oh, no. Oh, please don't), but, instead of leaving,
she sits on a chair next to him. In fact, Meg is willing to hear Mr. Brookes
proposal, but she wants to hide her embarrassment, so she sits down and turns her
back to her suitor.

~ 122 ~

In the 1949 version, Meg attitude is different, since she does not withdraw from
Mr. Brooke, on the contrary, she stands in front of him looking straight into his
eyes. Megs attitude is also due to the fact that Mr. Brooke holds her hand to
prevent her from going away. Actually, Mr. Brookes behaviour is more resolute,
as it is also evident from his utterance:
MR. BROOKE: Meg, please, listen to me. I love you so, and if you
dont love me now, maybe you can learn to.
As a matter of fact, Mr. Brooke uses a vocative at the beginning of the turn, in
order to underline the importance of what he is going to say and an imperative,
which, however, is moderated by the mitigating device please.
Megs reaction is rather abrupt, as she shakes he hand to free it from Mr. Brookes
and does not even attempt to utter the speech she had prepared:
MEG: I dont choose to learn, please let me be.
Her refusal is very sharp, since she does not use any mitigating device. Actually,
please is not used as a proper mitigating device, instead, it is more likely to be
an appeal to Mr. Brooke to let her alone, since she is very upset and does not
know how to deal with this situation.
Megs different way of refusing Mr. Brookes proposal influences his behaviour.
Actually, in 1933 version, where Megs answer is not so firm, Mr. Brooke tries to
convince her to accept him, and his turn is longer and ends with an appeal to Meg
to have reinforced by please:
MR. BROOKE: I'll wait. I don't mind how long or how hard I
have to work, if I can only know I'm to have my reward in the end.
Please. Give me a little hope.
On the contrary, in the 1949 version, Meg does not leave Mr. Brooke any hope, so
he only asks her a couple of questions to be sure that she is resolute:

~ 123 ~

MR. BROOKE: do you really mean that?


MR. BROOKE: Wont you even think about it?
What is remarkable is Mr. Brookes reaction after Megs last turn, when she asks
him to go away in a very direct way. Even If she uses a please to mitigate the
imperative, in the first half of her turn, in the second she uses a reinforcing device
(just) before the same imperative, showing that she is more and more ill at ease:
MEG: Please go away, just go away.
Notwithstanding, Mr. Brooke does not go away, instead he hugs Meg. His attitude
is quite strange, since he should be upset or disappointed by Megs refusal. The
friendly relationship between the characters may explain his reaction, and also the
fact that Mr. Brooke feels free to hug Meg. Actually, the physical contact between
the characters demonstrates that they are quite intimate, so we can suppose that
they know each other quite well. As a consequence, Mr. Brooke understands that
Meg is upset by his proposal and does not mean to act roughly, so he tries to calm
her down.
In the two versions, the dynamics of power works in a different way. More
specifically, in the 1933 version, Mr. Brooke is the powerful characters, while in
the 1949 version, he is the powerless. The difference is due to two different
aspects, which are mutually related: the characters relationship and their temper.
The fact that, in the 1949 version, Megs and Mr. Brookes relationship is more
friendly does not imply that she is more inclined to accept Mr. Brookes proposal
and, in fact, she refuses vigorously. Her reaction is due to her temper, since Meg
seems more strong willed and self-confident that in the 1933 version.
In the preceding version, the relationship between the characters is more formal,
yet, Meg seems more ready to accept Mr. Brookes proposal. In this version, Meg
is shyer and less resolute, so, despite the formal relationship she has with Mr.
Brooke, she is not able to refuse him definitively.

~ 124 ~

In the 1994 version, this scene is a little different, because it takes place when Jo,
Meg Laurie and Mr. Brooke come back from the theatre, and not when Meg and
Mr. Brooke have finished their visits and Jo and Laurie come back from the city,
where she sold one of her stories.
The difference is to be taken into account, since it affects the characters
behaviour and shows Megs and Mr. Brookes relationship in a different
perspective. The difference is due to the fact that every film adaptation of a novel
has to suit the audiences taste and idea of personal relationship, so the
scriptwriter decides to substitute the visits with the theatre, as, for the nineties
audience, a young couple going to the theatre would be more convincing than one
going visiting.
Thanks to the presence of Jo and Laurie during all the scene, it is possible to
compare the couples different attitude, which influences the linguistic features of
the conversation.
Actually, both couples talk about the theatre, but in a different way. This means
that Jo and Laurie talk of the play they have just seen in a playful manner,
mimicking the actors (Jo almost falls down, because she is imitating one of the
actresses):
JO: Mrs. Nelson, wasnt she a wonderful swooner? If only I were
the swooning type.
LAURIE: and if I were the catching type.
On the contrary, Meg and Mr. Brooke talk about theatre in a more general way,
because they are still getting to know each other and trying to find out whether
they have something in common:

~ 125 ~

MR. BROOKE: Young Laurence says you are an aficionado of the


theatre, miss March.
MEG: Well, I enjoy reading plays.
MR. BROOKE: Yes, I I find it most pleasurable myself, though I
confess I am distracted at the theatre, thinking of the peculiar
lives of the actresses themselves. When one considers the
immodesties Mrs. Neil Watson suffers, one wonders what sort of
lady wants such a life.
Comparing the two couples behaviour, it is evident that Jo and Laurie have been
seeing each other for a longer time than Meg and Mr. Brooke, since they are more
spontaneous and their turns are more balanced. Also their body language shows a
great deal of intimacy, because they do not walk side by side as Meg and Mr.
Brooke do, and Laurie does not offer his arm to Jo, as a young man is supposed to
do, they rather act like two children having fun. On the contrary, Meg and Mr.
Brooke are far more controlled, demonstrating both that they are less close and
that they are more mature.
Conversely, Mr. Brookes turns are longer than Megs. This feature is remarkable
since it shows two characteristics of Mr. Brookes temper and of his relationship
with Meg.
Actually, from these turns, we infer that Mr. Brooke prefers more elaborated
expressions, such as you are an aficionado of the theatre rather than you like
the theatre and I find it most pleasurable instead of the simpler expression,
used by Meg, I enjoy reading plays. Moreover, he chooses an impersonal
construction, which is more sophisticated.

~ 126 ~

It is clear that Mr. Brookes linguistic choices reflect the fact that he is trying to
make a favourable impression on Meg, but they are also consistent with Mr.
Brookes idiolect5, as he usually prefers more elaborated expressions and shows a
great degree of formality (i.e. when he answers Lauries question about womens
lives, Over the mysteries of female life is drawn a veil best left undisturbed, or
when he talks to Mrs. March Your young ladies are unusually active, Mrs.
March, if I may say so.).
In these turns it is also worth to notice the use of terms of address, which is scarce
compared with the preceding versions, as there are only three occurrences of
terms of address, in the whole scene.
In his first turn, Mr. Brooke calls Meg Miss March, and this is the only case
where she receives the form composed of title and surname, which is, in fact, the
right one, since Meg is the eldest sister, so she is to be called Miss March, while
her sisters should get the title miss followed by their first name (i.e. Miss
Amy). Besides, this term of address displays more formality on Mr. Brookes
part, which is consistent with his characterisation.
In his next turn, Mr. Brooke uses the expression young Laurence to refer to
Laurie. This term is meaningful since it reveals a lot about Lauries and Mr.
Brookes relationship. It underlines the fact that Mr. Brooke is Lauries tutor, and
as long as tutors were considered like servants, he owns Laurie respect, so he uses
the surname instead of the name (as he does in the 1933 version, Mr. Brooke:
Coming, Laurie?). In spite of this, Mr. Brooke wants to emphasize his
superiority, both in age and in education (in order to make a good impression on
Meg), so he adds the adjective young to the surname. However, this adjective

The term idiolect refers to the linguistic thumbprint of a particular person, that is to say, to the
features of speech that mark him off as an individual from those around him (Leech and Short,
167).

~ 127 ~

also shows that Mr. Brooke cares for his pupil, since it is uttered in an indulgent
tone (as if being young justifies his unruly temper).
On the other hand, Megs turn is quite short, but this feature is significant because
it contributes to the characters portrait. As a matter of fact, we infer that Meg is
very shy and not accustomed to be in a mans company, so she is not very
talkative.
In addition, she begins her turn with a discourse marker, well, which shows
that she needs to take some time to organise her speech, not only because she is
shy, but also because she cannot really say that she likes the theatre, as she is not
used to going there. In fact, when Laurie told Mr. Brooke that Meg liked the
theatre, he was referring to the plays the March sisters put on at home and,
consequently, Meg feels a little embarrassed, because, even if she likes it, she is
afraid that Mr. Brooke might consider it childish.
Unfortunately, Jo is quite childish and interrupts Mr. Brooke just to tell him that
they put on some plays at home:
JO: Meg is a sensational actress. We always put on wild
theatricals.
Jos behaviour is very embarrassing for her sister, and it is aggravated by some
linguistic feature, i.e. the choice of the adjective to describe both Meg as an
actress, whom she defines sensational and the kind of plays they put on, which
are wild. Besides, she utters this turn just after Mr. Brookes remarks on the
peculiar lives of actress themselves, making her observation still more upsetting
for her sister.
Meg is very disappointed and tries to justify herself and her sister minimising
what Jo said by means of vague language (something) and the adverb just:
MEG: Oh, its just something that we play at.

~ 128 ~

The uneasy situation created by Jo is emphasised by a moment of silence, which


is interrupted by Mr. Brooke, who takes advantage of the more personal topic
introduced by Jo, to talk about himself:
MR. BROOKE: Well, as as a matter of fact, at school
Mr. Brooke begins to talk about the time when he was at school, but he is not
fully at ease, since he utters a discourse marker (well) to take time and makes a
false start (as as a matter []). Probably, he is trying to demonstrate Meg that
she does not need to be embarrassed, since he himself used to put up some plays,
when he was younger.
At this point, the focus moves from Meg and Mr. Brooke to Jo and Laurie (in fact,
we do not ear Mr. Brookes word anymore), which allows to compare the two
couple different behaviour and to highlight Jos reaction when seeing her sisters
and Mr. Brooke attitude. As we have already seen, Jo and Laurie always share a
great deal of complicity, displayed by Lauries invitation to spy on the other
couple with the opera glasses:
LAURIE: What to do you think of that? Lets see what they do!
Now, the scene becomes more similar to the same scene in the preceding versions,
since Meg and Mr. Brooke are in the Marchs yard chatting, before parting, when
Jo realises that there is something going on between her sister and Mr. Brooke and
she interrupts them abruptly.
However, the differences are more interesting than the similarities, and, actually,
there are two details (both linguistic and proxemic) which influence the
impression we get of Meg and Mr. Brooke.
As a matter of fact, it is Meg who appreciates first the time spent with Mr.
Brooke, demonstrating to be less shy that in the previous version, where it is Mr.
Brooke who speaks first:

~ 129 ~

MEG: I had a wonderful time, Mr. Brooke.


MR. BROOKE: So did I. It was a most delightful evening.
Obviously, Mr. Brooke demonstrates to be very collaborative, repeating the idea
that Meg conveyed but using a more sophisticated structure, i.e. uttering a
superlative and using a more refined adjective.
In addition, when Meg and Mr. Brooke talk, they hold each others hands in a
rather intimate way, while, in the 1933 version, they do not touch each other and,
in the 1949 version, they only shake hands. This detail demonstrates that the
scriptwriter updated Meg and Mr. Brookes behaviour, but it also emphasises Jos
rude manner when she makes them leave each others hand and pushes her sister
inside the house.
Comparing these different conversation, it is evident how the relationship between
man and woman changes through the years and also depending on the temper of
the people involved in the exchange.

3.3.4. An analysis of the conversations between Jo and professor Bhaer


This change is still more evident in the relationship between Jo and professor
Bhaer, since the difference between the relationship in the 1933 and in the 1949
version is very meaningful.
In the 1993 and in the 1949 version, the dialogues between Jo and Professor
Bhaer are quite identical, since the characters use the same words to talk about the
same topics and the same terms of address to refer to each other. Notwithstanding,
there are some minor differences between the two versions, which are meaningful
because they influences Jos and professor Bhaers characterisation.
It is important to notice that Jo changes a lot when she goes to New York, in both
versions, but the deepest change happens in the 1933 version. Actually, in this

~ 130 ~

version, Jos behaviour is more dignified (i.e. she does not run, her hair is always
combed and her dresses are always in order) and her way of speaking is more
controlled (i.e. she does not utter rude expressions such as Christopher
Columbus and she does try to feign a masculine voice). Thus all in all, Jo, looks
like a lady, and she is not as lively and outgoing as she is at home in Concord.
Conversely, in the 1949 version, Jos change is not so evident, since she is still
very extrovert, lively and cheerful as she is in the first part of the film, even if she
abandoned her boyish manners.
To see how Jo has changed and how she behaves differently in the two films, it is
useful to analyse the way she behaves with professor Bhaer. As a matter of fact,
her behaviour towards professor Bhaer, who is a friend of hers, so a certain degree
of familiarity is to be postulated, is more formal than her behaviour towards
Laurie. The difference is due to different causes: the first one is that professor
Bhaer is older that Jo, while Laurie is the same age; in addition, Jo is more mature
and she knows how to behave properly, while when she was at home she was
more childish and also more at ease, since she used to live among her friends,
whereas, in New York, she is among strangers.
In fact, the first impression that one receives of the difference in Jos
characterisation is when the maid is taking her up to her room. As a matter of fact,
in the 1949 version, Jo is very talkative and friendly with the maid and tells her
everything about her stay in New York and about her literary ambitions:
JO: Ive never been in New York before, and Ive been looking
forward to it, because, you see, Im a writer and I need the
experience, new impressions, a writer needs to study people,
search their souls, figure up their problems. Oh I now Im going
to love New York. Ive always wanted to come here.
Her behaviour demonstrates that she cannot hide her enthusiasm, in addition, the
maid is not very friendly and she is not encouraging Jo to speak, consequently,

~ 131 ~

Jos talkative temper is still more evident. Jo uses a discourse marker, you see,
which is usually meant to introduce an explanation, but, in this case, it is also used
as a topic marker, since Jo utters it just before beginning to tell her about a very
important topic, which is her desire to be a writer.
Moreover, Jo does not conceal her feelings about being in New York, and she
uses three different expressions to emphasise this: Ive been looking forward to
it, Oh I now Im going to love New York. Ive always wanted to come here.
Then Jo is introduced to professor Bhaer, but her behaviour and the linguistic
features of this exchange are quite the same in both versions. Besides, it is a very
short dialogue. It is more interesting to take into account the few differences in the
conversation where Jo asks professor Bhaer the title of the song that he is singing.
Also in this case, the scene in the two films are quite identical, thus, the few
differences are still more meaningful.
First of all, it is important to notice that in the 1933 film, we get the impression
that Jos and professor Bhaers relationship is closer, since he calls her my little
friend, a term of address which shows a great deal of intimacy between the
characters and he repeats the greeting good evening twice, to show how glad he
is to see her.
Conversely, in the 1933 film, we get the impression that the characters are not so
close, because professor Bhaer seems surprised and a little embarrassed when he
sees Jo and he does not even greet her:
PROFESSOR BHAER: Oh, oh, good evening, my little friend.
Good evening. (1933 version)
PROFESSOR BHAER: Oh (1949 version)
As a matter of fact, Jos characterisation is influenced, in both cases, by the nature
of her relationship with professor Bhaer.

~ 132 ~

Actually, Jo asks professor Bhaer the title of the song that he is singing, but she
does it in two different ways. This means that in the 1993 version she uses a more
polite and formal formula to ask her question:
JO: Please don't stop. It was beautiful. I've heard you play it often
and wanted to ask you what it was. I'd so like to send it to my little
sister.
As a matter of fact, Jo does not utter a direct question, but she uses the more polite
and indirect expression I wanted to ask you. This detail shows that she is now
concerned about formality, and this detail is emphasized by the fact that her
relationship with professor Bhaer is rather friendly.
On the contrary, in the 1949 version, Jo does not use any polite formula to address
professor Bhaer, instead she asks him directly the title of the song:
JO: What is that song? Ive heard you play it before and Id like
to send it to my sister.
This feature demonstrates that Jo is more straightforward and less concerned with
formality as she is at home, notwithstanding the fact that her relationship with
prof. Bhaer seems less friendly than in the preceding version.
Then, the dialogue goes on in the same way until prof. Bhaer asks Jo about her
desire to be a writer, and it is her answer which is interesting. In fact, in the
preceding version, Jos answer is very short and does not emphasise too much her
passion for writing, displaying that she is a little introvert and does not dare to talk
about her desires even to a friend (actually, professor Bhaer uses the term my
little friend also when he asks her about her writing, showing his friendly
feelings):
JO: Yes, that's my longing. I've sold two stories already since I've
been here.

~ 133 ~

Instead, Jo underlines her achievements, since she tells him that she has already
sold two stories, but this topic is not as personal as her wishes, consequently, she
prefers to keep the conversation on a more formal level.
On the other hand, in the 1949 version, Jos answer is longer and she uses some
expressions which are meant to highlight her desire to write:
JO: Oh, I love it. Writing is my life, Ive been scribbling since I
was a child. Some of my stories have been published, Ive just
sold one to the Weekly Volcano, oh its a wonderful one about..
Well, I wont tell you about what, but you must read it yourself.
Moreover, her sociable disposition is also shown by the fact that she is so keen on
talking about her writing that she is beginning to tell professor Bhaer the plot of
one of her stories. Instead, she interrupt herself, because she wants professor
Bhaer to read the story, and she asks him in a very direct way, which shows a
great deal of informality but which is also not very polite, since she uses the
modal verb must. As a consequence, Jos request sounds more like an order,
and it seems more apt to be used with a friend that with a mere acquaintance.
Thus, on the whole, we get the impression that she has not abandoned her
outgoing and easy manners completely.
On the contrary, in the 1993 version, it is professor Bhaer who asks Jo leave to
read her stories (professor Bhaer: Oh, that's very good. I like to read them. May
I?, Jo: Oh, would you? I'd so like to know your opinion.), as she does not dare to
ask, even though she really cares for his opinion, but she is too bashful.
Moreover, in the 1949 version professor Bhaer asks Jo leave to invite her to the
theatre, despite the fact that their relationship is yet not so friendly. Professor
Bhaers behaviour is probably a consequence of Jos sociable attitude, as he feels
encouraged to invite her. On the contrary, in the 1933 film, Jo is more reserved, so
professor Bhaer does not dare to invite her.

~ 134 ~

At the end of both scenes, Jo offers to sew professor Bhaers button, and again,
there is a difference in her attitude. In the 1933 version, her offer is more direct,
since she uses the expression let me, and this is consistent with the fact that they
know each other quite well:
JO: Oh, let me sew that button for you, before you lose it.
It could seem contrasting with Jos formal way of addressing professor Bhaer, but
in this case, she feels at ease, since she is doing something nice for professor
Bhaer and it is not something personal, such as speaking of her desires.
Similarly, in the 1949 film, Jos way of addressing professor Bhaer is consistent
with the fact that they do not know each other well, but it could seem clashing
with Jos outgoing attitude:
JO: [] Oh, please, dont think me rude, but, as long as you are
not going to sew that button, would you let me do it?
As a matter of fact, Jo uses some mitigating devices (please, dont think me
rude and as long as [] which introduces an explanation to what she is going
to say), and she adds the modal verb would, which makes her utterance sound
very formal. In fact, she is not concerned with formality, but she does not want to
hurt professor Bhaers feelings, since she does not know him well and cannot
know whether he is going to appreciate that she offers to sew his button form him.
Consequently, Jos behaviour is consistent with her lively attitude, but it also
shows that she is more considered and reflects before speaking.
In both versions, professor Bhaer wants to ask Jos hand, but in the 1949 film, he
asks Jo directly (but they are interrupted by one of the children, who is looking for
Jo), while in the 1933 version he wants to ask Mr. March before. The difference is
undoubtedly due to the different period in which the film is shot, but also to Jos
attitude, because in the 1949 version she is more encouraging, so he thinks he can
ask her.

~ 135 ~

In the 1994 version, the relationship between professor Bhaer and Jo is very
different from the preceding versions, as they are in love and they act accordingly,
even if they are not married and Jos parents are not informed of their
relationship. Their relationship is more informal since the first time they talk to
each other, since professor Bhaer asks Jo to call him Frederick:
JO: [] Will you be returning to Berlin, Professor Bhaer?
PROFESSOR BHAER: Friedrich. Call me Friedrich.
Moreover, when they get to know each other better, professor Bhaer starts calling
her Jo, which is more consistent with the idea of a man-woman relationship in
the Nineties, than my little friend.
It is interesting to notice the different strategies which are used by Jo and
professor Bhaer during their conversion (above all, when they do not agree).
As in the preceding version, professor Bhaer does not approve of Jos sensational
stories, but, while, in the other versions he explicitly tells Jo his opinion and
reproaches her, in this case, he does not tell her openly, but he just hints at the
fact:
PROFESSOR BHAER: Well, Miss March, I must be honest. I was
disappointed. Why do you write such artificial characters, such
such artificial plots, villains, murderers, and, and, and such
women? Why don't you write a? (1933 version)
PROFESSOR BHAER: "The Daily Volcano"? "The Sinner's
Corpse"... by Joseph March. Lunatics... vampires... This this
interests you? (1994 version)
In the 1933 version, professor Bhaer uses a direct expression to convey his
opinion, I was disappointed, while, in the 1994 version, he merely asks Jo
whether she is really interested in what she writes, implying that he does not

~ 136 ~

approve of it and thus exploiting an implicature. This feature is important, since it


shows the nature of the relationship between the characters. As a matter of fact, in
the older versions, professor Bhaer feels free to criticize Jo in a rather severe way,
and this is due to the fact that, in that period, women were only considered as
mothers and wives, and they had follow mens advices, as they were, not being
allowed to make decision on their own. On the contrary, in the 1994 version,
professor Bhaer deals with Jo as men do in the Nineties, so he does not dare to
reproach Jo explicitly, because he does not want to impose his opinion, since he
thinks Jo is intelligent enough to make up her mind in the right way.
Actually, Jo does not answer professor Bhaers question, because she understands
that it contains an implicature. Even if professor Bhaer does not reproach her
directly, Jo feel hurt by her words and try to defend herself, showing that she is
more stubborn and proud that in the previous versions, where she starts crying
(not only because of his reproach, but also because she discovered that Amy is
going to Europe and Laurie had not come to see her in New York) :
JO: People people like thrilling stories, Friedrich. This is what
the newspapers want.
However, it is evident that Jo cares for professor Bhaers opinion, because she is
evidently upset by his disappointment, which is shown by the fact that she
hesitates, making a false start at the beginning of her turn (People... people [...]).
Moreover, the term of address, Friedrich, in the middle of the turn, is meant to
keep contact with him and to avoid disagreement with him. In fact, Jo is very
proud and tries to justify her choice avoiding to say that see needs the money, that
she gets from the newspapers.
Professor Bhaer exploits again an implicature, because he does not say openly that
Jo does should not try to please the readers, but herself, but it is evident from his
utterance, as he hesitates and uses the verb suppose which, in this situation,
reveal that he does not agree with Jo :

~ 137 ~

PROFESSOR BHAER: Yes . . . yesI suppose I suppose that


is that is true.
At his point, Jo is very disappointed and tells him explicitly that she needs the
money, and the linguistic features (i.e. her utterance is very simply structured and
sounds rather sharp) are underlined by her behaviour, since she takes the
newspaper from professor Bhaer and goes away:
JO: It will buy a new coat for Beth. She'll be grateful for it.
Consequently, the relationship between man and woman seems to be more
complicated than in the preceding versions, since the power dynamics is more
balanced than in the past, so Jo does not accept professor Bhaers criticism
passively, as she does in the 1933 and in the 1949 version, when women where
supposed to submit to mens judgement. As a matter of fact, in the 1949 version,
Jo agrees with professor Bhaer:
JO: Oh, no, if I cant stand the truth, Im not worth anything.
Well, I didnt think those stories were very good, but, you see, The
Dukes Daughter, paid the butchers bill and The Curse of the
Coventry was the blessing of the Marches.
In the 1994 version, Jo never agrees with professor Bhaer, demonstrating that she
is very proud and more independent than in the preceding versions. Jo is also very
stubborn and insists in asking professor Bhaers opinion on her stories. Professor
Bhaer instead is not very willing to give her his opinion, since he know that she
will be hurt by it:
PROFESSOR BHAER: Yes... It's its well written, Jo. The first
novel. What a great accomplishment!
JO: I'm going to show it to your publishers friend, Mr. Fields,
you know. He liked "Sinner's Corpse". What is it?

~ 138 ~

As a matter of fact, he avoids to mention the features of Jos story that he does not
like privileging the one that he liked (i.e. she avoid to talk about the subject and
concentrates on the form), in order to keep away from a disagreement, but Jo
knows him well and understands that he is disappointed. However, instead of
trying to avoid conflict she insists on learning professor Bhaers opinion:
PROFESSOR BHAER: Mr. Fields is a good man. He will give
you an honest opinion.
JO: I see... What's your honest opinion?
However, when she gets to know his opinion, Jo is not at all satisfied, but instead
of agreeing with him, she utters a very harsh answer and goes away, thus they
does not part very well:
JO: Friedrich, this is what I write. I apologise if it doesn't live up
to your standards.
Actually, her apologies are ironic, since she does not really mean to apologise, but
he is only being sarcastic. This detail demonstrates that Jo is very proud and selfconfident, but also that she is not very mature, since she cannot accept criticism
from a friend.
Thus, a more balanced relationship between man and woman is not easy to
handle, and the conversation is influenced by this fact and becomes more
complicated (i.e. the speakers uses more complex strategies to interact with each
other, such as implicatures). In fact, womens role in society is more significant,
as a consequence, they role in conversation is more active, since their opinion is
more relevant.

~ 139 ~

Conclusion

Various differences have emerged from the analysis and the comparison between
the three film scripts of Little Women. As a consequence, the analysis of the
features of conversation has proved to be a useful tool to study the portrait of the
characters in both the novel and the film.
Quite expectedly, the most significant differences which emerged from my study
concern the earliest and the most modern film versions. However, there are also
some meaningful variations between the 1933 and the 1949 version, which, at the
beginning, seemed to be almost identical.
Actually, what emerged from my inquiry is that in the 1933 version Jo is more shy
and less self confident, while in the 1949 film, she appears more mature and
strong-willed. Conversely, in the 1994 version, Jo looks rather childish compared
to the preceding versions.
All these details can be deduced from the analysis of the structure and of the
features of the characters utterances, namely syntactic complexity, the presence
of dysfluencies and discourse markers. For instance, in the 1933 film, Jo is more
bashful and not very self-confident, so her turns are characterised by dysfluencies,
hesitations and discourse markers, which she uses to take time to organise her
speech (i.e. well) or to introduce an explanation (i.e. you see).
On the contrary, in the 1949 film version, Jo appears more self-confident and
straightforward, actually, which can be inferred these details from the type of
speech acts she performs. In fact, in this version, Jo is more likely to perform

~ 140 ~

speech acts like commanding and questioning, rather than answering and
apologising, as can be seen in her conversation with aunt March.
However, since conversation is a social activity, much information about the
relationship between the speakers can also be inferred. Thus, it is especially
interesting to observe how the relationships between the characters have changed
in the different film versions.
As a matter of fact, I have noticed the greatest change in the relationship between
men and women. Moreover, the one of the most interesting changes concerns
Megs and Mr. Brookes relationship in the 1933 and in the 1949 version, but not
in the 1994 film, which is most surprising, since the there is no wide temporal gap
between the two films, so it could be reasonable to expect a similar portrayal of
the relationship between men and woman should be rather similar.
There are various details which show how this relationship has changed in the
films. First of all, the use of terms of address is different in the two film versions.
Terms of address are particularly important in English as they encode information
about the speaker, i.e. showing either respect or intimacy.
In fact, in the 1993 version, Meg and Mr. Brooke use formal terms of address to
refer to each other, such as title plus first name (Miss Margaret) or title plus
surname (Mr. Brooke), whereas in the 1949 film they use their first names and
familiar forms.
Moreover, the intimacy between Meg and Mr. Brooke is underlined by the type of
speech acts they perform. For instance, in the 1949 version, Meg uses an
imperative to invite John to enter, while in the 1933 version, she uses an indirect
and more polite formula (i.e. Wont you come in).
Comparing Megs and Mr. Brookes relationship with Jos and Lauries
relationship, it is possible to highlight the greater intimacy existing between the
younger couple. The difference is due to the different temper of the characters, as

~ 141 ~

Jo is very talkative and outgoing and both she and Laurie are less concerned with
formality than Meg and Mr. Brooke.
In this case, the major difference can be seen between the older versions and the
1994 version, where Jos and Lauries relationship is still more informal, which
can be deduced from the use of term of address, but also from the type of topics
they deal with.
As a matter of fact, Jo asks Laurie very personal questions since their first
meeting. It is possible to observe the major degree of intimacy also from the
linguistic texture of their exchanges, because Jo asks these questions in a very
direct way, without any hedges or polite formulae, showing that she feels at ease
with him. On the contrary, in the preceding version, despite the growing intimacy
between the two they continue to use polite formulae.
However, the greatest difference in the relationships between men and women can
be observed in the relationship between Jo and professor Bhaer, not only
comparing it with Jos relationship with Laurie, but also comparing it with the
same relationship in the different film versions.
Actually, this relationship in the 1994 version is far more intimate than in the
preceding versions. This detail can be easily seen from the use of terms of
address, as only in this version Jo and professor Bhaer use first names to address
each other, while in the preceding versions they keep using more formal terms,
such as title and surname (i.e. professor Bhaer).
Moreover, in the 1994 version, the role of the woman is consistent with her role in
modern society, and this affects Jos relationship with professor Bhaer. In fact,
their relationship is more balanced and complex than in the preceding films. As a
matter of fact, professor Bhaer does not feel free to criticize Jos writing openly,
as nowadays women are not subject to mens judgement, so he exploits some
implicatures, since he does not want to hurt her. On the contrary, in the older

~ 142 ~

version, professor Bhaer criticises Jo openly and she does not complain about it,
showing to be surmised to his judgement.
In conclusion, the analysis of conversation has proved to be a successful device to
highlight those differences in the portraits of the characters and in their
relationship, which are evident, such as the different relationship between Jo and
professor Bhaer, but also those differences which are less obvious, such as the
difference in Megs and Mr. Brookes relationship in the 1933 and in the 1949
versions.

~ 143 ~

~ 144 ~

Appendix A

Little Women (1933 Script)


MRS. MARCH
MAN
MRS. MARCH
MAN
MRS. MARCH
MAN
MRS. MARCH
MAN
MRS. MARCH
SHOP
ASSISTANT
MRS. MARCH
SHOP
ASSISTANT
MRS. MARCH
SHOP
ASSISTANT
MRS. MARCH
SHOP
ASSISTANT
MRS. MARCH
SHOP
ASSISTANT
CHILD 1

: So you're going to Washington?


: Yes, Ma'am. My son is sick in a hospital there.
: Oh. This will be an anxious Christmas for you. I think this one will do.
Let's try this. Is it your only son?
: No, Ma'am. I had four, two were killed. One is a prisoner.
: You've done a great deal for your country, sir.
: Oh, not a might more than I ought to, Ma'am. I'd go myself if I was any
use. Thank you for the overcoat.
: Wait a minute. I hope you find him better.
: Thank you, Ma'am. God bless you. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas.
: Merry Christmas.
: Oh, Mrs. March. Will you sign this so I can get it off? Why, what's the
matter?
: When I see things like that poor old man it makes me ashamed to think
how little I do.
: But, my dear, you're doing all you can here. And your husband is there.
: Yes, I know. His last son is lying ill miles away waiting to say goodbye to
him, forever perhaps, while I have my four girls to comfort me.
: And a real comfort they are too, aren't they?
: I couldn't bear it without them. Meg and Jo are working, you know?
: Yes?
: Meg is a nursery governess.
: Oh.

: Merry Christmas.

~ 145 ~

CHILD 2
CHILD 3

: Merry Christmas.
: Merry Christmas.

MEG
CHILD FOUR

: Remember Lilly, Santa Claus is watching you.


: Come on Tony, let's go over to the blackboard.

JO

: We know as well what are the baneful fruits of selfishness and selfindulgence. Bad habits take root with fearful rapidity even in the richest
natures. They grow and ripen and bear their fruit like southern vines and
weeds. Al Almost in a single day and night. Crush them. Pluck them out
pitterlously from their very first appearance and do not weary of the labor
of plucking them out again and again.

AUNT MARCH : Hold your tongue! Disrespectful old bird. Go on, Josephine. Josephine?
Uh! Where you off to, Miss?
JO
: Oh, I didn't think you'd mind. It was nearly time to leave and the girls all
said they'd be home early so we could rehearse my play for Christmas.
AUNT MARCH : Never a thought about my Christmas. Flying off without a word of cheer or
greeting to your poor old aunt.
JO
: Oh, I'm sorry, Aunt March. Merry Christmas.
AUNT MARCH : Merry Christmas. Here! It's a dollar for each. Well, take 'em.
JO
: Thank you, Auntie.
AUNT MARCH : Never mind thanking me. Just spend it wisely. That's all I ask. Although
it's more than I can expect when you're so much like your father, waltzing
off to war and lettin' other folks look after his family.
JO
: There's nobody looking after us, and we don't ask favors from anybody.
And I'm very proud of Father. And you should be too.
AUNT MARCH : Hoity Toity. Don't you be impertinent, miss!
JO
: Oh, I'm sorry, Auntie.
AUNT MARCH : It isn't preachers that's going to win this war. It's fighters.
JO
: Yes, Auntie. Can I go now?
AUNT MARCH : Oh, go on. Did you clean Polly's cage today?
JO
: Yes, Auntie.
AUNT MARCH : Did you wash those tea cups and put them away, carefully?
JO
: Yes, Auntie.
AUNT MARCH : You didn't break any?
JO
: No, Auntie.
AUNT MARCH : What about the teaspoons?
JO
: I polished them.
AUNT MARCH : Oh, very well then. Just a minute. Come back here. Look at this. You

~ 146 ~

JO
MR. DAVIS
CHILDREN
MR. DAVIS
GIRL
MR. DAVIS
GIRL 1
GIRL 2
GIRLS 3
MR. DAVIS

AMY
MR. DAVIS
AMY
MR. DAVIS
AMY
CHILDREN
AMY

BETH
HANNAH
BETH
HANNAH
BETH
HANNAH
JO
MEG

haven't dusted properly. I want this stair rail dusted and polished before
you leave here.
: Yes, Auntie.
: Thank you very much Ladies. And now I wish you all a very merry
Christmas.
: Merry Christmas. Good-bye.
: School is dismissed.
: Margaret.
: Amy March, you may close the door.
: That'll teach her not to cut up Didoes.
: Just serves that stuck up Amy March right.
: What's he gonna do to her?
: I can see there's nothing for me to do but stop by and show you mother
how, instead of doing your sums, you cover your slate with sketches and
most uncomplimentary sketches.
: Oh, please Mr. Davis. I'll never do it again, sir. And she'd be so
disappointed in me. Please, please.
: Well, I should hate to spoil her Christmas. And for that reason alone,
young lady, I shall overlook it.
: Oh, thank you, Mr. Davis.
: You may go.
: Oh, thank you, Mr. Davis. Thank you very much indeed. Thank you, sir.
: Here she is. What did he do? What did you say? Oh, come on. Tell us.
What happened?
: I just said that if I ever told my mother the way he treated me she'd take me
out of his old school. She's never been reconsiliated any way, since my
father lost his money. And she's had to suffer the degaridation of me being
with a lot of ill-mannered girls who stick their noses into refined people's
business.
: Oh, Hello. Little tiny little thing. I'll tell you a long story. Oh, Hannah, is it
tea time?
: Yes
I'll set the table.
: Thank you, Beth. It will be a help to me 'cause my bread's raised. Girls're
getting home early.
: Are they coming?
: Just passed the Laurence house.
: Christopher Columbus.
: Jo! Don't use such dreadful expressions. Here comes old Mr. Laurence.
What if he should hear you?

~ 147 ~

: I don't care. I like good strong words that mean something. Oh, bother.
Now we're gonna have to speak to him.
MR. LAURENCE : How do you do?
AMY
: Makes my knees chatter just to look at him.
JO
: I feel sorry for that poor boy shut up all alone with such an old ogre for a
grandfather. Oh, look. There he is.
: Where?
AMY
MEG
: Don't point, Jo. He'll think you're waving at him.
JO
: He's gone anyway. Well, what if he does? Hey! Hey!
MEG
: Jo!
LAURIE
: Hey! Hey! Hey!
JO

JO
BETH
JO
BETH
JO
AMY
MEG
BETH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO

MEG

AMY
BETH

:
:

JO

MEG

JO

AMY

JO
AMY

:
:

Bethy!
Jo.
Merry Christmas from Aunt March.
For me?
Yes, darling. For you.
We got one, too.
What are you going to do with it, dear?
I don't know. Marmee said we oughtn't spend money for pleasure, when
our men are suffering so in the army.
A dollar couldn't do the army much good, so I'm going to buy Undine and
Sintram. I've wanted it long enough.
I'm sure Marmee would approve if I got some new gloves. I've darned my
old ones until I can hardly get them on. And she always says that a real
lady is known by her neat gloves and boots.
I should get a nice box of Faber's drawing pencils. I really need them.
Then Then I'd like to spend mine for some new music. That is, if you
don't think Marmee would mind.
Let's each buy what we want and have a little fun. I'm sure we work hard
enough.
Well, I know I do. It's not the work I mind so much. It's having to tell Flo
King how pretty she looks in things I know would look as well on me.
Well, what would you do if you were shut up all day with a fussy old
crosspatch who flies off the handle every move you make.
Joe, don't use slang. Besides, don't forget she gave us the dollar. I'm sure
neither of you suffer as I do. You don't have to go to that nasty old Davis'
school, with impertinent girls who laugh at your dresses and label your
father because he is not rich.
"Liable", "liable". Don't say "label" as if Papa were a pickle bottle.
I know what I mean and you needn't be "statirical" about it. It's proper to
use good words and improve your "vocabilary".

~ 148 ~

JO
AMY
JO
AMY
JO
AMY
JO
BETH
MEG

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO

MEG

BETH
MEG
JO

:
:
:

AMY

JO
AMY
JO

:
:
:

JO
AMY
MRS. MARCH
GIRLS
MRS. MARCH
MEG
MRS. MARCH

JO

Aren't we elegant?
You'd never be thought so with your slang and manners.
I hope not. I don't want to be elegant.
Well, you needn't whistle like a boy.
That's why I do it.
Oh, I detest rude unladylike girls.
I hate affected, niminy-piminy chits.
Birds in their little nests agree.
Really, you're both to blame. You're old enough now to leave off boys
tricks and behave better, Josephine. Now you're so tall and turn up your
hair, you must remember you're almost a young lady.
No, I'm not. And if turning up my hair makes me so, I'll wear it down until
I'm a hundred.
Jo! As you for you, Amy, your absurd words are as bad as Joe's slang.
Your airs are funny now, but you'll grow into an affected little goose unless
you take care.
Look. If Jo's a tomboy and Amy's a goose, what am I, please?
You're a dear, and nothing else.
We're We're three ungrateful wretches, who don't deserve you. Oh, wait
until I become a famous author and make my fortune. Then we'll all ride in
fine carriages, dressed like Flo King, snubbing Amy's friends, and and
telling Aunt March to go to the dickens. Come on. Let's rehearse. We'll
start with the umc oh, the fainting scene. You're as stiff as a poker on
that Amy.
Well, I can't help it. I've never seen anyone faint, and I don't intend to
make myself all black and blue tumbling flat as you do.
Oh, it's easy, if you'll only watch me. Come on.
If I can drop gracefully, I'll...
Now, now. When I come in you'll see the horrible look in my eyes, and
you shrink back trembling. Go ahead, go ahead. Well, get into the mood
Amy. Get into the mood. Now.. now when I start towards you with
wicked intentions. Oh Amy! you you draw back in horror, covering your
eyes with your hands. Roderigo! Roderigo! Ahh! Save me! Save me!
There, you see. Now try this! Now, here I come. Ahh! Ahh!

: Roderigo! Roderigo! Ahh! Ahh! Save me ! Save me! Ahh! Ahh!

Glad to find you so merry, my girls. AMY Darling.


Marmee.
How's your cold, Meg?
Much better.
Beth deary. Kiss me baby. Thank you, Jo. Thank you, dear! You look tired
to death, Jo.
: No, Marmee. I'm not tired.
:
:
:
:
:

~ 149 ~

BETH
MRS. MARCH
BETH
MRS. MARCH
BETH
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:
:
:
:

AMY

JO

MEG
MRS. MARCH

:
:

BETH

GIRLS
JO
MEG
JO
BETH
AMY

:
:
:
:
:
:

JO
BETH
AMY
MRS. MARCH
MEG
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:
:
:
:

BETH

MRS. MARCH

JO
MRS. MARCH

:
:

Mmm. Warm. Your slippers are all ready.


Oh. That's my Bethy. Deary.
Did you have a hard day, Marmee?
No. Very pleasant, dear. But it's good to be home. I have a treat for you.
A letter from father!
"Give them all my dear love and a kiss. Tell them I know they will
remember all I said to them, that they will be loving children to you, will
do their duty faithfully, fight their bosom enemies bravely, and conquer
themselves so beautifully, that when I come back to them I may be fonder
and prouder than ever of my little women."
I...I am a selfish girl, but I'll truly try to be better and not waste my time
in school, so that father mayn't be disappointed in me.
I'll try and be what he loves to call me, 'a little woman', and not be rough
and wild; and do my duty here at home instead of always wanting to go to
war to help father.
I'm I'm not going to be envious anymore, if I can help it.
Now we'll save the rest till after tea, for it's such a lovely long letter. I
know everybody must be hungry.
Let's... Let's get something for Marmee with our dollar instead of for
ourselves, shall we?
Oh
That's like you, Beth. What shall we get?
I shall get her a nice pair of gloves.
New slippers! Best to be had!
Some new handkerchiefs, all hemmed.
A beautiful little bottle of cologne. She'll like that and it won't cost much
and then I'll have some left over for my pencils.
I'm finished with Asia.
And here's Europe.
Three more stitches and you can have Africa.
Not too long stitches, dear.
If you pass me the scissors, I'll give you America.
There, you see, you did finish it after all. You wanted to put it off until
tomorrow.
Oh, but we never should have if Jo hadn't made a game of it, and thought
of talking of the different countries as we worked.
It was a nice idea, Jo. Do you remember how you used to play Pilgrim's
Progress when you were little things.
I can see us all now. With your rag bags tied over our backs for burdens.
You have real burdens now, instead of rag bags, according to what I heard
before tea. Except Beth, she didn't say. Maybe she hasn't any?

~ 150 ~

JO

: Yes, I have. Mine are dishes and dusters, and being afraid of people, and
envying girls with nice pianos.
: A piano is a burden.

MRS. MARCH
MEG
MRS. MARCH
JO
AMY
MRS. MARCH
BETH
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

Good night, my precious.


Good night, Marmee.
Good night, Jo, my girl.
Good night, Marmee.
Good night, darling.
Good night, my baby.
Good night, Marmee.
Good night, Bethy.

JO
HANNAH
JO
HANNAH

:
:
:
:

JO

MEG
AMY

:
:

BETH
MEG
JO
AMY
BETH
AMY
JO
AMY
JO
MEG
BETH
AMY
JO
HANNAH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO
AMY

:
:

Merry Christmas, Hannah.


Oh, Merry Christmas.
Where's Marmee?
She just went down the street. But she'll be right back. She wanted you to
have your breakfast when I can get it dished up.
Come round here. Get behind. Hide them. Get close. Get close. Where
have you been, Amy?
Amy, what have you been doing?
Don't laugh, Jo. I I only changed the little bottle of cologne for a big one.
I gave all of my money to get it.
Amy!
Darling! That was unselfish of you.
You're some pumpkins, Amy.
I felt ashamed thinking only of myself.
Amy, my prettiest rose.
And I'm so glad, because mine's the handsomest now. Where's Marmee.
She'll be back any minute. Breakfast!
Oh, Hannah. I'm so hungry.
Oh, Hannah, what is it? Sausages!
Sausages.
Popovers.
They're my favorite!
Coffee! Oh! Hannah, you've beaten the Dutch?
You needn't make such a fuss about it. I can remember when I used to
serve it on your father's table everyday.
No!
Oh, Hannah. Were we really that rich? How was I dressed? I'd like to tell
that Jenny Snow all the pretty clothes I used to wear.

BETH

~ 151 ~

JO
MEG
AMY
JO
MEG
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:

I could tell her! Diapers!


Jo!
Jo!
Two each. Look at all the pop-overs!
She's coming!
Hurry up! Beth, strike up. Amy, open the door. Come here, Meg. We'll
cover these up and then it'll be a surprise.

: Enter Marmee.
: Merry Christmas, Marmee.
: Merry Christmas, my... Oh darlings! Oh, Meg, dear! Oh, thank you. Oh,
and handkerchiefs from Bethy. Thank you dar... Oh, Hannah, did you see?
Oh, Amy, my precious. Thank you.
JO
: These are from me.
MRS. MARCH : Oh, Jo. Jo, my girl! Oh, thank you, darlings. Thank you. Oh, my girls. I
can't tell you how happy I am.
JO
: Well, I can tell you how hungry I am. Come on, everyone. Pass me those
plates. Marmee, look! Sausages.
MRS. MARCH : Wait a minute, girls. I want to say one word before we begin. I've just
come from a poor woman with a little new-born baby and six children
huddled into one bed to keep from freezing for they have no fire. They're
suffering cold and hunger. Oh, my girls, will you give them your breakfast
as a Christmas present?
: I'm so glad you came back before we started.
JO
MRS. MARCH : I knew you would.
AMY
: May I carry some things, Marmee?
MRS. MARCH : We should all go. Take the coffee, Hannah.
JO
: I'll get some firewood.
MEG
: I'll take the greens.
BETH
: I'll take the bread.
AMY
: I'll take the pop-overs.
MRS. MARCH : Here we are, Mrs. Hummel.
MRS. HUMMEL : Ach, Gott in himmel. Good angles come to us.
JO
: Funny angels in hoods and mittens.
GIRLS
: You want some bread to eat? Here, I'll give you some... Look here.
AMY
GIRLS
MRS. MARCH

AMY
Voice backstage
AMY
BETH

: Strange. Roderigo is not here. His note says "promptly on the hour".
: And why?
: And why? That's Hugo's castle for the tryst. Oh I am afraid. Who comes
here?
: Ah, your highness. 'Tis Mona, the hag.

~ 152 ~

VOICE
JO

: Hugo hath betrayed me.


: I must fly.
: Haha. Zara will be waiting. Haha. My proud beauty. Haha. She will be
mine. Black Hugo approaches. Haha. With her I be flown. Be gone. Haha!.
Ah-hah!
: Roderigo! Roderigo! Save me! Save me! Ah.
: And now to carry out my fell design. What a fake!
: Well, I told you I wasn't going to make myself...
: Sh!
: Come on. Get on the window sill.
: Have pity! Oh, have pity! Bring not upon me the worst of shame.
: Turn, else you ruin the day you spurn Black Hugo's love. Make thyself
ready for a wedding. I shall return within the quarter.
: Oh me. Oh, heaven. Protect the helpless.
: Zara! My beloved!
: Roderigo! D'ost I believe my eyes?
: (Roderigo sings and plays guitar. Audience applauds.) Hurry, my fair. The
good padre waits at yonder gate with the horses. See, the ladder. All is
arranged. Liberty! Fly with me. Fly with me, my love. I will assist you. I
will. ..oh...
: Everything's alright.
: It's alright, everyone. Stay where you are.

HANNAH
JO
AMY
BETH
MEG
JO
MRS. MARCH
AMY
GIRL
JO
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MEG
VOICE
JO

AMY
JO
AMY
JO
MEG
AMY
JO
AMY
JO
AMY
JO

JO
BETH

Young ladies, will you all please come in to supper.


Christopher Columbus! What's this?
Is it fairies?
It's Santa Claus.
Mother did it.
Aunt March had a good fit and sent it.
All wrong. Mr. Laurence sent it.
Oh, no.
Who's Mr. Laurence?
The Laurence boy's grandfather. He lives next door.
He heard what you did about your breakfast and sent me a nice note this
afternoon saying he hoped I would allow him to express his friendly
feelings toward my children and send them a few trifles in honor of the
day.
: The boy put it into his head. I know he did. He looks like a capital fellow,
and I'm dying to get acquainted. I'm going to, too.
: Oh, I wish father were here. I'm afraid he isn't having such a merry
Christmas as we are.

~ 153 ~

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

LAURIE
JO

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

: Hello.
: How do you do? I wanted to thank you. We did have such a good time
over your nice Christmas present. What's the matter? Are you sick?
: Just a little cold, but Grandfather's made me stop indoors for a week.
: Oh, that's too bad. Can anybody come to see you?
: If they would.
: Wait. I'll ask Marmee. Close the window now.
: How do you do, Miss March?
: How do you do, Mr. Laurence? Mother was so sorry to hear that you'd
been ill. My sister, Meg, sent you some of her "blanc-mange". It is soft and
will slide down easily without hurting your throat.
: Thank you.
: Andum Beth lent you these until you're will. I I know boys don't
like kittens but she was so anxious I I couldn't refuse.
: Well, maybe they'll help to liven things up. It's as dull as tombs over here.
: Huh?!
: Won't you come in?
: Oh, no. No, I'm not to stay.
: Oh, please. Just for a few minutes. I've ordered tea.
: Oh Christopher Columbus! What richness. Oh! Just like summer. Oh!
This is marvelous. Oh, it's so roomy. Oh...
: How many, please?
: Two, please. Three. And how do you like it here, after living in Europe so
long, Mr. Laurence?
: Oh...
: I'm going to Europe.
: Really? When?
: I don't know. You see, my Aunt March has rheumatism, and her doctor
thought that the baths. Oh, not that she hasn't a bath. She has a very nice
one. Did you take any baths while you were there? I mean, for rheumatism.
: No. No, I'm not troubled with rheumatism.
: Nope. Neither am I. But she thought that the baths wouldn't do me any
harm. I mean, that is to say, while I was there. You see, I've always wanted
to go to Europe. Not for the baths, of course. But for my writing. You see,
my Aunt March. Oh, but you don't know Aunt March, do you? Ah well,
never mind. Now, what were you saying, Mr. Laurence?
: I'm not Mr. Laurence. I'm only Laurie.
: Well, Laurie. Well, how do you like it here after Europe?
: Well, it's strange after living in schools all my life. Oh, it'll be , when I get
used to grandfather. You know, he's
: Oh, yes! You should have seen him before you came.

~ 154 ~

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

:
:
:
:

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:

JO

LAURIE
JO

:
:

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:

JO
:
LAURIE
:
JO
:
LAURIE
:
JO
:
LAURIE
:
MR. LAURENCE :
MR. BROOKE :
LAURIE
:
JO
:
LAURIE
:
JO
:
LAURIE
:
JO
:

MR. BROOKE:
JO

Isn't he a holy terror?


Oh, you oughta see my Aunt March!
Oh, it's too pretty to eat. I wish we had things like this over here.
And I wish. It is nice, isn't it? My little sister put on the geranium leaves.
She's very artist.
Amy?
Yes. How do you know?
Why, I often hear you calling to one another. And when I'm alone over
here, I I beg you pardon for being so rude, but sometimes you forget to
put down the curtain. When the lamps are lighted, its like looking at a
picture to see you all around the table with your Mother. You always seem
to be having such good times.
We'll never draw that curtain anymore. And I give you leave to look as
much as you like. I wish, though, instead of just peeping, you'd come over
and see us. We'd have jolly times together.
And would you let me be in a play? I saw some of it the other night.
Oh, that was terrible. I want to put on "Hamlet" though, and do the fencing
scene.
I could do Laertes. I took fencing lessons at the academy.
Really?
Yes! Look! Look! On guard!
Splendid!
Here.
Oh! "Come, for the third, Laertes: you but dally."
"Say you so. Come on."
"A hit; what say you?"
"A touch. A touch. I do confess."
What is this? What on earth? What's going on?
Don't know, sir?
"Have at you, now."
Oh?
Oh, I say. Oh, I say. You hurt?
Oh, no. Nothing ever hurts me.
I'm sorry. I forgot you're a girl, and I'm afraid I got a bit too rough.
Oh, what are you talking about? Oh, I had you bettered, if I hadn't slipped.
Oh, that's that's a good picture of your grandfather. He looks pretty
grim, but I shouldn't be afraid of him. Though I can see how his face might
frighten some people.

: I'll wait upstairs, sir.


: His eyes are kind and I like him, though he does bark at you so.

~ 155 ~

Thank you, ma'am. So you're not afraid of me, eh?


No, sir. Not much.
But my face will frighten some people.
Oh, I... I only said "might", sir.
And I bark, do I?
Oh, no, sir. Perhaps not all the time.
But with all that you like me, eh?
Oh, yes, sir. I do. I do. I do.
And I like you.
Oh, sir.
Grandfather, you should see her fence. Come on, let's show him.
Oh, no. I've been here too long now.
Well, I'll see you home.
Oh, no, no, no. You stay indoors, young man. I shall see Miss March
home. I want to pay my respects to your mother and thank her for the
medicine she sent my boy. I can see it's done him lots of good. You get
upstairs and do your sums. Brooke is waiting for you, and see you behave
yourself like a gentleman, sir.
: Good bye, Jo.

MR. LAURENCE :
:
JO
MR. LAURENCE :
JO
:
MR. LAURENCE :
JO
:
MR. LAURENCE :
JO
:
MR. LAURENCE :
JO
:
LAURIE
:
JO
:
LAURIE
:
MR. LAURENCE :

LAURIE
HANNAH
MRS. MARCH
BETH
MRS. MARCH
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH
MEG
JO
MEG
HANNAH
JO
MEG
JO
MEG

: Here they come. Here they come. All dressed up and looking as pretty as
pictures.
: Oh, Amy. How dainty! You look lovely.
: Oh, Marmee, I wish Laurie hadn't asked me to his party. I know I shall be
frightened.
: You wouldn't want to hurt his feelings when he's been so kind. Oh, Meg,
the dress is lovely. Meg: Thank you, Marmee.
: Jo, you look splendid.
: Well, I feel perfectly miserable with 19 hairpins all sticking straight into
my head. But, dear me. Let us be elegant or die.
: Does the patch show much?
: It does a little, Marmee. But she's going to sit down or stand with her back
against the wall. Jo, where are your gloves?
: Oh, well, I've stained them so I'm gonna go without.
: You wear gloves, or I don't go.
: I tried to clean them bit it only made them look worse.
: Oh, here. I'll carry them. I'll hold them crumpled up in one hand. Nobody'll
see them.
: Oh, Jo.
: Well I'll tell you. We'll each wear one of your nice ones and carry one of
my bad ones. Then the effect will be fine and easy.
: All right. Only be careful of it. And don't stretch it. And Jo dear, do behave

~ 156 ~

MARMEE
AMY
JO

MAN
JO
AMY
BETH
AMY

nicely and don't put your hands behind your back. Good night, Marmee.
: Have a nice time, dear.
: And above everything, don't say "Christopher Columbus" and disgrace us
all.
: Oh, hold you tongue, Miss Baby. I'll be as prim as I can be, and not get
into any scrapes if I can help it.
:
:
:
:
:

:
BETH
MR. LAURENCE :
AMY
:
MR. LAURENCE :
AMY
:
MR. LAURENCE :
BETH
:
MR. LAURENCE :
AMY
:
MR. LAURENCE :
AMY
:
MR. LAURENCE :
AMY
:
MR. LAURENCE :
:
AMY
MR. LAURENCE :

:
BETH
MR. LAURENCE :
BETH
:
MR. LAURENCE :
AMY

May I engage you for this dance, Miss March?


No, thank you. I'm not dancing.
There's that Kitty Ford.
Where?
There, with the pink dress and the blue sash. I don't see why she's allowed
with the grow-ups and I have to stay up here.
Oh, that beautiful piano. It's as big as our kitchen.
Um! What's this? Why aren't you two young ladies downstairs dancing?
Mother said we weren't to go down with the grown-ups.
But can you see anything from here? How about you?
She just likes to listen to the music.
You just come down with me where it's playing.
Oh, no. No, sir. Please.
Why not? Well, my dear child, what's the matter?
She has an infirmity.
Mmm?
She's shy.
Oh, I see.
If it weren't for that, she'd be simply fastitidious because she plays
beautifully.
Oh, she must come and play for me sometime.
No. She never would.
Oh, it wasn't that I wanted to hear her, but that piano down there is simply
going to ruin for want of use. I was hoping one you young ladies would
come and practice on it. Just... Just to keep it in tune, you know. Well, if
you don't care to come, never mind.
Oh, sir. We do care, very, very much.
So. So you're the musical one.
I'm Beth. I love it dearly and I'll come if you're quite sure no-one will hear
me and be disturbed.
Not a soul, my child. Not a soul. You come too, young lady. And tell your
mother I think all her daughters are simply "fastidious".
Beth, isn't he elegant?

~ 157 ~

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

:
:
:
:

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

:
:
:
:

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:

JO
LAURIE

:
:

This is the German, and I'll be hanged if I let you refuse me all of them.
Oh, no. No.
Don't you like to dance?
Oh, yes. I love to dance, but well I can't. I.. I mean, I promised I
wouldn't.
Why?
Oh, well, I may as well tell you. You won't tell?
Silence to the death.
Well, you see, I have a bad trick of standing in front of the fire and I scorch
my frocks, and I burned this one.
Where?
Oh, you can laugh if you want to. It is funny.
Look! I'll tell you how we can manage. There's no one in the hall. We can
dance out there without being seen.
You're a Champ.
This is regularly splendid. Oh. Thank you.

JO
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE
BETH
LAURIE

:
:
:
:
:
:

Oh, hello.
What are you two doing up there? Come on down.
No.
Well, have you had refreshments?
No, thank you. We really don't care for ... Ouh!
We'll bring some right up. Come on.

MEG
MR. BROOKE:
MEG

MR. BROOKE:

: And then when Laurie goes to college, what becomes of you?


: I shall turn soldier as soon as he is off. I'm needed.
: Oh. Oh, I'm so sorry. I mean, I'm so sorry for all the mothers and sisters
who have to stay home and worry.
: I have neither. And very few friends to care whether I live or die.
: Laurie and his grandfather would care a great deal. And we we all would
be very sorry if any harm came to you.
: Would you?

JO

: Here we go!

LAURIE
AMY

: Oh, Jo. Jo.


: Now you've done it!

JO
LAURIE
JO

: Meg's gloves! Oh, look at me!


: What It's a shame.
: What a blunder bus I am!

MR. BROOKE:
MEG

~ 158 ~

MEG
LAURIE
MEG
MR. BROOKE:

: What are you going to do?


: I'll ask Marmee.
: Oh? Have you two been hiding. I've been looking all over the house for
you. Hannah's here.
: Oh? Is it that late?
: Well, time slips away, you know?
: Good night, Mr. Brooke.
: Good night, Miss Margaret. (Picking up a glove.) Miss Margaret!

BETH
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE
MEG
LAURIE
MEG
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
EVERYBODY

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO

: There. I've done my best. If that won't do, I shall have to wait until I can do
better. (Jo climbs down the outside of the house.) Why? What are you up
to?
: It's a pair of slippers I worked for Mr. Laurence. He's been so kind about
letting me play on his beautiful piano. I didn't know any other way to thank
him, Jo. Do you think they're alright?
: They are beautiful, and I think you are sweet. Hey, isn't that Amy's hair
ribbon?
: Yes. Yes, but I think she was going to throw it away.
: You think! You better vamoos before she catches you.

AMY
MEG
LAURIE

BETH

JO
BETH
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

Good night.
Good night, Beth. I'm glad you came.
We had an elegant time.
Good night, Amy. Good night, Jo.
Good night, Laurie.
Good night, Miss Margaret.
Laurie..
Good night, everybody.
Don't forget to bring your ice-skates tomorrow.
I won't. Good night.
Good night.

: Now I'll find out why you come down to this hole every day. Just have to
tell me why you never have time for me any more.
: Laurie Laurence. Give that back to me, or I'll never speak to you again.
: Alright. Hm! Take it. You're a fine one! I thought we weren't to have any
secrets from each other.
: Well, this is all together different.
: Ye! Oh!
: I beg your pardon.
: Sorry.

~ 159 ~

JO
LAURIE

: Of course it's different. Just like a girl! Can't keep an agreement.


: Oh, bilge.
: You'll be sorry. I was gonna tell you something very plummy. A secret. All
about people you know, and such fun.
: Oh, what?
: If I tell you, you must tell me yours.
: You won't tell anything at home, will you?
: Not a word.
: And you won't tease me about it in private?
: I'll never tease. Fire away.
: I sold my story to the Spread Eagle.
: Hurrah for Miss March! Hurrah for Miss March! The celebrated American
authoress.
: I didn't want anyone to know until it's out.
: Wouldn't it be fun to see it in print?
: Now, what's yours?
: I know where Meg's glove is.
: Oh, is that all?
: Wait till you hear where it is.
: Where? How do you know?
: I saw it.
: Where?
: Pocket!
: All this time?
: Isn't it romantic?
: Romantic? Rubbish! I never heard of anything so horrid. I wish you hadn't
told me. Of all the sickly, sentimental! Oh why do things always have to
change just when they're perfect. Meg always used to tell me everything,
and now she keeps everything to herself, and thinks brown eyes are
beautiful. John is a lovely name. He better keep away from me or I'll tell
him what I think of him. Trying to break up other people's happiness and
spoil all their fun!
: It doesn't spoil any fun! Makes it twice as good! You'll find out when
someone falls in love with you. Soft summer day. Sun setting through the
trees. Your lover's arms steeling around you.
: I'd like to see anybody try it.
: Would you? Oh! I'll get you! Now I've got you... Wait...

JO
MR. BROOKE:
MEG

: You should have seen...


: It's been a most enjoyable afternoon, Miss Margaret.
: Thank you. Paying visits has never been quite so much fun before.

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

LAURIE

~ 160 ~

JO

I hope we may do it again, very soon.


Good-bye, Mr. Brooke. Come along, Meg.
Good afternoon, Mr. Brooke.
Good-bye, Miss Margaret.
Good afternoon.
Margaret. Good-bye, Jo.
Coming Laurie?
Right. See you tomorrow, Jo.
I've never been so embarrassed in my life. When will you stop your
childish romping ways.
: Not until I'm old and stiff and have to use a crutch.

BETH
JO
BETH
JO
GIRLS
JO
BETH
AMY
JO
AMY
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MR. BROOKE
JO
MEG
MR. BROOKE:
MEG
LAURIE
MR. BROOKE:
LAURIE
MEG

AMY
BETH
HANNAH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

Jo.
Hello Bethy.
Hello, Jo.
How's my girl? (Chattering)
It's a surprise. (Chattering)
What is it? Christopher Columbus!
For For me?
Look. This came with it. Quick. Read it. See what it says.
I'll read it. "Miss Elizabeth March. Dear Madam."
Isn't that elegant.
"I've had many pairs of slippers in my life, but none has suited me as well
as yours. I like to pay my debts, so I know you will allow me to send you
something that belonged to the little grand-daughter I lost. With hearty
thanks and best wishes. I remain your grateful friend and humble servant,
James Laurence." Oh, Beth! Isn't he a really sweet old man? (Chatter)
Look. It opens. It opens.
: You'll have to thank him.
: Yes. I'll go right now.
: Well, I wish I may die. She'd never gone in her right mind.

MR. LAURENCE : Come in.


BETH
: I I came to thank you, sir.
Miss March. Miss March. It's one of them telegraph things, ma'am.
It's father.
Mother.
He's in the hospital. I must go to Washington at once.

HANNAH
MRS. MARCH
AMY
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:
:

MRS. MARCH

: Put those in the corner, dear.

~ 161 ~

BETH
:
MRS. MARCH :
MEG
:
MRS. MARCH :
GIRLS
:
MR. LAURENCE :
MRS. MARCH :
MR. LAURENCE :
MRS. MARCH :
MR. LAURENCE :
MRS. MARCH :
MR. LAURENCE :
MRS. MARCH
MEG

:
:

MR. BROOKE: :
MRS. MARCH :
MR. LAURENCE :

Alright, Marmee.
What on earth is keeping Jo?
This is all packed, Marmee. I don't believe I've forgotten a thing.
Thank you, dear. Now, girls, while I'm away, don't forget the Hummels.
We won't. We'll do our best, Marmee.
Here we are. We're here to take some port to your husband.
Oh. Thank you. How generous!
And I hope he finds this dressing gown useful.
Thank you.
Well, everything's arranged, and Brooke will go with you.
There's no need. I'll be allr...
Oh, he's all prepared. He has commissions for me in Washington. He'll be
of help to you on the journey.
How thoughtful of you!
It's such a relief to know that Marmee will have someone to take care of
her. Thank you very, very much.
Not at all, Miss Margaret.
My kind friend. I can't thank you.
Laurie's outside with the carriage. We'll wait for you. The train leaves in
about an hour.
Here, ma'am. You'll need this.
Oh, I couldn't.
Oh, Marmee. It'll quiet your nerves.
Where is Jo? Jo! What kept you?
What ever took you so long?
Here's the money from Aunt March. And.. um there's my contribution.
$25. Where did you get it? My dear?
Oh, it's mine, honestly. I only sold what belonged to me.
Your hair! Jo, you shouldn't have!
Oh well, Aunt March croaked as she always does when asked for
ninepence. And Marmee, she only sent you just money enough for the
ticket. And I knew you'd need more, and so, well I happened to be going
past a barber shop, and I saw some tails on hair hanging in the window
with the prices marked on them, so I thought it'd do my brain good to have
my mop cut off. And so I did.
Thank you, deary.

HANNAH
MRS. MARCH
AMY
MRS. MARCH
AMY
JO
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MRS. MARCH

LAURIE

: Are you ready, Marmee? We'll just have to hurry to catch Christopher
Columbus!
: Well. It's boyish, becoming, and easy to keep in order. Marmee, you'll miss
your train.

JO

~ 162 ~

AMY
MRS. MARCH
GIRLS
MRS. MARCH
BETH
MRS. MARCH

GIRLS
MRS. MARCH
MEG
JO
MEG

Yes, darling.
Now, girls. Go on with your work as usual.
We will, Marmee.
Do everything that Hannah tells you.
Oh, can't we go to the train with you, Marmee?
No. No. I want you all to stay here and comfort each other. Meg, dear,
watch over your sisters. Be patient, Jo. Beth, dear, help all you can. Amy,
be obedient. No, no. I want you to stay here. I want to carry away a picture
in my mind of my brave little women to take to Father. Good bye, my
darlings.
: Good-bye, Marmee.
: God bless us and keep us all.
:
:
:
:
:
:

: Jo, are you awake. Jo, you're crying.


: No, I'm not.
: Don't cry, dear. Father'll be alright, and Mr. Brooke will take care of
Marmee.
: I'm not crying because of that.
: What is it then?
: My hair.

JO
MEG
JO
(Jo reads her story)
JO
:
AMY
:
MEG
:
LAURIE
:
GIRLS
:
LAURIE
:
MEG
:
AMY
:
BETH
AMY
MEG
AMY
MEG
AMY
LAURIE
JO
MEG
JO
BETH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

"The End"
Oh, it gives me the shivers. I'm pins and needles all over.
It's so exciting and so sad. Who wrote it?
Your sister.
Really? Jo? Oh, no! You did? Let me see.
And I knew it all the time.
Isn't that wonderful.
Here it is. "By Miss Josephine March." Oh, Jo! I can't believe it. Beth!
Beth! Jo wrote a story. It's in the papers. Isn't that marvelous. Look.
Don't come near me.
Meg. Jo. Something's wrong with Beth.
What is it?
I don't know.
Where is she?
In Marmee's cupboard.
What's wrong? Why'd she go in there?
Darling, what is it? Bethy, what is it?
What's wrong, Bethy?
What is it?
Oh, Jo. The baby's dead.

~ 163 ~

JO
BETH
JO
BETH
MEG
AMY
BETH
JO
BETH

JO
MEG
JO
BETH
MEG
LAURIE
JO
HANNAH
LAURIE
HANNAH
LAURIE
HANNAH
AMY
JO
AMY
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE

AMY
LAURIE
JO
MEG

: What baby?
: Mrs. Hummel's. It died in my lap before she... before she got back with the
doctor. Jo!
: Oh my poor Beth.
: The doctor said it was ... it was scarlet fever.
: Scarlet Fever?
: Hannah! Hannah!
: You don't think I'll get it, do you, Jo?
: Oh, no, Bethy. Of course you won't.
: But... But Amy must keep away, cause cause she's never had it. How
does it start, Jo? With a sort of a a headache? and sore throat? and .. and
queer feelings all over?
: I don't remember. Laurie, give me that doctor's book, will you?
: Jo, I think we'd better get her to bed. Come along, Bethy.
: I'll find out what to do.
: I'll be alright, Meg.
: Come on Bethy.
: Of course you'll be alright.
: Oh, here it is.
: For land's sakes! Go get Doctor Bangs, will you, Mr. Laurence?
: Alright.
: Have him come over as soon as he can.
: Yes.
: You stay down here Amy. You're to go over to Aunt Mrch's for a spell, just
in case.
: No, I won't. I won't. I'm going to stay right here with Beth.
: Oh, be quiet for once, Amy.
: I'm not going to be sent away as though I were in the way.
: Well, I advise you to go. Scarlet Fever's no joke, miss.
: Well, I don't care.
: Oh.
: I'd rather get Scarlet Fever and die, than go to Aunt March's.
: Now, Amy. Be a good girl. I'll pop around every day and tell you how Beth
is. And I'll tell you what! Every day I'll come and take you out driving.
Mm?
: Well ... Yes.
: That's our girl!
: Oh, Bethy. If you should really be ill, I'll never forgive myself. I let you go
to the Hummels every day when I should have gone.
: No, it's my fault. I'm the oldest, and I should have gone. I promised
Marmee I'd look after you. Don't you think we ought to telegraph her.

~ 164 ~

HANNAH
BETH

DR. BANGS
HANNAH
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

: No. We mustn't. The poor lady can't leave you father. And it would only
make her all the more anxious.
: Oh, please don't telegraph, Jo. Hannah knows just what to do. I ... I feel
better already.
: If Mrs. March can leave her husband, we'd better send for her.
: The girls had the telegram all ready, but I wouldn't let them send it, and
now the poor lady ...
: Oh, Mother! Mother! What if she shouldn't get here in time?
: Oh, Jo, is it that bad?
: She doesn't know me. She doesn't look like my Beth. How am I gonna bear
it? Marmee and Father being so far away.
: I'm here. Hold on to me. Jo, dearest. Oh, poor Jo. You're all worn out.
What does the doctor say?
: We're sending for Marmee. If she were only here.
: She will be. Grandfather and I got fidgety and thought your mother ought
to know. She'd just never forgive us if Beth well, if anything happened,
so I telegraphed yesterday.
: You?
: She'll be here on the two o'clock train tonight, and I'm going to meet her.
: Oh, Laurie. Oh, Mother. Oh. Oh, I beg your pardon, but you're such a dear.
I couldn't help flying at you.
: Fly at me again. I rather like it.
: Laurie, you're so silly.
: I better go. Well. To the railroad station! And And I shan't spare the
horses.
: Oh, bless you, Laurie. Bless you.

JO

: If you really want Bethy, please wait until Marmee comes home. But, oh
God, please don't because she's so well, please don't.

MEG
JO
MEG
HANNAH
JO
DR. BANGS
HANNAH
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

If God spares Bethy, I'll love him, and serve him all my life.
If life is as hard as this, I don't see how we ever should get through it.
Hannah! Hannah!
What is it? What is it?
Good-bye, my Bethy. Good-bye.
The fever's turned. She's sleeping naturally.
Lord be praised.
Marmee's here. She's come.

~ 165 ~

AMY
JO
BETH
LAURIE
GIRLS
LAURIE
GIRLS
MEG
HANNAH
MRS. MARCH
MR. MARCH
BETH
MRS. MARCH
AMY
JO
MEG
JO

MEG

JO
MEG
JO

JO
MEG
MR. BROOKE:
MEG
MR. BROOKE:
MEG
MR. BROOKE:
MEG

: Isn't it wonderful to have Bethy downstairs at last. Come on. Everything's


all ready. Be careful.
: And see the lovely flowers that Mr. Laurence sent you.
: Oh. And my bird! I've never been so happy.
: Begging you pardon. Do the Marches live here?
: Hello.
: Wait'll she sees what I brought for her.
: Oh, Father.
: Bethy.
: Land sakes! She's walking.
: Oh, my dear.
: My Bethy.
: Father.
: Oh, my darling.
: She hasn't walked since she was sick..
: Are you expecting someone?
: Why.. Why, no. What do you mean?
: Meg. Meg. Why can't we stay as we are? Do you have to go and fall in
love, and spoil all our peace, and fun and happy times together. You're not
like your old self a bit. And you... you're getting so far away from me, I
Oh, Meg. Don't. Don't go and marry that man.
: I don't intend to go and marry any man. And if you mean Mr. Brooke, he
hasn't asked me. But if he should, I shall merely say, quite calmly and
decidedly, "I'm sorry, but I agree with Mother that it's too soon."
: Oh, Meg. Hoorah for you.
: Jo. My hair.
: And then things'll be as they used to be. And now that Father's home,
well
: I'll go. I'll get out of the way. Now don't forget. Oh! If I could only see his
face when you tell him.
: Why, Mr. Brooke.
: Good day, Miss Margaret.
: Won't you come in?
: I I came to get my umbrella. .. er... that is ... that is, to see how your
father finds himself today.
: Why he's here in the rack. I mean, it's very well. I mean I'll tell him
you're here.
: Oh, please. Are you afraid of me, Margaret?
: Why! How could I be, when you've been so kind to father. I only wish I
could thank you for it.

~ 166 ~

MR. BROOKE:
MEG
MR. BROOKE:
MEG
MR. BROOKE:
MEG
MR. BROOKE:
AUNT MARCH
MEG
AUNT MARCH
MEG
AUNT MARCH
MEG
AUNT MARCH

MEG
AUNT MARCH
MEG

AUNT MARCH

MR. BROOKE:
MEG
MR. BROOKE:
MEG
MINISTER

MEG

: You can. Shall I tell you how?


: Oh, no. Oh, please don't.
: I only want to know if you care for me a little, Meg. I love you so much,
dear.
: Oh, thank you, John. But .... I agree with Mother. It's It's too soon.
: I'll wait. I don't mind how long or how hard I have to work, if I can only
know I'm to have my reward in the end. Please. Give me a little hope.
: I'm afraid I can't.
: Do you really mean that?
: Huh? What's this? Footsy, wootsy. Get along. Get along. Shi! Shi! What's
going on here? Who's that?
: Mr. Brooke.
: The Laurence's boy's tutor. Then it's true.
: Shh. Please, Aunt March. He might hear you. And he's been very kind to
father.
: Oh? He has? Well, he'd be much kinder if he'd go about his own business
and leaves you alone.
: Shh.
: I won't stop! I'm only thinking of your own good, Margaret. You should
take a rich man so you can help you family. This person has no money, no
position in life.
: Oh. But that doesn't mean he never will have
: Oh? So he's counting on my money? He knows you've got rich relatives!
: Aunt March! How dare you say such a thing! My John wouldn't marry for
money any more that I would. I'm not afraid of being poor. And I know we
shall be happy, because John loves me, and and I love him.
: Hoity, toity! You remember this, young lady. If you marry this rook, a
hawk, a crook, you take care of you. Not one penny of my money will he
get.
: My darling! Did you mean it?
: John?
: I came back for my umbrella, and I couldn't help hearing. Then you will
give me leave to work for you, and love you.
: Yes, John.
: And there to have given and pledged their troth each to the other. And have
declared the same by giving and receiving a ring, and by joining hands. I
pronounce that they are Man and Wife. In the name of the Father, of the
Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. God, the Father. God, the Son. God, the
Holy Ghost. Bless, preserve, and keep you. That ye may so live together in
this life, that in the world to come, ye may have life everlasting. Amen.
: The first kiss for Marmee.

~ 167 ~

AUNT MARCH : Well, John. You've got a treasure. I hope you you'll take good care of her.
LAURIE
: Good-bye, Amy. Bethy, good-bye. Oh. Don't mind, Jo. You've still go me.
Oh. I'm not good for much, I know. But, I'll stand by you, all the days of
my life.
JO
: I know you will. You don't know what a comfort you are to me, Laurie.
LAURIE
: Jo.
: Oh, no. Laurie. Don't say anything.
JO
LAURIE
: I will. And you must hear me. It's no use, Jo. You've kept away from me,
ever since I got back from College. And I studied so hard. And I got
graduated with Honors. It was all for you.
JO
: I know. And I'm so proud of you.
LAURIE
: Then won't you listen. Please. Oh. I've loved you ever since I've known
you. I couldn't help it. I tried to show it, but you wouldn't let me. But now
I'm going to make you hear and give me an answer for I just can't go on so
any longer. I know I'm not half good enough for you. But, if you love me,
you could make me anything you like.
JO
: As though I'd change you, Laurie. Darling, you should marry... You should
marry some lovely accomplished girl who adores you. Someone who
would grace your beautiful house. I shouldn't. I loathe elegant society, and
you like it. And you hate my scribbling, and I can't get on without it. And
we should quarrel.
LAURIE
: Oh, no, we shouldn't.
JO
: Oh, yes. We always have. And everything would be so horrid if we were
ever foolish enough to ...
LAURIE
: Marry? Oh, no. It wouldn't be, Jo. It'd be heaven. Oh, don't disappoint us,
dear. Don't. Everyone expects it. Grandfather's set his heart on it, and I just
can't go on without you. Please, say you will.
JO
: I can't. Oh, Laurie. I'm sorry. So desperately sorry. I'm so grateful to you,
and so proud, and fond of you. I don't know why I can't love you the way
you want me to. I've tried. But I can't change the feeling. And it'll be a lie
to say I do if I don't.
LAURIE
: Really truly, Jo?
JO
: Really truly, dear. I don't think I'll ever marry.
LAURIE
: Oh, yes. You will. Yes, you will. You'll meet some good-for-nothing, noaccount idiot, and you'll fall in love with him, and work and live and die
for him. I know you will. It's your way. And I'll have to stand by and see it.
Well, I'll be hanged if I do!
JO
: Laurie, where are you going?
LAURIE
: To the devil, and I hope you'll be sorry.
JO
: Laurie, please.
MRS. MARCH
JO

: Jo, why aren't you in bed? It's late.


: Mother. Mother, I I want to go away. I mean, just for a little while. I
~ 168 ~

don't know. I I feel restless, and anxious to be doing something. I'd like
to hop a little way, and try my wings.
Where would you hop?
To New York. Oh, I've thought about it a lot lately. You can spare me now,
and I can go to Mrs. Kirke's and help her with the children for part of my
board. It wouldn't cost much and I'd... I'd see and hear new things and
get get a lot of new ideas for my stories.
I don't doubt it. Jo, nothing's happened between you and Laurie? Don't be
surprised, dear. Mother's have to have sharp eyes, especially when their
daughters keep their troubles to themselves.
Oh, Marmee. I would have told you. Only I thought it would blow over.
And it seemed kind of wrong to tell Laurie's poor little secret. Oh. It's
only that he's got a foolish romantic notion in his head, and I think I
think that if I go away for a time, he may get over it.
I see. And how do you feel about this foolish romantic notion?
I love him dearly, as I always have. And I feel as though I've as though
I've stabbed my dearest friend. And yet, I I don't want to make a
mistake.
You're right, Jo. I think it would be a good idea for both your sakes. Now
come to bed dear. I'll talk to father about it. If he agrees, we'll write to Mrs.
Kirke. Good night.
Good night, Marmee.

MRS. MARCH
JO

:
:

MRS. MARCH

JO

MRS. MARCH
JO

:
:

MRS. MARCH

JO

MRS. KIRKE

: Now, my dear, I think I've told you everything. And it shall be a great load
off my mind knowing the children are safe with you. I'm very busy, so I'll
have Mamie show you to your room. Mamie! I've given you a little inside
room. It's all I have. But it has a table, and you can use it for your writing.
: That's good.
: Mamie! You must come down here some after dinner and be sociable. I
promised your mother I wouldn't let you get homesick. And I've only the
most refined people in my house. Mamie!
: Here I am, Mrs. Kirke.
: Oh, Mamie. This is Miss Josephine. Will you take her up to her room and
find the children.
: Yes. Ma'am.
: I'll see you later, my dear.
: Ah, right this way, please. Children, children. They ain't a bad lot, but all
my stars, they take a deal o' handling. Minnie. Kitty. You heard me. Come
on out. I know where you are.
: (Scream)
: He's gonna get me. He's gonna get me. Eat Mamie, don't eat my baby.
: Professor. Professor.
: Oh. Oh, I beg your pardon, please. I'm so sorry.

JO
MRS. KIRKE

MAMIE
MRS. KIRKE
MAMIE
MRS. KIRKE
MAMIE

CHILDREN
TINA
MAMIE
PROF. BHAER

~ 169 ~

MAMIE
PROF. BHAER
JO
TINA
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

MAMIE
JO
MAMIE

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

: This is Miss. Josephine. What's got you in charge now. And this is
Professor Bhaer.
: How do you do?
: How do you do?
: I want to play some more.
: Oh, that is for Miss Josephine to say. But I'm afraid we frightened her
already.
: Oh, no. But I didn't expect to meet a grizzly bear in the upper hall.
: Ha, ha, ha, yes. Oh, no, no, Mamie, wait, wait. The back is too young to
carry such a heavy load. Come on, children, let's play soldiers. Tina, you're
the general. You are the captain, and here lieutenant. Forward, march. So
we sing the chorus, from Atlanta to the sea, while we are marching to the
linen closet.
: Oh, he's such a lovely man. I know he must have been a gentleman
sometime or other. But he's as poor as a church mouse now.
: What does he do?
: Oh, he's he's a professor, see. You know, learns 'em how they talk in
foreign countries. I don't know what good it does 'em when they're livin'
right here.
: Oh, oh, good evening, my little friend. Good evening.
: Please don't stop. It was beautiful. I've heard you play it often and wanted
to ask you what it was. I'd so like to send it to my little sister.
: "Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt." The words are by Goethe. Do you speak
German? Oh, well, then I better give it to you in English. Let me see now.
Ah, "Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt" Yah, yah, yah. "Only who knows what
longing is can know what I suffer." "" Wei asas ich leide" "Alone and
parted far from joy and gladness. My senses fail. Burning fire devours me".
: My senses fail. A burning fire devours me. I know how he felt.
: Tchaikovsky did also. That's why he wrote this beautiful heart-breaking
music.
: Oh, if only I could write something like that. Something splendid that
would set other hearts on fire.
: That is genius. Ah, you wish to write, my little friend?
: Yes, that's my longing. I've sold two stories already since I've been here.
: Oh, that's very good. I like to read them. May I?
: Oh, would you? I'd so like to know your opinion.
: Oh, I would be very happy. You have that ardent spirit, right? I like that.
: Oh, what shall I ask for at the music shop?
: "Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt".
: "Nur wer diec"
: "Sehnsucht"

~ 170 ~

JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

: "Sehnsucht"
: Haha. I think I better write it down for you. Oh, no. Here is a teacher
without pencil?
: Oh, let me sew that button for you, before you lose it.
: Oh, no. I sew on buttons. I, I
: Not very well, evidently.
: Well,

JO
TINA
JO
TINA
JO
TINA
JO
TINA
JO
TINA

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO
TINA
MAMIE

:
:
:

JO
MAMIE
JO

:
:
:

TINA
JO
MAMIE

:
:
:

JO
MAMIE

:
:

JO
AMY
JO
AUNT MARCH
JO
AUNT MARCH

:
:
:
:
:
:

JO
PROF. BHAER

Who was Goldilocks? A little girl?


Yes.
And she
And she
went into their house.
went into their, into their house.
and saw three chairs.
and saw three chairs.
three chairs.
three chairs. One was a baby one. One was the Daddy one. And one was
the Mommy one.
Uh huh. So she sat down in the big one.
And it was too hard and she
Miss Josephine, you're to go down to the parlor right away. Someone to
see you.
Who is it?
I can't tell you. It's a surprise.
All right, children, that'll be all for today. Now run along and wash your
hands and faces for tea.
I'll tell you the story tomorrow.
All right. Who is it, Mamie?
I can't tell you. It's a surprise. Is these some of your new stories? Oh, they
look creepier than Duke Storber. Can I read them?
Yes, if you want to.
"The Priest of the Coventries" or "the Secret of a Guilty Heart" by
Josephine March.
Then it's true. Amy.
Darling.
Oh, ma
Now, Josephine.
Oh, I'm so glad to see you.
Sit down here.

~ 171 ~

JO
AUNT MARCH
JO
AUNT MARCH
JO

:
:
:
:
:

AMY
JO
AMY

:
:
:

:
JO
AUNT MARCH :

AMY

JO

AUNT MARCH :

Tell me everything.
We can't stop now. We've got to get to the shipping office 'fore it closes.
Shipping office, Aunt March? Europe?
Taking Amy with me. Well, maybe you can go next time.
Next time? Well, tell me, um, is Meg all right and, and Mummy and
father? And how's my Beth?
She's better again but she isn't rosy as she used to be.
Oh, my poor Beth. Why doesn't she get strong? And and Laurie?
Why didn't you see them when they were here? He and his grandfather
have been in Europe for weeks.
Laurie in New York? And didn't come to see me?
I'm sure you can't blame him. After the way you picked up and trotted off
without so much as saying good bye to any of us. I think you've treated
everybody shamefully. Come along, Amy.
Oh, Jo, dear. I I wish it were you. I know how you've always longed to
go.
Oh, no, darling. It's your award. You've always done sweet things to please
Aunt March, and think of all the wonderful things you're going to see. The
'Turner's, and 'LaFiero's, and 'Leonardo's.
Amy, you seem to forget waiting cabs cost money. That's the trouble with
folks who never had anything. Easy come, easy go. Be right back,
Josephine.
Good bye, darling.

JO

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

: Miss Josephine, Miss Josephine.


: Yes, Professor Bhaer.
: I have read your stories, and I would like to return them to you. Will you
please come in?
: Ah, yes. Thank you. Did you like them?
: Well, Miss March, I must be honest. I was disappointed. Why do you write
such artificial characters, such such artificial plots, villains, murderers,
and, and, and such women? Why don't you write a?
: (cries)
: What? Oh, Miss March, please. I'm so sorry now. Oh, I didn't want to hurt
you. I I wanted to help you. What a blundering fool I
: No, it isn't that. Oh, please don't pay any attention to me, please.
: Oh. Forgive me. Now. Please come, sit down. What? Forgive me.
: Oh, no, no. It is just that everything seems to come at once. Oh, the rest
doesn't matter so much. I can bear that. But Laurie, I can never get over
Laurie.
: Oh, herr Laurie. Your friend? Something has happened to him?
: Yes.

JO
PROF. BHAER

JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO

PROF. BHAER
JO

~ 172 ~

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO

PROF. BHAER

JO

PROF. BHAER

JO
PROF. BHAER

JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

: Oh.
: Oh, no, no, no. Something's happened to me. He came to New York and he
didn't even come to see me.
: What a fool he must be!
: Oh, no. No, it's my fault. But I thought that why does it matter what I
thought? I made a mess of it as I do of everything. But I have tried. And
when I think of Aunt March taking Amy to Europe, when she always
promised she'd take me. Not that I begrudge Amy the trip, but... Well, I
suppose that's just what I'm just doing.
: Oh, that trip to Europe. That's you so looked forward to. That is too bad.
That is a cruel disappointment, I know. And on top of it, that stupid
professor comes blundering and makes things worse.
: Oh, no, no. No, if I can't stand the truth, I'm worth anything. Oh, I didn't
think those stories were so very good. But you see, well, the Duke's
Daughter paid the butcher's bill and the Curse of the Coventries was the
blessing of the Marches, because it sent Marmee and Beth to the seashore.
: Yes, that's what I have thought. And then, I had said to myself. I I
maybe have no no right to speak. But then again, I said to myself I
maybe have no right to be silent. For Miss March, you have talent.
: No. Do you really think so?
: Otherwise, I could not say it. And you know it. Und I say to you. Sweep
mud on the street first before you are false to that talent. Say to yourself, "I
will never write one single line which I have not heard in my own heart."
Say to yourself, "While I am young, I will write these simple beautiful
things that I understand now, and, and maybe later, when I'm a little bit
older, and I have, have felt life more, then I will write about these poor
wretches, but I will make them live and and breathe like my
Shakespeare did." Will you do that, my little friend?
: Oh, yes. I'll try, but I don't think I'll ever be a Shakespeare. Do you?
: But you can be a Josephine March. And I assure you that is plenty.
: Ah.
: Oh, and now don't be disappointed about that trip. No. Here.
: Oh, peppermint. Good.
: Those of us who have been all over the old world can find many things
here in the new that are beautiful and young Miss March, it would give
me a great pleasure if I could show you some of these things while you are
here if you would care to have so. And
: Oh, thank you.
: Well, then you are not angry with the blundering professor who takes the
wrong times for his lectures.
: How could I be?
: Auf Wiedersehen, my little friend.

~ 173 ~

Did you really like it?


I've never had so much fun.
I'm so happy, my little friend.
She was divine. I don't want to be a writer any more. I want to be a
wonderful singer. And thrill thousands of people so that they cheer and
throw flowers at me. Like that.
Oh, Bravo, bravo. But I wouldn't make up my mind so soon. Because at the
art museum you wanted to be a sculptor, and at the circus you thought the
bareback rider was the most beautiful thing in the world.
I know but to sing like that. (sings) Oh, I forgot. Oh, there's something
inside me tonight that makes me want to shout.
And what would you shout?
I'd say, "Look at me, world. I'm Jo March, and I'm so happy." Oh.
My little friend so happy. Then you haven't missed much lately your home
and your old friends?
But you, you're responsible for that. Oh, but maybe they haven't missed me
so much, either. They're so busy with Meg and those blessed babies.
Yes, yes. How are those remarkable twins.
Wonderful. Meg is so proud of them. (she sings)
Have you heard from Europe?
Yes. Nearly every boat brings a letter from Amy(she sings)
And your friend? Her Laurie, have you heard from him?
Only through Amy. They met at Vichy and had a wonderful time together.
Miss March, I am going to ask a favor of you. Could you give me the
address of your father? I wish to write him and ask him something.
Why, yes. He'd , he'd be so happy to hear from you. They almost know
you. I've told them all about you and they always ask after you in their
letters.
Oh, really?
Yes. Now I'll show you.
This is so nice. Not, I hope.
It's Beth. She's Oh, I I must go at once.
Oh, my friend, can I do something for you? I am I am sure there is
something I can do.
No, there's, there's nothing. Thank you.

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO

:
:
:
:

PROF. BHAER

JO

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

:
:
:

JO

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

:
:
:
:
:

JO

BETH
JO

: Oh, Jo, to think you're home. If Amy were here, we'd all be together.
: She'll be home in the spring, darling. And I'm going to have you all well
and rosy by then.
: Oh, poor Jo. You mustn't be afraid. Doesn't that sound funny, me saying
that to you, when you've always said it to me. Ah, you've always reminded
me of a sea gull, Jo. Strong and wild, and fond of the wind and storm,

BETH

~ 174 ~

dreaming of flying far out to sea. And Mother always said that I was like a
little cricket, chirping contentedly on the hearth, never able to bear the
thought of leaving home. But now, it's different. I I can't express it very
well. I shouldn't try to. Anyone but you. Because I I can't speak out to
anyone but my Jo. But I'm not afraid any more. I'm learning that I don't
lose you. That you'll be more to me than ever. And nothing can part us.
Though it seems to. Oh, Jo, I think I'll be homesick for you even in
heaven.
BETH
MEG
BETH
MEG
BETH

:
:
:
:
:

JO
MRS. MARCH
MR. MARCH
MRS. MARCH
JO

:
:
:
:
:

Little love.
I'm afraid they're tiring you.
Oh, no.
But it's time for my little regiment to take its nap.
They're sweet. I think I can sleep now. Oh, look, Jo. My birds. They got
back in time.
Bethy, Bethy. Mother!
Bethy.
My daughter.
Bethy, Bethy.
No, no. Marmee. No. We mustn't cry. We must be glad she's well at last.
No, Marmee, don't cry.

AMY
: If only there were another boat leaving sooner.
AUNT MARCH : Now, my dear, you've been so brave. You must be patient. We're going
back on the very first boat. I still think you should obey your mother and
stay.
AMY
: I know, but I'm sick for home, Aunt March. I hate all this now. If it weren't
for this, I'd have been there at least to say good bye. Laurie, Laurie. Oh, I
knew you'd come.
MR. LAURENCE : My child.
AMY
: Mr. Laurence.
LAURIE
: Amy, we were in Germany dear, and Marmee's letter had to be forwarded,
but I came the moment I got it, because, well, you must comfort me now,
too.
AUNT MARCH : I'm thankful you're here. I haven't known what to do with the child.
Perhaps you can persuade her to stay.
JO
MEG
JO
MEG

: Ah, the elegant young matron.


: Hello, Jo, dear. I'm setting off in the little carriage and I'm going to make
some calls.
: And you want me to mind the little demons for you while you are gone?
: No. I want you go with me? Oh, do dear. It's a lovely day and I want to talk

~ 175 ~

with you.
Well, talk to me now. You know I can't bare calls.
How's your story coming?
Sent it off yesterday.
Without us reading it?
Well, you can read it when they send it back.
Oh, Jo, I had a letter from Amy.
So did Marmee.
They're in Val Rosa now, she say it's at a paradise. Jo, I want to ask you
something. I've been wondering. How would you feel if, if you should hear
that your Laurie were learning to care for somebody else?
Meg, who? Amy?
Of course I don't know. I I can't be sure. I'm only reading between the
lines. Then you wouldn't mind?
Oh, no, Meg. How could I. I think it would be wonderful. Don't you?
Yes, but I wasn't quite sure. Oh, forgive me, dear. But, but I have so much
and you, you seem so alone. I thought lately that maybe if Laurie came
back.
Oh, no, no, dear. It's better as it is. And I'm glad if he and Amy are learning
to love each other. Oh, you're right about one thing, though. I am lonely.
And maybe if Laurie had come back, I might have said yes. Not because I
love him any differently, but because well, because it means more to me
now, to be loved, than it used to.

JO
MEG
JO
MEG
JO
MEG
JO
MEG

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO
MEG

:
:

JO
MEG

:
:

JO

JO
LAURIE
JO

: Laurie, oh, my Laurie.


: Oh, Jo, dear. Are you glad to see me?
: Glad? Oh, my blessed boy. Words can't express my gladness. And where's
your wife?
: Oh, they all stopped in at Meg's, but I couldn't wait to see you. They'll be
along presently.
: Oh, let me look at you.
: Oh, don't I look like a married man, and the head of a family? Huh?
: Not a bit. And you never will. Though you have grown bigger and bonnier.
: Ah.
: But you're the same scape grace as ever. Despite that very elegant
mustache, you can't fool me.
: Oh, really, Jo. You ought to treat me with more respect. Really! Ah, Jo,
dear, I want to say one thing and then put it back forever. Ah
: Oh, no, darling, if you I think it has always meant to be. You and Amy.
And it would have come about naturally if only you'd waited.
: As you tried to make me understand.
: But you never could be patient.

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

~ 176 ~

LAURIE
JO

: So then we can go back to the happy old times, the way you wanted, when
we first knew one another.
: No. We, we never can be boy and girl again, Laurie. Those happy old
times can't come back. And we shouldn't expect them to. We're man and
woman now. We can't be playmates any longer. But we can be brother and
sister to love and help one another all the rest of our lives. Can't we,
Laurie? Oh, there they are.

MRS. MARCH : You look very well, Aunt March.


AUNT MARCH : After all the money I've spent on my Rheumatism, I come home on a day
like this.
HANNAH
: Heaven's to Betsy! If she ain't dressed in silk from head to foot.
AMY
: Oh, where is she? Where is Jo? Jo.
JO
: Amy.
LAURIE
: Doesn't she look marvelous, Jo.
AMY
: Poor Jo. I'll never forgive myself for staying away so long and leaving you
to bear everything.
JO
: Darling. To think that only yesterday we were pulling our hair and
buttoning our pinafores. And now she is a grown-up married lady with a
bustle.
AUNT MARCH : Spent all my money and didn't have anything decent to eat the whole time.
MRS. MARCH : You must be famished. I'll help Hannah with tea.
JO
: Oh, no, you won't, Marmee. You'll sit right here. I'll help Hanna.
JO
HANNAH
JO
HANNAH
JO
HANNAH

:
:
:
:
:
:

PROF. BHAER
HANNAH
PROF. BHAER
HANNAH
PROF. BHAER
HANNAH

:
:
:
:
:
:

PROF. BHAER

It's fun, isn't it, Bethy? Now that we're all together again.
Oh, dear. Oh, dear. I've got to get some milk. I got nothing for the baby.
I'll go.
But it's raining cats and dogs.
I love it.
Oh, sakes alive. There's the front door bell.

How do you do? Is this the residence of Miss March?


Oh, yes.
Miss Josephine March?
Yes, yes.
May I speak with her?
Well, she's out. But I'm expecting her back any minute. Would you come
in?
: Thank you, thank you. Oh, no, no, no, thank you. She has guests. No.
Thank you very much. But uh, will you please give this to her and tell that
Professor Bhaer left it. Thank you. Professor Bhaer. Thank you very much.
Good bye.

~ 177 ~

HANNAH
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

JO
PROF. BHAER
JO

: Good bye.
: Oh, Herr Professor.
: My little friend. I I was just here to leave you a book. I wanted to tell
you my friend published it, and, and he has great hope. He thinks it
: Oh, never mind what he thinks. Did you like it?
: Oh, my little friend, it has such truth, such simple beauty. It In English
quick, I cannot tell you what it gives my heart.
: But you were going without telling me. If I hadn't come back, I never
would have seen you again. Oh, but come. You're getting wet.
: I couldn't intrude. You have guests.
: Oh, no, only my family. My sister's just come home. She's married, you
know, with that boy I told you about.
: Herr Laurie?
: Yes.
: Oh.
: It's the first time they've been together for a long time.
: Oh, please, please. Just, just one moment, before. I have a wish to ask you
something. Would you oh I I I have no courage to think that
but but but could I dare hope that I I I know I shouldn't make
so free as to ask. I have nothing to give but my heart so full and...and these
empty hands.
: They're not empty now.
: Oh, dearest.
: Welcome home.

~ 178 ~

Appendix B

Little Women (1949 Script)


JO
MR. EGAN
BETH
JO
BETH
JO
BETH
JO
MEG

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO
AMY

:
:

BETH

JO
BETH

:
:

MEG

JO
AMY

:
:

JO

AMY

JO
MEG
AMY
JO

:
:
:
:

Merry Christmas, Mr. Egan.


Merry Christmas, Jo
Did you hurt yourself, Jo?
No, I never hurt myself.
Where have you been, Jo?
Skating and it was splendid, my Beth.
Look, weve just finished to trim the tree.
Oh, Christmas wont be Christmas without any presents.
Oh, its dreadful to be poor. I especially feel it because I remember when
we used to be rich.
I remember to.
I certainly do not think its fair that certain girls have plenty of lovely
things and other, prettier girls, have nothing at all.
We are better that a lot of people, orphans for instance, we have father
and marmee and each other.
We havent got father and probably wont have him for a long time.
But the men in the army are having such a terrible winter, so I think is
right when marmee said we shouldnt buy each other presents. We have
to make sacrifices.
Im glad to make them. Well, Im tired to make up these dresses year
after year.
At least you are the first to wear them, you are the oldest.
Well, I dont think any of you suffer as I do, you dont have to go to that
horrible school, with those impertinent girls who label your father, just
because hes poor.
If you mean libel, then say so and stop saying label as if father was a
pickle bottle.
I know what I mean and you neednt be statirical about that. Its proper
to use good words and improve ones vocabilary.
Vocabulary, Christopher Columbus, arent we elegant?
Dont use slang words, Jo.
And stop whistling, its so boyish!
Thats why I do it.

~ 179 ~

AMY
JO
BETH
MEG

:
:
:
:

JO

MEG
BETH
JO

:
:
:

MEG
JO

:
:

AMY
JO

:
:

AMY

JO
AMY
JO

:
:
:

AMY
JO

:
:

AMY
JO

:
:

AMY
MEG
AMY
JO
AMY
JO
BETH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:

Oh, I detest rude unladylike girls.


Oh, I hate affected, niminy-piminy chits.
Birds in their little nest agree.
Amy, you are too prim and if you dont take care youll grow up into and
be affected little goose and for you, Jo, now that you turn up your hair,
you should realise that you are a young lady.
No, I'm not. And if turning up my hair makes me one, Ill wear it in two
tails until I'm a ninety. I wont grow up and be miss March. I wont wear
long gowns and look like a China hustler. Oh, Ill never get over my
disappointment in not being a boy. Look at me! Time to go and fight by
fathers side and here I am, sitting here knitting, like a poky old woman.
Knitting? Bless me.
Poor Jo.
Oh, I dont want any pity, because some day I intend to be a famous
writer and make my fortune selling stories. Then I shall live and behave
as I please, with all of you around me and fine carriages and you, my
Beth, youll have a new piano and Meg, youll have thousands off
dresses and satins and dozens of boys to dance with.
I shall like it.
So its no use to cry about, lets rehearse the play. Beth, play something,
Amy Ive written a new scene for you, its wonderful.
Oh no!
Oh, its easy, all you have to do is shout Roderigo! Roderigo! Save me!
And faint.
Roderigo! Save me! And faint. Oh, I can do that. And my costume too,
its absolutely plain with all the colours of the rainbow on it.
Impossible.
Why? Im a princess, am I not?
Yes, you are a princess but you dont know it, you think you are a
servant and you are working for Beth, I mean, Edgarda, the witch.
A princess always know she is a princess.
Well, you dont. Look, Beth has just left the stage with a kettle of
simmering tools, you are locked in the tower, suddenly the villain, Hugo,
enters and you cry in horror Roderigo, Roderigo, save me and faint.
Then Meg, Roderigo...
Meg Roderigo? I thought Meg was Don Pedro, my father.
She is, but you dont know it, Amy, I told you a thousand of times that
till the end you dont have the slightest idea who you are.
Well, does Meg know?
Of course I do.
And I want to know too! Why should I be so ignorant?
Simply because if you know the play is over.
Its too long anyway.
Amy, please, after all its my play.
Jo is a regular Shakespeare.

~ 180 ~

JO
HANNAH
AMY
HANNAH

MEG
HANNAH
JO
HANNAH
JO
HANNAH
JO
HANNAH
AMY
HANNAH

JO
HANNAH
GIRLS
JO
MEG
JO
MEG
JO
MEG
JO
MEG
JO
MEG
JO
JO
AMY
JO

AMY

: Oh, its nothing really. Now, ready. Are you ready? Im Roderigo and I
come in, and with wicked intentions I say ah ah.
: Ah, come and get your tea girls.
: Dont we have coffee anymore?
: Oh because its scarce and dear. Ships are needed in the war, they have
no time to go to Brazil and take back coffee for miss Amy March. And
some folks seem to have nothing better to do that to pry into other folks
business.
: Who is it, Hannah?
: The Laurence boy.
: What Laurence boy?
: Mr. Laurences grandson.
: Ah, I didnt know the old fusspot had a grandson.
: He just came last week, and form what I can find out he must be a fine
one.
: Why? Whats he done?
: First, he ran away from school.
: Thats the bravest thing Ive ever heard of.
: They couldnt trace him anywhere and when they find him he was in an
army hospital wounded. He joined up under another name and lied about
his age.
: How perfectly splendid! I should like to do the same.
: Fine soldier youd make.
: Jo!
: Its our private property and I can look out of it as much as I like.
: You are every bit as bad as he is.
: Where he is.
: Amy, Beth, stand back a little.
: Well, Im glad hes a boy. Certainly I would like to know a boy for a
change and have a little fun.
: Dont say such things.
: I wonder how to get to know him. I wish our cat gets lost and he bring
him back.
: I dont think thats very romantic.
: Who said anything about romance? Hello! Hello!
: Jo, you are disgracing us!
: That dreadful boy he waved back.
: Im Hugo, ah ah. Amy, you are supposed to draw back in horror, now
cover up your eyes with your hands.
: Roderigo! Roderigo! Save me!
: Amy! Amy! Watch me do it. Roderigo! Roderigo! Save me! And faint.
Oh, nothing really. Now, here I come again with wicked intentions. Im
Hugo, ah ah, here I come with wicked intentions ah ah.
: Roderigo! Roderigo! Save me! Save me! Save me!

~ 181 ~

MRS. MARCH
GIRLS
BETH
MEG
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH
MEG

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MRS. MARCH
MEG

:
:

BETH
MRS. MARCH
AMY
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:
:

JO

MRS. MARCH
AMY
MRS. MARCH
GIRLS
MRS. MARCH
JO
BETH
AMY
AUNT MARCH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

GIRLS
MRS. MARCH
AUNT MARCH
JO
AUNT MARCH

:
:
:
:
:

MEG
AUNT MARCH
JO
AUNT MARCH
BETH
AUNT MARCH
AMY
AUNT MARCH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

AMY

Glad to find you so merry, my girls.


Marmee!
We finished decorating the three.
Have you had your supper, marmee.
Give me another kiss, Beth baby. Jo, you look tired to death.
Oh, Im all right.
And hows your cold, Meg?
Oh, its practically gone and I went to Mrs. King about the position, she
is going to take me and I start Monday for four dollars a week.
Oh, Meg, Im proud of you.
They have a beautiful house, the children are sweet, marmee, I dont
mind working at all.
Wear these, marmee, they are nice and warm.
Thank you, Beth dear.
Ill rob them for you.
Oh dear, the army is so short of blankets, we start cutting up carpets
today.
I wouldnt mind sleeping on a carpet, if they only let me do something.
Oh, Ill make a wonderful nurse, or a drummer.
Jo dear, get my mop, I have a surprise for you.
Surprise for Jo?
For all of you.
A letter! A letter from father.
I sent you a little Christmas message whos that?
Sounds like dear old aunt March.
Yes, its her sledge.
Good evening, aunt March.
Not at all, miss, not at all, its freezing cold and you havent shovelled
the path to the door, I might have slipped.
Merry Christmas, aunt March.
It was nice of you to come.
Yes, it was nice of me to come.
Come by the fire.
Thank you, Ive a fire at home, where I should be this minute. Ive only
come to bring you these. Meg.
Thank you, aunt March.
Jo.
Thank you, aunt March.
Beth.
Thank you, aunt March.
Amy. Wheres Amy?
Here I am, aunt March.
What are you doing back there? I dont like people sneaking about, come
to the open, I always say.
Thank you, aunt March.

~ 182 ~

JO
AUNT MARCH

: Well, when I was a girl, I used to visit my aunts to wish them merry
Christmas, they didnt visit me. See that you spend it wisely.
: Weve planned to visit you tomorrow, auntie.
: You never know if there will be a tomorrow. Have you heard form that
foolish father of yours, who goes to the war and leaves others to take care
of his family? It isnt preachers who is going to win this war, its fighters.
: Were very proud of father and you should be too. And theres nobody
looking after us.
: Jo!
: Hoity-toity!
: Would you like some tea, auntie?
: No, if your father had listen to me, youd be better off today. I begged
him not to invest his money with that swindler, when I looked at him I
knew that he would have taken a penny off a dead mans eyes.
: That was years ago and has nothing to do with now and it was our money
who got lost anyway.
: Dont be impertinent, miss. Its a waste of time to talk to you, nobody
listens to me, anyhow. Merry Christmas.
: Merry Christmas, Aunt March.
: Aunt March, you still want me to work for you, dont you?
: Fine time to ask me.
: Id like to be your companion.
: A companion should be companionable.
: I will, Im willing to bury the hatches.
: Very well then, come over after the holidays. Nine oclock sharp and
bring an apron.
: Thank you auntie. Merry Christmas, aunt March.
: Merry Christmas.

GIRLS
JO
MEG
AMY
MRS. MARCH
BETH
JO
MRS. MARCH

: Look! Its a dollar!


: How splendid, now I can buy the Black Revenge.
: Oh, and Ive been longing for a bonnet with a feather.
A nice box of drawing pencils for me.
: And what will you do with your dollar, Bethy?
: Ill buy some new music.
: Can we go now, marmee?
: Yes.

MR. GREY

: Maybe Ill close up, before somebody comes in and wants to buy
something.
: Merry Christmas, Mr. Grey.
: Oh, your shop is just beautiful.
: Howdy.
: We each have a dollar to spend.
: Now, I would like to take a look at your drawing pencils.

AUNT MARCH
MRS. MARCH
AUNT MARCH

JO
MRS. MARCH
AUNT MARCH
MRS. MARCH
AUNT MARCH

JO
AUNT MARCH
GIRLS
JO
AUNT MARCH
JO
AUNT MARCH
JO
AUNT MARCH

GIRLS
AMY
MR. GREY
JO
AMY

~ 183 ~

And I would like the Black Revenge.


Is that the book you were reading the other day?
Yes, thats the one.
Then, youd better get another, you almost finished that one sitting right
there on that ladder.
Im looking for a bonnet, Mr. Grey, velvet, with a dashing feather, and a
rose too, and a wisp of a veiling and an ornamental bow here, for a
dollar.
Sure, do you? Over that shelf.
Thank you, Mr. Grey.
Now, what will you have? Whats the matter, have you lost your tongue?
No, sir, she is overcome with temerity, she would like the music, all she
can get for a dollar.
Over there, on that table.
I would like a dollar of drawing pencils, wrapped, please, and would you
tide them with a red ribbon?
A red ribbon? All right.
Oh, thank you.
Red ribbon. Thats the Black Revenge, Miss Josephine?
No, Ive finished it, gone thou while I was waiting.
Oh, I hope you like it.
But I didnt, the end was weak.
The Dukes Bride, if you dont like it when youve read, bring it back.
Thank you, I will.
I decided on this one.
Oh, yes, have you?
Here is you fine, Mr. Grey.
Fine.
Thank you, Mr. Grey, merry Christmas.
Oh, just a minute,
Thank you Mr. Grey.
Thank you Mr. Grey.
Thank you Mr. Grey.
Thank you.
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.

JO
MR. GREY
JO
MR. GREY

:
:
:
:

MEG

MR. GREY
MEG
MR. GREY
AMY

:
:
:
:

MR. GREY
AMY

:
:

MR. GREY
AMY
MR. GREY
JO
MR. GREY
JO
MR. GREY
JO
MEG
MR. GREY
BETH
MR. GREY
GIRLS
MR. GREY
JO
BETH
AMY
MEG
GIRLS
MR. GREY

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MRS. MARCH

: To my loving wife and children, give my girls love and a kiss, tell them
I think of them by day, pray for them by night and find my best comfort
in their affection at all times. I know that theyll remember all I said, and
theyll be loving children to you, theyll work diligently, so these hard
times wont be wasted, fight their bosom enemies bravely, and conquer
themselves so beautifully, that when I come back to them I may be
fonder and prouder than ever of my little women."
: Maam.

HANNAH

~ 184 ~

BETH
JO

: Yes, Hannah
: A message from poor Mrs. Hummels, maam, she wants to know can you
come.
: Right away. Can you get my boots, Amy, please. My wraps, Jo? Good
night, my children.
: Good night, marmee.
: Dont wait up for me, I might be late.
: Night.
: Marmee really ought to have a new pair of slippers.
: Well, Im the man of the family, while paps away ,so Ill supply this
: Beth though about this first.
: And Ill buy her army shoes, best to be had.
: And I shall get her a nice pair of gloves, pink one.
: A little bottle of cologne from me, she likes it. It wont cost much, and
maybe I can keep my pencils.
: But, Jo, wont the store be closed?
: Well storm and set it open.

AMY
JO
BETH
AMY
JO

:
:
:
:
:

Has anybody seen my clothes peg?


No one has taken your cloths pin anywhere, you ask every night
You probably put it under your bed.
No, its not here, I looked.
Its marmee, scuttle girls!

JO
MEG
AMY
BETH
AMY
HANNAH
GIRLS
BETH
JO
HANNAH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

BETH
AMY
JO
MEG
HANNAH

:
:
:
:
:

JO
HANNAH
BETH
AMY

:
:
:
:

Christopher Columbus!
Kidney pie and sausage!
Popover and coffee!
And everything.
Oh, its nearly a year I had a popover.
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas, Hannah
The table is beautiful, Hannah.
Hannah, you do beat the Dutch
I dont see what is this all fuss about, I remember when I used to serve
breakfast like this every day.
We must have been enormously rich.
Tell me, Hannah, how was I dressed when we had all that money?
In diapers.
Amy, wait for marmee!
Mum says no, you have your breakfast and go to church, shell meet you
there.
Why, where is she?
At the Hummels. Mrs. Hummel had her baby, early this morning.
Another baby?
Oh, popovers.

MRS. MARCH
HANNAH
MRS. MARCH
GIRLS
MRS. MARCH
GIRLS
BETH
JO
MEG
JO
MEG
AMY

~ 185 ~

JO
BETH
MEG
JO
MEG
AMY
BETH

: One baby after another, six children frozen, huddled in one bed, no fire in
the stove, so your mum took her breakfast to them. Not that there was
enough to go around. Believe in charity, but after all, when you cook this
meals once in a blue moon, youd like to see it enjoyed. Besides, we
dont have anything to spare.
: You are absolutely right, Hannah.
: Whats the matter, Beth?
: Im not hungry.
: Oh, Beth, people are starving everywhere everyday. If you are going to
let that worry you, youll never eat at all.
: I try not to think about it.
: Those people are far away and we dont know them. But the Hummels
are near and we do know them
: You are not thinking of giving our breakfast to the Hummels. Oh, no,
you couldnt think a thing like that?
: I could.
: So could I.
: Well either all of us do it or none of us.
: Fine, well vote.
: Thats fair.
: All right, but I insist on secret voting.
: Oh, Amy.

JO
AMY
JO
LAURIE
JO
AMY
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO
MR. BROOKE
JO

:
:
:

MR. BROOKE
JO

:
:

MEG
JO
MR BROOKE
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:
:
:

HANNAH

AMY
JO
BETH
MEG
AMY
JO
AMY

Ill carry the popovers, you take the milk.


Not at all. Ill carry them.
Ill carry them
You drop this, maam.
Thank you, sir.
Come on, Josephine!
You live next door, dont you?
Yes, I do. My name is Theodore Laurence and this is John Brooke, my
tutor.
How do you do?
How do you do?
Im Jo March and id like you to meet my sisters. Thats Meg and the
other two off the road are Beth and Amy.
How do you do? (to Meg)
We know all about you, you know, about how you ran away to join the
army! Oh, Id have done the same in your place! And you are both in the
same regiment which is splendid!
Josephine, come on, please!
Well, bye!
Goodbye.
Bye.
Goodbye, Miss March.

~ 186 ~

MEG
JO
MEG
JO
MEG
JO
MEG
JO

: What would they think, stopping and talking without having met them
properly.
: I dont care. Anyway, you werent very friendly, you didnt even say
how do you do.
: I didnt like the way that men stared at me.
: What men? Oh, Mr. Brooke. I didnt notice.
: Well, I did. Hes still looking.
: Who?
: Mr. Brooke. Dont look back!
: Who? Me?

JO
LAURIE
JO

: One for you, one for you, and one for me, isnt that fun? One for you,
one for you, one for you and one for me.
:
: Hello! Hustle yourself and come and help me!
: I cant, I have the quincey.
: Oh, what a shame!
: Oh, it isnt contagious! I I can have visitors. I dont know anyone,
though.
: Well, you know me!
: Would you care to come over and keep me company?
: Marmee!

JO
SERVANT
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

:
:
:
:

LAURIE

JO

AMY

JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

Miss March calling on Mr. Laurence the young one.


Will you come in , Miss March?
Thank you, I will.
Hello, Miss March.
Hello.
Let me take your coat.
Thank you. This is purple mange, its soft and it will slide down easily.
Thank you.
Well, Ive come to entertain you, Ill read aloud and you can listen. I do
love to read aloud.
Well, Id rather just talk, if you dont mind.
Oh, no, I love to talk too.
Very well.
Christopher Columbus! What richness! Why, this is a palace! Oh, its
marvellous! So roomy and so so full of things! Oh, and look at the
flowers, they are lovely, absolutely lovely. I call it a splendour, I really
do! Theodore Laurence, you ought to be the happiest creature alive!
Oh it just looks like a room to me and it certainly doesnt make me
happy. Lets have some tea, how many lumps?
One please. Ehm.. Three. Well, Mr. Laurence, now, do tell me all about
yourself, of course I know everything about your school and the army
and everything, but before then what?

~ 187 ~

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

:
:
:
:

LAURIE
JO

:
:

LAURIE
JO

:
:

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO
LAURIE
JO

:
:
:

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

:
:
:
:

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:

Well, I used to live in Europe with my parents


Europe! Im going to Europe, you know!
Really? When?
Well, I dont know exactly. You see, my aunt March, I just started to
work for her as companion, oh! And what a nervous, fidgety soul she is
too, well, anyway, my aunt March has rheumatism and the doctor
thought, baths! Oh, not that she hasnt got a bath, she has a very nice
one. Did you get any bath, while you were there Mr. Laurence? I mean,
for your rheumatism?
Oh, I havent got rheumatism.
Neither have I, but aunt says baths couldnt do me any harm, that is to
say, while I was there. Because Ive always wanted to go to Europe, not
for the baths of course, not at all, but for my writing. Its so good for
writers. You see, aunt March, oh, but you dont know aunt March. What
were you going to say, Mr. Laurence?
I wasnt going to say anything, but Im not Mr. Laurence, Im Laurie.
Well, Laurie, well How are you getting on with your grandfather,
Laurie?
Oh, fine, fine. Once you got used to him. Well, he is he is all right.
Yes, I know.
Isnt he a holy terror?
You ought to see my aunt March.
Oh, that looks too good to me.
Oh, it is, Meg did it. She is the oldest.
She is? Brooke and I were wondering
Why? I mean, why should he wonder?
Why, he seems quite taken with your sisters beauty and he wonders if
there was anybody well, that is, anybody she liked.
Did he ask you to find out?
No, no I just
Will you tell him that we dont like anyone in our house, that is we like a
great many people, but we dont like young man, oh, we like young men
too, but we dont like young men who wonder about who else we like.
Meg is too young and far too clever to wonder about who wonders about
her. Its ridiculous, its all ridiculous.
Youre on fire!
Fire! Oh! Oh, clumsy of me!
Sorry, I didnt mean to hurt you.
Oh, oh, thats the second dress Ive scorched this week. You see, I like to
toast myself and I get too close. I think Id better go home.
Oh, please, please, dont go home, its as dull as tombs in here.
Is that why you stand at your window looking in at us?
Oh, its rude of me, I know. But you always seem to have a good time
and when the lamps are lighted its like looking at a picture to see all of
you gathered there around the fire with your mother.

~ 188 ~

JO
LAURIE
JO

LAURIE
JO

MR. LAURENCE
JO
MR. LAURENCE
JO
MR. LAURENCE
JO
MR. LAURENCE
JO
LAURIE
MR. LAURENCE

: Where is your mother?


: Oh, she died in France, shortly after my father.
: Im sorry, truly. And I give you leave to look at us whenever you like,
only why dont you come over? And youd be part of the picture. And
marmee is so splendid.
: Grandfather mightnt approve, you see, he doesnt believe in being
neighbourly. He says i was imposing.
: Oh bilge! He looks grim, all right. I can see how his face might frighten a
lot of people, but I cant imagine being afraid of him, of course, every
time Ive ever seen him, he has been barking at something. Somehow,
I I rather like him.
: Oh! Thank you, maam. And you think my face frightens people, do
you?
: Yes, sir, frankly I do. You understand, I dont think you mean to frighten
them, but your face well, you asked me, sir, and yes, I do think so.
: And I bark, do I?
: Ive heard you bark, yes, sir, perhaps you dont bark all the time, but you
bark, yes, sir.
: And with all that, you rather like me, do you?
: Yes, I do, I really do, in spite of everything.
: And I like you. Will you have a cup of tea?
: Oh, thank you, I had one and I was just going.
: Ill walk home with you.
: Oh, no, no, young man, you are staying indoor today, I will see Miss
March home, I want to pay my respects to your mother, Im afraid Ive
neglected my neighbourly duties too long.

CHILDREN
MR. DAVIS
GIRL 1
GIRL 2
MR. DAVIS
AMY

:
:
:
:
:
:

MR. DAVIS
AMY
MR. DAVIS
AMY
MR. DAVIS
AMY
MR. DAVIS
AMY
MR. DAVIS
AMY
MR. DAVIS

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

(They sing)
Class is dismissed.
I hoper thisll teach her a lesson.
Thatll teach her not to cut up didos.
Amy March, you may close the door.
Mr. Davis, if I solemnly promise not to draw anymore on my slate, when
I am supposed to do something, may I go?
Have I your promise?
Yes, sir.
Very well, give me your slate.
Oh, no.
Your slate, Miss March.
I beg of you.
The slate. Did you draw this, Miss March?
II think so.
Give me the ruler. Hold out your hand. Higher, higher.
Im ready, Mr. Davis.
You may go, Miss March

~ 189 ~

AMY
GIRL 1
GIRL 2
GIRL 3
AMY

:
:
:
:
:

Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, Mr. Davis.


What did he do?
What did he say?
Did he punish you some more? Tell us!
He didnt do anything. I merely told him how my mother will most
certainly take me out of this miserable school, when I tell her how I have
been humiliated. I told him I could not stay to discuss with him, as I have
to prepare for the ball Im attending tonight, which is being given in my
honour by Mr. James Laurence, the millionaire. I told him I could not
stand the deggaradation to be forced to attend a school with a lot of hill
mannered girls, who stitch their silly nose into refined, elegant peoples
business.

MEG
AMY
JO
BETH
JO
MEG
JO
AMY
MRS. MARCH
GIRLS
JO
MRS. MARCH
HANNAH
MEG
MRS. MARCH
MEG
MRS. MARCH
AMY
MRS. MARCH
HANNAH
BETH
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

BETH
JO

:
:

MEG
JO
AMY
JO
HANNAH
MEG

:
:
:
:
:
:

Oh, dear, it shows. I dont know what you are going to do.
Ill mend it right here, I can do it with just a few strokes of the brush.
Splendid! Ill stick on every chair in the place.
I thought if I pin this bow over it.
A bow? There?
Im sorry, Jo, but youll have just to sit on it.
Sitting on one patch all evening.
She can stand if she keeps her back to the wall.
Youd better hurry, girls.
Coming, marmee.
Oh, how I hate to be elegant.
Oh, the dress is lovely, Meg.
Just lovely.
Oh, thank you, marmee, for lending me your laces and pearls.
They are old, but you are young and very pretty
Oh, thank you, marmee.
Amy, you are perfect.
Thank you, marmee.
And Bethy.
Isnt she the pretty one.
Marmee, do I really have to go? Therell be all those people.
Oh, youll hurt Lauries feelings, if you stays at home and he has been so
kind. Besides, dear Beth, you must learn not to be afraid of people.
All right, marmee.
Well, my shoes are too tight and I have nineteen hairpins sticking in my
hade and a patch on the back and I feel dreadful
Where are your gloves?
Here, they are stained with lemonade. I think Id better not to wear them.
But you must, you can tell a lady by her gloves.
Not this lady.
A lady bare-handed?
You have to have gloves, you cant dance without them.

~ 190 ~

MEG
AMY
BETH
JO
AMY

: Ah, I cant dance and keep my back to the wall, anyway. Ill crumple
them up in my hand.
: Well, here is one of my nice one, and Ill carry one of your ruined ones.
: All right.
: Dont stretch it, your hands are bigger than mine. Well, good night,
marmee.
: Good night, dear.
: Good night.
: Good night.
: Good night.
: Dont eat too much, wait till youre asked. Dont be afraid, Bethy. Have
you all got clean handkerchiefs?
: And dont put your hands behind your back or stare.
: And dont stride about and swear, youll disgrace us.
: And dont say Christopher Columbus.
: Ill be prim as a dish. Lets be elegant or die.
: Oh, so boyish.

BETH
AMY
BETH
AMY

:
:
:
:

BETH
AMY

:
:

MAN
JO
MAN
MR. LAURENCE
AMY
MR. LAURENCE
AMY

:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MR. LAURENCE
AMY
MR. LAURENCE
AMY
MR. LAURENCE
AMY

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO
MEG
JO
MEG
MRS. MARCH
GIRLS
MRS. MARCH
HANNAH
MRS. MARCH

AMY

MR. LAURENCE :
AMY
:

Thats the biggest piano I ever saw, its bigger that our kitchen.
Meg is still dancing with Mr. Brooke.
I bet she is getting dizzy.
You dont get dizzy when you are looking straight into your partners
eyes.
Why not?
Well Because you dont see anything else. You dont see all that stuff
fooling around.
May I engage you for this dance, Miss March. Do say yes.
Thank you, no, I dont care for dancing.
Im enthusiastic for it.
Well, what are you doing up there behind that palm?
Oh, theres nobody behind that palm.
Why arent you dancing?
Mother thinks Im too young to dance. Besides, Id rather be with my
sister than mingle with the crowd. That is, if she were here.
But she cont see anything from there.
Oh, she doesnt want to see much, she likes to listen to the music.
Well, come on out and sit where youll ear it better. Whats the matter?
She has in infirmity.
Oh.
Shes shy.
Oh, I see, I see.
If it werent for that, she will be simple fastidious, for she is a real artist
and plays the piano beautifully.
Oh, she should come over here and play something.
Oh, shell never do that. She doesnt play for people, just for herself.

~ 191 ~

MR. LAURENCE : Oh, I wasnt going to listen to her, its just that that piano is going to ruin
for want of use. Im hoping that someone comes and practice on it, just to
keep it in tune, you know. Oh, if no one care to come, never mind.
BETH
: Someone cares, very, very much
MR. LAURENCE : So, you are the musical young lady. I didnt realise that you heard what I
was saying.
AMY
: I heard, sir, Im Beth and Ill come, if nobody will ear me and be
disturbed.
MR. LAURENCE : Not a soul, not a soul, my dear. And you come too, and tell you mother
that I think that her daughters are simply fastidious.
AMY
: Beth, isnt he perfectionary.
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO
LAURIE
BETH
AMY

:
:
:
:

LAURIE

JO
MRS.
GARDINER

:
:

MRS.
GARDINER
SALLY
MRS.
GARDINER
JO
LAURIE
BETH
JO
AMY
JO

This is the third polka and Im hanged, if Ill let you refuse again.
Please, dont ask anymore.
Why not? Dont you like to dance.
I love to, only I promised I wouldnt.
Oh, of all the silly Why?
Why? Look!
Again? I have an idea, come on, come on. You see theres noone in here
and we can dance to our hearts content.
Christopher Columbus, we are betrayed.
What you girls take to keep our secret? Money or refreshments?
Thank you, we dont really care for anything ouch!
We just had a light supper at home because we knew the refreshments
here would Well, its true.
Im glad you changed your mind. Come along, Jo, well bring them
something.
Hello, Sally. Good evening, Mrs. Gardiner. Isnt it a beautiful party?
Laurie, my dear boy, have you met my Sally?

: Oh, yes, of course, many times. Excuse us, please


: Rude, absolutely rude. Thats what comes of his running arund with that
Josephine March. I suppose set her cap for him.
: What would you expect with four girls in a family, one of them has to
marry for money, since they have none of their own.
: I think Mr. James Laurence will have to say something about that. Im
sure he has other ideas for the boy. Of course, it will be a triumoph for
Mrs. March. I must say she is managing the affair very well.
: Bethy, what happened? Whats the matter?
: Look, I brought you a beautiful lemonade.
: I want to go home.
: What happened?
: We cant tell you now, not in front of him. She wants to go home, she
had a dreadful shock.
: Will you ask Meg to come.

~ 192 ~

LAURIE
MR. BROOKE
LAURIE
MEG
MEG
JO
MEG
JO
AMY
JO
AMY
BETH
MEG
JO
MRS. MARCH
JO
GILRS
AMY
BETH
AMY
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH

JO
MRS. MARCH
JO

: Of course.
: But some day, when I come back, I hope to settle down in Concord. You
see, Mr. Laurence promised...
: Im sorry to interrupt you, but Jo asked to fetch you, Miss Meg. I believe
its an emergency.
: Oh, will you excuse me, please?
: It would only upset marmee, if we torld her. And theres nothing she can
do about it.
: Oh, of all base, vulgar, slanders.
: Jo, we know, doesnt do any good to swear about it.
: But, we can keep it from marmee, so take on oath never to tell marmee or
anybody else.
: Horrible Mrs. Gardiner, insulting all of us, and before we had our
refreshments.
: Stop thinking of your stomach and take your oath.
: I swear.
: So do I.
: And I.
: I solemnly vow never to breath a word to a living soul until death.
: Bed, girls.
: By the way, marmee.
: Yes, marmee.
: Here, Beth, you take it.
: Oh, thank you, Amy. You are going to have a lovely nose, some day,
Amy.
: Yes, I know
: Good night, dear.
: Good night, marmee. Marmee! You dont have any plans for us, do you?
: Plans?
: You know, like some other mothers have for their daughters. Like
wanting us to marry some rich men or something?
: Yes, Jo, I have great many plans. I want you all to be beautiful,
accomplished and good. I want you to be loved, admired and respected. I
want you to live pleasant and useful lives. And I pray the Lord to send
you as little sorrows as he sees fit. Of course, Im ambitious for you, of
course Id like to see you marry rich men, if you love them. Im no
different from other mothers, but Id rather see you as the happy wives of
poor men or even respectable old maids, than queens on trones, without
peace or self-respect.
: Oh, Im never going to get married, never, never.
: Arent you, my Jo. Go to sleep, now.
: And yet he whispered, when the gondola went through the faithful
waters, the same waters still run crimson with the blood of lady Biella

~ 193 ~

BETH
JO
BETH
JO
BETH
JO
BETH
JO
BETH
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

BETH
JO
BETH
JO
BETH
JO
BETH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO
BETH
JO
BETH
JO

:
:
:
:
:

BETH
JO

:
:

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO

and her gallant lover, slanted by the fathomed hand. The end.
Jo! Jo!
Yes, Beth. Come in.
Whats the matter, Jo?
My story.
Poor Jo, isnt it any good?
Its wonderful.
Oh. Laurie is waiting downstairs for you.
Oh, bilge, I told him not to bother me.
He said he is going to wait till you come down.
Let him. I wish he realises I havent time for his nonsense. Whats in that
package.
Slippers, I made them.
What for?
A gentleman.
A gentleman? Whats the matter with everybody in this family?
Oh, this is an old gentleman.
Father? He wont wear those in the army.
Father isnt old. They are for Mr. Laurence, he has been so kind about
letting me play on that lovely piano. And in all the weeks Ive been going
there, I havent seen him.
Say, isnt this Amys hair-ribbon?
Yes, but I thing she was going to throw it away.
You think? Youre a champ.
Is your story finished, Jo? Can I read it?
Not now, Beth, but keep your finger crossed and maybe youll read it in
print
Oh, what will I tell Laurie.
Oh, tell him I went up in smoke.

Did you have a bad time?


Not very.
You got trough quickly.
Yes, thank goodness.
Why did you go alone?
Didnt anyone to know.
Oh, you are the oddest fellow I ever saw. How many did you have out?
How many what did I have out?
Teeth, of course.
Christopher Columbus, is that what you thought.
What is it, then?
Secret.
Well, I thought were not going to have any secrets with each other.
Thats a girls of you.
: Oh, bilge, this is different.

~ 194 ~

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

LAURIE

JO

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

LAURIE

JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
MR. BROOKE
MEG
MR. BROOKE

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

All right, keep your secret, Ive Ive got one, too.
What? Something plumy?
Something very plumy. You tell me yours and I tell you mine.
All right, here, read for yourself.
Paid to Josephine March one dollar. For what?
Well, tear it over.
In full payment for her story entitled A Phantom Hand
Well, what do you think of that?
One dollar?
Oh, well, it isnt much, perhaps, but someday Ill get as high as ten
dollars.
Jo, I I just dont understand you, hooping yourself up in a garret,
missing a lot of fun with me, working and for what? For one miser, little
dollar.
Its not for the dollar, at least thats thats not all of it, well, its it
will be in print and I wrote it and people will read it, people Ive never
even seen.
Well, anyway I I know were Megs glove is.
Is that you secret?
Wait till you know where it is.
Well, where is it?
In a certain pocket.
Whose?
Brookes. Isnt that romantic?
No, its horrid.
You dont like it?
Its ridiculous, of all the sickly, sentimental rubbish, Im disgusted, I
wish you havent told me. Im glad Meg doesnt know about it, shell be
furious, she doesnt care about such stuff, let me tell you, she is perfectly
happy with the way things are. Youd better tell Mr. Brooke to keep
away from us, or Ill let him know what I think of him. Trying to break
up my family.
Oh, youll feel differently, Jo, when someone falls in love with you, on a
soft summer day, the sun setting through the trees and your lover's arms
steeling around you.
Ah, Id like anyone try it.
Would you? Ehi! Ill get you.
If you can get me.
Oh, yes I can. Ehi!
Meg, open the gate quick.
Id have caught you, if I hadnt fallen.
Oh, you should have seen Laurie, when he
Hello, Miss Jo. Thank you for the afternoon, Meg.
Thank you, John. Paying visits has never been quite so much fun before.
I hope we can do it again soon.

~ 195 ~

Goodbye, Mr. Brooke. Come along, Meg.


Goodbye, John.
Goodbye, Meg.
Well, goodbye, Jo. What are you mad at me for?
Ive never been so embarrassed in all my life. When are you going to
stop your romping rude ways.
Not till Im old and stiff and need a crutch. Dont try to make me grow
up before my time. Its hard enough having you changed all of a sudden.
I havent changed, but its time you had. Look at you, no hairpins no
combs running down a public road.
I wish I was a horse.
Oh.
Jo... Jo... Jo.
Beth, oh, Beth.
Whats the matter, Jo?
Promise me Beth that youll never leave us, promise youll always be our
Beth.
Come in! Hurry! Come on!
For me?
All for you, my precious.
We havent opened it, read it! Read it!
You you read it, Jo, I cant.
Miss March, dear madam.
How elegant!
I have had may pairs of slippers in my life, but I have never any that
suited me so well as yours. I like to pay my debts, so I know you will
allow the old gentleman to send you something that once belonged to the
little granddaughter he lost. With hearty thanks and best wishes. I remain
your grateful friend and humble servant, James Laurence."
Oh, humble servant, wait till I tell to the girls at school.
Look at the calendar brackets and the silk.
Go on , honey, try it, lets hear the sound of the baby-piano.
I I have to go and thank him, Ill go now.
The piano has changed her head. She'd never gone in her right mind.

JO
MEG
MR. BROOKE
LAURIE
MEG

:
:
:
:
:

JO

MEG

JO
MEG
BETH
JO
BETH
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:

GIRLS
BETH
MRS. MARCH
AMY
BETH
JO
AMY
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

AMY
MEG
HANNAH
BETH
HANNAH

:
:
:
:
:

BETH

: I.. I came to thank you. I came to thank you, sir.

HANNAH
MRS. MARCH
MEG
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:
:

JO

: He is in an army hospital in Washington and marmee wants to leave on


the four oclock train. She is packing and she sent me to ask your help.
We need 25 dollars for the fair.

Miss March! Miss march! Its one of those telegram things!


Its father.
Oh, marmee.
He is in a hospital in Washington. I must go there at once.

~ 196 ~

AUNT MARCH

JO
AUNT MARCH
JO

AUNT MARCH

: I begged him not to go in the first place, but nobody listens to me, not
until they get into trouble, then they come. Aunt March has a large
pocket book.
: Oh Aunt March, whats the use of all that now, its two oclock and
: Just like your father, always interrupting, refusing to listen, but you will
listen this time
: No, I wont. I only came here because marmee said she is not too proud
to beg for father, well, I am I am too proud to beg for anyone. Id
rather sweep the streets than ever come to you again.
: Stubborn, obstinate, rude. Josephine!

MRS. MARCH
: I wonder what could be keeping Jo.
MR. LAURENCE : Maam, heres two port wine bottles for him.
MRS. MARCH
: Oh, Mr. Laurence, thank you so much. Meg, will you put them in a sash,
please?
MEG
: Yes, marmee. Here, Amy.
AMY
: Herere your gloves.
MR. LAURENCE : Gently, dont shake them.
MRS. MARCH
: Oh, thats Jo.
AUNT MARCH
: Where is that bad tempered daughter of yours?
MRS. MARCH
: Aunt March, I thought she was with you.
AUNT MARCH
: Well, she is not. Youll need more than you asked for.
MRS. MARCH
: Oh, auntie, thank you.
AUNT MARCH
: Now, are you sure you know how to get there? You change train in New
York, then you
MR. LAURENCE : No need for you to concern for her, maam. Mr. Brooke will accompany
her on the journey.
MRS. MARCH
: Mr. Brooke, theres really no need.
MR. BROOKE
: Mr. Laurence has some commissions for me in washington and it will
give me great pleasure to be of service to you.
MRS. MARCH
: Thank you, both.
MR. LAURENCE : Well, the carriage is ready, we wait for you outside.
MEG
: How kind you are, its such a relief to know that marmee has someone to
take care of her.
MR. BROOKE
: Thank you, Meg, good bye.
MEG
: Good bye.
BETH
: Are you going to drink this, marmee?
MRS. MARCH
: Thank you, Bethy. Girls, you wont forget the Hummels while Im gone,
will you?
AUNT MARCH
: Somebody will remember me once in a while too. Well, I hope
everything turns out for the best, but I doubt it.
MRS. MARCH
: Good bye, auntie.
GIRLS
: Good bye, aunt March.
JO
: Aunt March.
AUNT MARCH
: Yes, miss, and I had to get dressed and ride over here, just because you

~ 197 ~

JO
MEG
AMY
JO

:
:
:
:

MRS. MARCH
JO
AMY
MRS. MARCH
BETH
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO
MRS. MARCH

:
:

MEG
AMY
MEG
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:
:

GIRLS
MRS. MARCH

:
:

JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
AMY
BETH
JO
BETH
AMY
JO
BETH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MEG
AMY
BETH

are so stubborn. Good bye.


Oh, marmee.
Jo, where have you been?
What has kept you so long, I must say
Well, aunt March croaked as she always does and I lost my temper, so I
decided to get some money on my own. Here, marmee, thisll pay for
your fare.
Where did you get it?
I havent begged nor stolen, I only sold what belonged to me.
Jo!
Your hair, your beautiful hair. Oh, my Jo.
Jo, your beautiful hair, you sold it.
Oh, it wont affect the state of the nation, so dont wail, Beth.
Christopher Columbus! What have you to yourself? You look like a
porcupine.
Really? I feel deliciously light and cool.
Jo, your hair will grow back, and it will be as lovely as ever, but youll
never be more beautiful than you are know.
I like it.
So do I, its strangely becoming.
May we come at the train, marmee?
No, dear. I want you to stay here and go on with your work. Good bye,
my darlings.
Good bye, marmee.
God bless us and keep us all.

Work, I dont see why do you want to work.


Money.
Ive plenty of that, if you ever need it.
No, its something else, a sort of nervous feeling. I like it.
Jo! Laurie! Jo, hurry! Jo, hurry!
Jo, dont come near me, Jo.
Beth, what is it?
The baby is dead. The baby is dead
The Hummels baby died, Jo.
Oh, my poor Beth.
I tried to warm his feet, but he was so cold and so still, then I knew that
he was dead and the doctor came and he said that it was scarlet fever.
: Oh, Beth.
: Come here, Beth.
: Keep way from me, Amy, you never had it either. I feel so funny.

MR. LAURENCE : How is she? Cant anyone say? How is she?


DOCTOR
: Id expected the fever to turn by now, but...
JO
: See, she doesnt know us anymore.

~ 198 ~

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

: If Mrs. March could be sent for.


: Meg would write out a telegram days ago, but we wouldnt allow her to
send it. Oh, marmee.
: Hold on to me, Jo, marmee will be here.
: Oh, no, she wont, how can she?
: I got fidgety and sent for her yesterday. She will be here on the five
oclock train this morning.
: Marmee? Here? In a few hours?
: Yes, Jo.
: Oh, Laurie, dear, dear Laurie. Oh, I didnt mean to fly at you like that,
but you are such an angel, I dont know how to thank you.
: Fly at me again.
: Oh, Laurie ,can we laugh again and have fun again.
: I hope so, Jo. Well, to the railway station and I shant spare the horses.
: Bless you, Laurie, bless you.

JO
JO
GIRLS
MR. LAURENCE

:
:
:
:

DOCTOR
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

If god spares Beth, Ill never complain again.


If life is as hard as this, I dont know how I shall get through it
Beth, what is it?
Doctor Bangs! Doctor Bangs!

: My girls, I think the little girl will go through it, after all.
: Oh!
: Now, keep the house quiet, let her sleep, when she wakes, give her some
more milk.
JO
: Oh, Meg.
MR. LAURENCE : Milk, milk, get some milk. Milk, milk!
JO
: Marmee, shell be well.
MEG
: Everything will be all right.
JO
: Oh, marmee, you are home.
MRS. MARCH
: Bethy.
DOCTOR
JO
DOCTOR

HANNAH
AMY
JO
AMY

:
:
:
:

HANNAH
BETH

:
:

JO
AMY
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:

Dont drop her.


I made a will when you were sick, Beth.
You made a will?
You neednt laugh. I left you my plaster rabbit, my brass ink stand, after
all you lost the cap to it. I left laurie my little horse, even thou he said it
didnt have a neck.
There.
Its so wonderful to be downstairs again. Everything is so beautiful,
flowers and the sun.
Mr. Laurence sent the flowers, I ordered the sun.
I willed you my clothes, marmee.
That was sweet of you.

~ 199 ~

AMY
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
GIRLS
MR. MARCH
MRS. MARCH
BETH
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

Of course, since I didnt die, no one gets anything.


Begging you pardon, ladies, but do the Marches live here?
They do indeed, all of them.
Ive a package for them.
Father!
Jo, Amy, Meg.
My dear.
Father!
Now Ive got all the march family together, I call it splendid, I do, really.

JO
MEG
JO
MEG
JO
MEG
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MEG
JO

:
:

MEG
JO

:
:

MEG

JO

Where are you going?


Going? Nowhere
You must be expecting someone then.
I?
Yes, you. Are you expecting that man?
I dont know what you are talking about. If you mean Mr. Brooke
Hes the only one who comes here. Oh, Meg, I hope you dont think you
are in love with him, because I can tell you that you are not.
Im not?
No, you cant be, now, you see, Meg, Im a writer and I write about girls
who are in love, so I know. You have none of the symptoms: you eat all
right, you sleep like a log, you are bit twittering, therefore you are not in
love, therefore, dont go and marry that man.
I dont intend to go and marry any man.
You dont? Hurrah for you, you are a champ! And what will you say,
when he comes around begins for your hand?
Well, well, he may not come around, but if he does, I shall say quite
calmly and decidedly, thank you, mr. Brooke, you are very kind, but I
quite agree with marmee that Im too young to enter in any engagement
at present, so, please, say no more and let us be friend as we were.
Good, thats stiff and cool enough. And when you hand in the mittens,
things will be the same as they were around here. Meg, its him, Ill get
out of the way and dont forget! Oh, if I could only see his fare when you
tell him.

MR. BROOKE

: Good afternoon. I came to get my umbrella, that is, I came to see how
your father finds himself today.
: Well, come in. He is in the racket, Ill get him and tell it that you are
here.
: Whats the matter Meg, are you angry with me?
: How could I be, when you have been so kind to marmee. I only wish i
could find a proper way to thank you.
: Shall I tell you how.
: Please dont, Id rather not.
: Meg, please, listen to me. I love you so, and if you dont love me know,

MEG
MR. BROOKE
MEG
MR. BROOKE
MEG
MR. BROOKE

~ 200 ~

maybe you can learn to.


I dont choose to learn, please let me be.
Do you really mean that?
Yes I do.
Wont you even think about it?
Please go away, just go away.
Oh Meg.
Whats this? Whats going on here?
Its just a friend of fathers. Im so surprised to see you here, aunt March.
Thats evident. Whats going on here, miss, I insist upon knowing.
Whos this young man, Mr. Brooke?
Yes, Mr. Brooke.
The Laurence boys tutor?
(she nods)
Did he dare to propose?
Oh, please, aunt March, hell hear you
Have you accepted him?
Please.
Now, let me tell you miss, that if you marry that Hook, or Rook, or
Crook, not a penny of my money goes to you, you understand?
I shall marry who I please, aunt March, and I dont care anything about
your money.
It is your duty to marry a rich man and help your family, miss
independence, and you may be sure that this hook knows that you have a
rich relation, me, and thats why he wants to marry you.
How dare you say such a thing. Why, my John would no more marry for
money more that I would.
Very well, do as you please. No one takes my advice, but remember the
day that youll marry I shall disinherit you and now youve even made
me forget what I came for.
Oh, Meg darling, thank you for defending me and proving that you do
care.
I didnt know how much until she said those dreadful things.
Darling, will you wait for me?
Marmee! Do something! Go downstairs, quick! John Brooke is acting
dreadfully and meg likes it.

MEG
MR. BROOKE
MEG
MR. BROOKE
MEG
MR. BROOKE
AUNT MARCH
MEG
AUNT MARCH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MEG
AUNT MARCH
MEG
AUNT MARCH
MEG
AUNT MARCH
MEG
AUNT MARCH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MEG

AUNT MARCH

MEG

AUNT MARCH

MR. BROOKE

MEG
MR. BROOKE
JO

:
:
:

MINISTER

: As they have given and pledged their troth each to the other. And have
declared the same by giving and receiving a ring, and by joining hands. I
pronounce that they are Man and Wife. In the name of the Father, and of
the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen

LAURIE

: Dont feel too badly, Jo, youve still got me. I'm not good for much, I
know. But, I'll stand by you, all the days of my life.
: I know you will. You don't know what a comfort you are to me, Laurie.

JO

~ 201 ~

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

JO
LAURIE
JO

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

JO
LAURIE
JO
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH

JO

: Jo, will you listen what I want to tell you?


: No, Laurie, dont say it.
: Oh, I will and you must hear me. Its no use, weve got to have it out, the
sooner the better for both.
: Say what you like then, Ill listen.
: Oh. I've loved you ever since I've known you. I couldn't help it. I tried to
show it, but you wouldn't let me. Now I'm going to make you hear and
give me an answer.
: I wanted to save you this, Laurie. I never wanted you to care for me so. I
tried to keep from it, when I could.
: And I only loved you more for it. Oh, I know Im not good enough for
you, Jo. But, if you love me, you can make me anything you like.
: Oh, Laurie, I wouldnt change you. You should marry a lovely,
accomplished girl, who adores you, someone who will gace your
beautiful home and give you the sort of life you really want, I wouldnt. I
loath elegant society, you hate my scribbling and I cant get on without. I
know we will quarrel.
: No, we wouldnt.
: Yes, we always have, Laurie. Everything will be horrid, if we were
foolish enough to
: Marry? Oh, no it wouldnt, Jo, it would be Heaven. Everyone expects it.
Grandfather's set his heart on it. So dont disappoint us. Oh, I I just
cant go on without you, Jo.
: Oh, Laurie, Laurie, Im so sorry, so desperately sorry, but I cant say I
love you when I dont.
: Really and truly, Jo?
: Really and truly, Laurie. I don't think I'll ever marry.
: Oh, yes. You will. I know you will. Someday, youll change your mind
and you'll meet some good-for-nothing, no-account idiot, and you'll fall
in love with him and work and live and die for him. I know you will,
because its just your way. And I'll have to stand by and see it. Well, I'll
be hanged if I do!
: Laurie. Laurie, where are you going?
: To the devil.
: Laurie! Laurie!
: Are you very lonely, my Jo?
: I think I must be.
: You know, Jo, when you were little girls. I used to ask myself what will
become of Meg, Beth and Amy. Ive worried for Meg longing for wealth,
Beths timidity, Amys selfish little ways, but I never worried about you.
You always seemed so sure of yourself. But lately I found myself
thinking of you more than the others. You often seems sad.
: No, Im not sad, marmee, not exactly. Ive been thinking Id like to go
away some places. Amy could take care of aunt March and you have

~ 202 ~

Beth and if I get to try my wings, maybe


If you think so, Jo, perhaps, you should go.
Id go to New York. Ive always wanted to go to New York. They have
the the finest libraries and theaters there, and I can work for Mrs.
Kirke taking care of the children and write in my spare time.
Ill talk it over with father and well write to Mrs. Kirke. It might be
good for you.
Oh, it would and Laurie will get over me when Im gone and, when I
come back, well be just the same as we used to be.
Of course, my darling. Go to bed, now. Good night, dear.
Good night, marmee.

MRS. MARCH
JO

:
:

MRS. MARCH

JO

MRS. MARCH
JO

:
:

MRS. KIRKE

: Now make yourself at home, Im on the drive from morning to night as


you may well suppose with such a family, but I promised to your mother
I wont make you feel homesick, Sophie will show you your room.
Sophie! Your evenings will be free and I fixed up your room just as
comfortable as possible with a nice table for your writing. Sophie! There
are nice people in the house, but its a relief to know that you will look
after the children. Now, I must go change for tea. Sophie! Soph.. Oh.
Sophie this is Miss Josephine the new governess, you take her up to her
room.
: Thank you, Mrs. Kirke
: Just make yourself at home, child.
: Ive never been in New York before, and Ive been looking forward to it,
because, you see, Im a writer and I need the experience, new
impressions, a writer needs to study people, search their souls, figure up
their problems. Oh I now Im going to love New York. Ive always
wanted to come here.
: Professor! Professor!
: Oh, I beg your pardon. Im so sorry.
: Children, this is Miss Josephine who has got you in charge now.
: Hello.
: This is Professor Bhaer.
: How do you do?
: Lets continue the game.
: Thats for Miss Josephine to say.
: I am afraid we have frightened her already.
: Oh no, please, go on with your game.
: Thank you.
: Here is a button of your vest.
: Thank you very much. Lets go, this time you will be the general.
: Oh, he is such a lovely man.
: Who is he?
: Oh, I know he must have been a real gentleman, one time or another, but
he is as poor as a church now.

JO
MRS. KIRKE
JO

SOPHIE
PROF. BHAER
SOPHIE
CHILDREN
SOPHIE
PROF. BHAER
CHILDREN
SOPHIE
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
SOPHIE
JO
SOPHIE

~ 203 ~

JO
SOPHIE

: What does he do now?


: Oh, see, he is a professor, he learns them how they talk in foreign
countries, but I dont see what good it does, when they live right here.

JO
KITTY
JO
KITTY
JO
KITTY
JO
KITTY

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO

And then Goldilocks saw what?


And then goldilocks saw three chairs, one was, what?
A great huge chair.
And the other one was, what?
A nice, comfortable medium size chair.
And the third was a little peedy chair.
Thats right. What happens then?
That she sat in the big chair and it was too hard too hard too hard.
Ill tell you the rest later. Can you wait?
: Yes, Kitty, I can wait. Good night.

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO

:
:
:
:

PROF. BHAER

JO
PROF. BHAER

:
:

JO

PROF. BHAER
JO

:
:

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

:
:
:
:
:

JO

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

:
:
:

Oh
Oh, please dont stop, its so beautiful.
Thank you very much.
What is that song? Ive heard you play it before and Id like to send it to
my sister.
It is called "Nur Wer Die Sehnsucht Kennt." The words are by Goethe.
Do you understand German?
No, I dont.
Then Ill try to sing then for you in English. "Nur wer die Sehnsucht
kennt". "Only who knows what longing is can know what I suffer."
"Wei asas ich leide" "Alone and parted far from joy and gladness. My
senses fail. Burning fire devours me.
My senses fail. Burning fire devours me. Oh, if only I could write
something like that, something that would set the hearts on fire.
You truly like to write then.
Oh, I love it. Writing is my life, Ive been scribbling since I was a child.
Some of my stories have been published, Ive just sold one to the Weekly
Volcano, oh its a wonderful one about.. Well, I wont tell you about
what, but you must read it yourself.
The Weekly Volcano? You must forgive my ignorance, but what is that?
Why! Its a magazine.
Ah.
The story Ive sold its the best Ive done.
It seems that we are sharing mutual interests for writing music, would
you allow me to take to the opera or the theatre sometime?
Oh, I should love it. Oh, please, dont think me rude, but, as long as you
are not going to sew that button, would you let me do it?
Oh, I was going to, but I couldnt find the button.
You put it right there, see?
Oh, thank you.

~ 204 ~

JO
PROF. BHAER

: Sit down please.


: You are very kind.

JO
PROF. BHAER
JO

KITTY
JO
CHILD
JO
KITTY

: Oh, it was wonderful, magnificent, just like heaven.


: Are you happy, my little friend?
: Oh, it was divine. I dont want to be a writer anymore, I want to sing, to
thrill millions of people with my beautiful voice. Audience would cheer
me and through flowers at my feet.
: Bravo! But I wouldnt make up my mind too soon, after the art museum
you wanted to be a sculptress, after the circus, you thought, the bareback
rider was the most beautiful thing in the world.
: Oh, I know, but to sing like that, oh, nothing could be more wonderful.
: Shhh, we will wake the house.
: Oh, Im sorry, but there is something inside me tonight, that makes me
want to shout.
: And what would you shout?
: Oh, Id say, look at me, everybody, Im Josephine March and Im so
happy.
: Then, perhaps, you havent missed your old home so much, lately, or
your old friends.
: No, no, I havent, and you and you alone are responsible for that
: Thank you, my little friend, you know, Ive seen the Marta many times
before, in Vienna, in Milan, but never have I enjoyed it so much. Now, I
know why, before I have gone alone, tonight tonight, i went with you.
There is no greater pleasure than to hear or see something beautiful with
someone someone who
: Miss Josephine!
: Kitty, you should be asleep.
: I want to tell you a story.
: No, no story, back to bed.
: Once upon a time, there were three bears

SOPHIE
JO
SOPHIE
JO
SOPHIE
JO
SOPHIE

:
:
:
:
:
:
:

PROF. BHAER

JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

JO
SOPHIE

JO

Miss Josephine.
Yes.
There is company in the parlour for you.
Company? Who could it be, I wonder.
Surprise!
Oh.
Are these your new stories? Oh, they look creepier than The Dukes
Daughter, may I read them, please?
: Yes, of course.
: The Place of The Three Where the Secrets of the Guilty Heart, by
Josephine March.

: Amy! Amy!

~ 205 ~

AMY
JO
AUNT MARCH
JO
AMY
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:

AUNT MARCH
JO

:
:

AUNT MARCH

JO
AUNT MARCH

:
:

JO
AUNT MARCH

:
:

JO

AMY
JO
AUNT MARCH
JO
AMY

:
:
:
:
:

JO
AUNT MARCH

:
:

AMY
JO

:
:

AUNT MARCH

JO
AMY
JO
AMY

:
:
:
:

Jo! Oh, Jo!


Aunt March.
You are thin, Josephine.
Oh Amy, Ive never been so surprised. Amy, you look lovely.
Aunt March bought me this coat, do you like it?
Oh, I love it. Sit down, sit down. Tell me everything. What are you here
for?
What kind of place is this? You havent had your supper?
Oh, aunt March, nobody has supper at seven oclock in New York. Tell
me, now, when did you get to town?
An hour and five minutes ago and we are in a hurry, we have to get to the
shipping office, before it closes
Shipping office? Oh, aunt March, Europe?
Yes, Jo, Europe Im sailing tomorrow on the Britannia and Im taking
Amy with me. Maybe you can go the next time.
Oh, Amy, Im glad for you.
Oh, I know I promised to take you, but Amy and I get along fabulously
and I never did get along with you.
Its all right , aunt March, Im happy for Amy. Oh, it will be thrilling for
her. Besides, Im having a wonderful time, theatres, operas, lectures and I
know that Amy is a much better companion than I can have hoped to be.
Tell me, hows Bethy and marmee and Meg and father?
Oh, they are all fine, except Beth, she is not well, Jo
Oh, my poor Beth, she must get well. She must.
You know that Meg is expecting, dreadful, isnt it?
Yes, I knew she was, I think its wonderful and hows Laurie?
Laurie? Why? Didnt you see him, when he was here? He and Mr.
Laurence sailed for Europe three weeks ago.
Laurie in Europe and he didnt come see me?
Well, you cannot blame him after the way you picked up and flied off
without so much as a goodbye. Come along, Amy, we mustnt miss the
shipping office. Goodbye, Josephine, maybe the next time I go.
Jo, oh, I wish you were going, I know how you always longed to go.
Oh, no, darling, Im perfectly contented here. Its your reward, youve
always done sweet things to please aunt March. Oh, think of all the
wonderful things you are going to see. The Tizianos, the Raffaellos and
the Leonardos.
Amy, you seem to forget that cabs cost money. Thats the problem with
the people who never had anything. Come easy, go easy. Goodbye,
Josephine
Goodbye, aunt March. Goodbye, Amy.
Goodbye, Jo.
Write to me often.
I will, Jo dear. Jo, if I should see Laurie, do you want me to give him a
message from you or anything?

~ 206 ~

Just tell him I love him, like a sister.


Do you really mean that, Jo?
And I wish he finds a beautiful girl and settles down.
Oh, goodbye, my darling Jo.
Goodbye, Amy, have a wonderful trip.

JO
AMY
JO
AMY
JO

:
:
:
:
:

PROF. BHAER
JO

: Miss Josephine?
: Yes, professor Bhaer.

PROF. BHAER

: Ive read all your stories in the Volcano, Id like to talk to you about
them. Will you, please, come in?
: Yes, thank you.

JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

JO

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO

PROF. BHAER

JO

PROF. BHAER

JO

: Sit down, wont you, Miss Josephine. I have read your stories.
: Oh, did you like them?
: Oh, I must be honest with you. I was disappointed, why do you right
such artificial characters? Such contrived plots, The Dukes Daughter.
Villains, murderers, fainting women. Oh, Miss Josephine, please. Why?
Im so sorry, I didnt want to hurt you, I want to help you. What a
blundering fool I am.
: Dont be in apprehension with me, this has nothing to do with you , its
just that everything happens at once. The rest doesnt matter so much, I
can bare that, but Laurie, I can never get over Laurie.
: Oh, Laurie, your friend.
: Yes.
: Something has happened to him?
: Yes, well nothing to him exactly, something has happened to me. He
came to New York and didnt even come to see me.
: What a fool, he must be.
: Oh, no, its my fault. Only I thought oh, doesnt matter what I tought.
Ive made a mess of that as I do with everything, but I tried and when I
think of aunt March taking Amy to Europe, when she always promised
she takes me. Oh, not that I grudge Amy the trip, but well, I suppose
thats what I am doing.
: The trip to Europe you have so looked forward. Thats a cruel
disappointment, I know. And then, on top of it, a stupid professor comes
blundering and make things worse.
: Oh, no, if I cant stand the truth, Im not worth anything. Well, I didnt
think those stories were very good, but, you see, The Dukes Daughter,
paid the butchers bill and The Curse of the Coventry was the blessing of
the Marches.
: Yes, that is what I thought. And then, I said to myself maybe I have to
right to speak, but then, I said to myself I maybe have no right not to
speak. Why! Do you have a talent.
: You really think so?

~ 207 ~

PROF. BHAER

JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

: Of course, otherwise I would not say it, you know that, and I say to you
sweep mud in the street first, before you are false to that talent. Say to
yourself, I will not write a line which I have not first felt, in my own
heart. Say to yourself Say to yourself, while I am young, I will write
these simple beautiful things that I know and understand. Will you do
that, my little friend?
: Ill try. Im going home.
: Home?
: Its where I belong. They need me there, Beth is sick and I can help my
family.
: But then, you will not be here, I will not see you. Who will I go to the
opera with? Who will saw on my buttons? When you are gone.
: I may be back some day, and Ill write you, truly I will.
: You will write, but Go, Josephine. Go back to your home and write
your stories as you can write them. And maybe someday, I will see you
there, in your home.
Oh, the winter has been so long. I wish the spring would come.
Jo! Jo!
Marmee.
Oh, youre back
Oh, marmee, its wonderful to home.
Oh, the house has been so empty without you.
Oh, Jo.
Oh, Bethy, my Beth, oh Bethy.
I was wishing spring would come, Jo, and it has.
Oh, I have to many things to tell you, very plumy too and so many things
to asks, but presents first. This is for you, Bethy.
Thank you, Jo.
It can accompany you when you play.
I dont play much now, Jo, not at all really.
Where is father?
In his study, dear, hell be so glad that youre home.

BETH
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH
BETH
JO
BETH
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

BETH
JO
BETH
JO
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:
:
:

MR. MARCH
JO
MR. MARCH

: Thats all, Jo, doctor Bangs says theres nothing we can do.
: Oh, no, father, not Beth.
: These will be dark days for us, Jo, for you especially. Now, dry your eyes
my child, for her sake, dont let her see you cry.

BETH
JO

: Dont cry, Jo, I dont want you to cry for me.


: Im not crying for you, darling, i long for Meg and Amy and for the old,
happy times. I guess the storm doesnt help the things either. Ill be all
right
: Its no use, Jo, I know. Please, dont tell marmee, but I know. Oh, jo, you
mustnt be afraid. Doesnt it sound funny, me saying that to you? When

BETH

~ 208 ~

youve always said it to me. Youve always remanded of a seagull, Jo,


strong, wild, and fond of the windy storm and dreaming to fly out. And
marmee said I was the cricket on the hearth contented to stay at home. I
cant express very well, I guess I shouldnt even try, except to my Jo, but
it seems I was never intended to live very long, I never planned what I
would do when I grow up, as the rest of you did, because I could never
bear the thought to leave home. But Im not afraid anymore, Jo, Ive
learnt that I wont loose you, that nothing can really part us, tough it
would seem so, that well always be a family, even tough one of us is
gone. Jo, I think that I will be homesick for you, even in Heaven.
Dedicated to my sister Beth, who is now parted from me.
Jo, Jo!
Well, here is the elegant young matron. How are the twins?
Wonderful, Jo. Whats that?
My novel, finished. Im sending it off. You can read it when it comes
back.
Maybe theyll publish it.
Oh, Im not sending to a publisher. Im sending it to prof. Bhaer, Ive
sort of promised him once.
Oh, thats an odd thing to do. You write to him often, dont you?
Yes, I do. He knows what Im writing about. I mean, he understands me.
Why shouldnt I write to me, he writes to me.
I think its splendid.
We had a letter from Amy. They are in Valrosa, now, and she says its
paradise.
I know, she wrote me too. They should be on their way home soon. Jo,
Ive been wondering, how would you feel if you learnt that Laurie was
learning to care for someone else?
Who, Meg? Amy?
Yes, Jo.
Then I wouldnt mind at all, how could I?
Well, I wasnt sure. Forgive me, Jo, its just, you know, you seem so
alone and I thought that if Laure came back, you might
Oh, no, no, it is better the way it is. But you are right about me being
alone, I am lonely. How knows, maybe maybe, if Laurie had come
back, I might have said yes. Not that I love him any differently, but,
because, well, it means more to be loved now, than it used to. Well, I
suppose theyll get married and live happily ever after.
I suppose they will. Well, if you are going to the post office, I
Thank you, Meg, but Id rather walk.
Goodbye, Jo.
Goodbye, Meg.

JO
MEG
JO
MEG
JO

:
:
:
:
:

MEG
JO

:
:

MEG
JO

:
:

MEG
JO

:
:

MEG

JO
MEG
JO
MEG

:
:
:
:

JO

MEG
JO
MEG
JO

:
:
:
:

JO

: Come in. Well? Marmee? Who is Laurie, oh Laurie, my blessed boy.

~ 209 ~

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

:
:
:
:

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:

JO

LAURIE
JO

:
:

When did you get back? Wheres Amy, your wife?


Downstairs, we just got here.
Oh, I cant wait to see her.
Jo, Jo dear, I want to say one thing and well put it by forever.
You dont nedd to say it, Laurie, it was always meant to be this way and
it would have come about anyway, if you only waited.
I know, you tried so hard to make me understand.
But you were so impatient and stubborn.
Well, now that everything came about the way you wanted it, well have
the old times again.
No, Laurie, the old days can never come back, we cant be playmates any
longer, we are man and woman now, but we can be brother and sister and
love each other and help each other for the rest of our lives.
Yes, Jo, the rest of our lives.
Come on, I want to kiss your bride.

HANNAH
: Here, now, a cookie? There you are.
MR. LAURENCE : Wonderful tea, wonderful
AUNT MARCH
: Coming home on a day like this, after all the money Ive spent on my
rheumatism, doctor Bangs.
AMY
: Where is Jo? Where are they? Jo! Jo!
JO
: Amy!
AMY
: Jo! Oh, my Jo. Oh Ill never forgive myself for staying away so long and
leaving all the burden to you.
JO
: Oh, youre so beautiful, to think that only yesterday you were such an
horrid little girl. Aunt March, Mr. Laurence, welcome home.
PROF. BHAER
LAURIE
PRO.BHAER
JO
LAURIE
PROF. BHAER

:
:
:
:
:
:

Oh, is Miss March in? Miss Josephine March?


Yes she is. Wont you come in?
Oh, no, no, thank you, she has guests.
Laurie! Laurie, were are you? Come get your tea.
Just a minute, Jo.
Will you give this to her, please? Thank you.

AMY
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
AMY
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

You know, in Europe, one feels dirty is so picturesque.


Here you are, my lad.
This is for you, Jo.
Why! Thank you, Laurie.
Well, it isnt from me.
Why
Well, open it, dont just look at it. Jo, your book!
Published!
Who left it?
A man with a sort of an accent.
Where is he?

~ 210 ~

LAURIE
JO
MRS. MARCH
JO
PROF. BHAER

:
:
:
:
:

JO
PROF. BHAER

:
:

JO

PROF. BHAER
JO

:
:

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

:
:
:

JO
PROF. BHAER

:
:

Well, he wouldnt come in, he went away.


Oh, no he couldnt have, he couldnt have.
Jo, come back!
Prof. Bhaer! Prof. Bhaer! Where are you going?
Oh, my little friend, I came here to leave your book, my friend published
it, he has greats hopes, he thinks
Oh, never mind what he thinks. Did you like it?
It has such truth, such beauty, I cannot tell you what it gives me in my
heart.
But you were going away without telling me. I would have never seen
you agin. Oh, please, come back!
I couldnt intrude, you have guests.
Oh, but its just my family. My sister's come home. She is married to that
boy I told you about.
Herr Laurie?
Yes and this is the first time weve been together after a long time
Oh, please, please, Jo, I have a wish to ask. Would you oh I I I
have no courage to think that but if I could hope I know I should not
ask I have nothing to give but my heart which is so full and and
these empty hands.
Not emply now.
Oh, Jo.

~ 211 ~

Appendix C

Little Women (1994 Script)


JO

BETH
AMY
MRS. MARCH
JO
MEG
MRS. MARCH
BETH
MRS. MARCH
BETH
MRS. MARCH
AMY
MRS. MARCH

AMY
MRS. MARCH
MRS. MARCH
AMY
MRS. MARCH

: My sisters and I remembered that winter as our childhood's coldest. A


temporary poverty had hit our family some years before. The war made
fuel and lamp oil scarce. But necessity is indeed the mother of
invention. Somehow in that dark time, our family, the March family
seemed to create its own light.
: Marmee, Marmee's home!
: We've expectorated you for hours!
: Im here, my child.
: "Expected", featherhead !
: Marmee, you're frozen.
: If you have seen the people outside the Hope House!! Your cheeks are
so warm. Thank you cricket.
: You finished the Christmas bundles?
: So may this year. We were handing out . . .Oh, how's your cold?
: Better.
: Thats good. We were handing out food as quick as could make up the
baskets. Now, Miss Amy, what's this in my pocket?
: Father! Dearest family. I am well and safe." "Our battalion is
encamped on the Potomac."
: "December makes a hard cold season for all of us, so far from home." "I
think of my girls day and night and find my best comfort in your
affection." "I pray your own hardships may not be too great. Give them
my love.""Tell them I think of them by day, pray for them by night."
: Im a selfish girl.
: Christmas Eve. Father wouldn't want us to be sad now.
(The sing)
: To bed, Miss Amy. Merry Christmas.
: Merry Christmas.
: Merry Christmas.

~ 212 ~

Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
Love you.
I love you. My Jo ... Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas marmee.
Don't sit up too late.
I wont.

MEG
MRS. MARCH
BETH
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO

: Late at night, my mind came alive with voices and stories and friends as
dear to me as any in the real word. I gave myself up to it, longing for
transformation.

MEG
AMY
BETH
MEG
JO
MEG
JO
MEG
AMY
HANNAH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

BETH
JO

MEG
JO
MR. LAURENCE
JO
MR. LAURENCE
MEG

JO

What miraculous food ! Isn't this just like the old days, Hannah?
We shouldnt eat it, We should just look at it!
I want to eat it.
Jo! Jo, come down!
I'm awake! Horrible piano.
Hannah has put together an absolute Christmas miracle.
Is that sausage!
Wait!
Butter! Oh, Isn't butter divinity? God, thank you for this breakfast.
Jo, angel, Fetch your Marmee. She went out at the crack of dawn to see
some Germans. "Hummel," the boy said, not a word of English. his dad
has gone, Six children and about to issue another. May as well take
them a stick of fire, they havent got any. Or breakfast either.
: Perhaps we could send the Hummels our bread.
: May as well send the butter, too. But its not much use without bread to
put it on.
:
: What a wonderful snow!
: Dont you wish you could to roll about in it like dogs?
: Once one of our finest families.
: Lovely weather for a picnic!
: Come on, Theodore. We'll be late for church.
: Jo, you should have let them speak first. What will they think of us?
Don't look back!
: Knights and ladies, elves and pagers, monks and flower girls, all
mingled gaily in the dance. Pauline cried out as the groom's mask fell. It

~ 213 ~

MEG
AMY
BETH
MEG
AMY

:
:
:
:
:

MEG

BETH
AMY
BETH
JO

:
:
:
:

BETH
JO
MEG

:
:
:

JO

MEG
BETH
MEG

:
:
:

AMY
JO

:
:

MEG
BETH
JO
BETH
JO
AMY

:
:
:
:
:
:

MEG
AMY

:
:

was not her lover Ferdinand, but his sworn enemy Count Antonio.
"Revenge is mine," quoth he. Continued in the next edition.
Excellent, Mr. Snodgrass!
Oh, I love forbidden marriages!
You ought to publish it, Jo. Really not just on the Periwink Portfolio.
Mr Tupman, are you demeaning our fine newspaper?
One periwink . . . Advertisement. One periwinkle sash, belonging to
MR???, abscondated from the wash line, which gentleman desires any
reports leading to its recovery.
Gentlemen of the press: hear, hear! "I call your attention to Mr.
Tupman's History of the Squash.
Oh, that is mine.
Beth, thats not a story, its a recipe.
I never know what to write.
The first rule of writing, Mr Tupman, is never write what you know.
What do You think of the boy? Is he a captive like Smee in "Nicholas
Nickleby"?
He looks lonely. You dont think he would try to call?
Maybe he has a secret. A tragic, European secret.
He has not upbringing at all, they say. He was reared in Italy among
artists and vagrants.
But does he have a noble brow. If I were a boy, I'd want to look just like
that. Imagine giving up Italy to come and live with that awful old man.
Please Jo, dont say awful, its slang.
I'd be terrified to live with him.
I shouldnt mind living in such a fine house and having nice things. It
doesn't seem like Christmas this year without presents.
I'm desperate for drawing pencils.
I wish I didn't have to work for Great-Aunt March, such crabby old
miser.
And you, Beth, whats your Christmas wish?
I'd like the war to end, so Father can come home.
Sweet Beth! We all want that.
They have a beautiful piano.
When I'm a writer, I'll buy you the best piano on creation.
And if she doesnt, you can come over and play mine. When I marry,
Im going to be disgustingly rich.
And what if the man you love is poor but good, like Father?
Well, It's not like being stuck with a dreadful nose. One does have a

~ 214 ~

choice to whom one loves.


I love my nose.
I wouldn't marry for money. What if his business goes bust? Besides,
down at The Eagle, they pay five dollars for each story they print. Well,
I have ten stories in my head right now.
Gentlemen ! I dislike all this money talk.
If lack of attention to finance is a mark of refinement, I say that the
Marches are
the most elegant family in Concord.
We'll all grow up one day, Meg. We might as well know what we want.

MEG
JO

:
:

MEG
JO

:
:

AMY

MR. LAURENCE

: That'll do. That'll do. Put the carriage away. And look about it. Quickly!
Merry Christmas.

MEG
AMY

: I have a wonderful feeling about tonight.


: Meg and Jo, you have to tell exquisitely everything about Belle
Gardiner. What her nose is like and about her ring; Annie says it's an
emerald. Everyone's lucky but me!
: I'm glad I don't have to go and be with all those frightening people and
trying to think to things to say.
: Jo, don't eat much at supper, and don't shake hands with people, it isnt
the thing anymore Jo, your dress!
: oh, I know
: You always stand too close to the fire. Oh, dear. Just keep your back to
the wall.
: Look Meg! What cunning little heels!
: They're rather small.
: Its all right, its only for one night. You dont suppose anyone will
notice they come from a rag bag, dont you?
: You have to have heels. What's that strange smell? Like burnt feathers...
: Heavens above!
: You've ruined me!
: Im sorry! Im sorry! You shouldn't have had me do it. I spoil
everything.
: I can't go out like this.
: Good. I'm not going either.
: We'll place my bow in front.
: Yes, that covers it.
: Its very becoming.

BETH
MEG
JO
MEG
AMY
JO
MEG
AMY
HANNAH
MEG
JO
MEG
JO
AMY
BETH
AMY

~ 215 ~

HANNAH
BETH
MEG:

: I'll never have suitors. I'll be an old spinster.


: You don't need scores of suitors, you only need one, if he is the right
one.
: Listen to the child!
: Meg isnt to be married right away, is she?
: With Jo's help, I never will.

MEG
GIRLS
BELLE

: You must be so happy!


: Oh, Belle. It's enchanting.
: Now, I'd best go help Mama. Excuse me.

JO
LAURIE

: Gosh. Im sorry.
: No, stay. Its not bad hiding place. You see, I dont know anyone, I feel
awkward just standing and staring at people. should I put on my jacket?
I don't know the rules. Ehm, Im Laurie Theodore Laurence . . . ehm,
called Laurie.
: Jo March. So, who were you staring at?
: At you, actually, what game were you playing at?
: I don't know, but I think I won. Who else?
: Well, I was quite taken with . . . that one.
: That's Meg. That's my sister. She's completely bald in front. Is it true
that you lived in Italy among artists and vagrants?
: Well, my mother was Italian and a pianist. Grandfather disapproved
of her.
: Truly? I saw a play like that, once. Do you like the theatre?
: Oh, yes.
: Were you born there?
: Where? In Italy?
: Do you speak French or Italian?
: English at home, Francais l'ecole, the... Music Conservatory in Vivay,
but Grandfather have me tutoring now. He... he insists I go to college.
: I'd commit murder to go to college! Actually, I'm going to Europe.
Well, at least, I hope I am. My great-aunt March says she'll go one of
these days and she to take me with her because I work as her
companion. I have to read to her for hours and hours. But I do all the
voices.
: I bet you do.
: If I were not going to be a writer, I'd go to New York and pursue the
stage. Are you shocked?

MEG
AMY

JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO

LAURIE
JO

~ 216 ~

LAURIE
MEG
JO
MEG

: Very!
: Im sorry! Meg makes me take the gentleman's part. A shame you don't
know the lady's part! Are you looking at the back of my dress?
: Its not so bad, honestly.
: You promised you wouldn't look!
: Oh Jo, I've sprained my ankle.
: I shouldnt wonder with those shoes. Does it hurt?
: Oh, no no, I'm quite well. Thank you.
: This is our neighbour Laurie. The captive. Oh, poor Meg, Ill get Mrs.
Gardiner.
: Oh no, Jo, she would think I was sampling the punch. A perfectly good
party ruined.
: But I have my carriage, let me take you home.
: Oh no, thank you.
: Oh yes!
: Thank you!

MRS. MARCH
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
MRS. MARCH
AMY

:
:
:
:
:
:

JO
MEG
MRS. MARCH
AMY
MRS. MARCH
AMY
JO
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

AMY
MEG
JO

:
:
:

AMY
JO

:
:

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
MEG
LAURIE
MEG
JO
MEG

Here, lean on me. Thank you, Mr. Laurence. Thats very kind of you.
Not at all.
Bye Laurie!
Good night, Mrs. March.
I wonder where youve found those shoes.
Did you ride in his carriage? You two are lucky. Oh Jo, Is he very
romantic?
Not in the slightest.
Im very much obliged to him, but he is a dreadful boy.
Im glad he was wise to use snow with this ankle.
He put snow on her ankle?
Too bad, miss Amy.
With his own hands?
Oh, stop being so swoony.
I wont have my girls being silly about boys, too bad. Jo dear. Does this
hurt?
Everything lovely happens to Meg.
Yes, indeed.
You mustnt be soppy about Laurie, any more than???? About those
silly girls at school. We shall be good friends with him.
With a boy?
He is no boy. He is Laurie.

~ 217 ~

MRS. MARCH
MEG
MRS. MARCH

: Faster! Faster!
: Your young ladies are unusually active, Mrs. March, if I may say so.
: You may indeed, Mr. Brook. It is my opinion that young girls are no
different from boys in their need of exercise. Feminine weakness and
fainting are the direct result of our confining young girls at home, bent
over needlework, in restrictive corsets.
: Marmee!
: Your young student is an athlete.
: He is, thank you. A good one. But he makes an unruly scholar. I regret
that his grandfather is away much. One hopes that your girls will be a
gentling influence.
: Indeed, Mr. Brook.
: Marmee, must you speak to everyone about corsets?
: Oh Meg, do I?

JO
AMY
JO
AMY
JO
AMY
MEG
JO
AMY

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MEG
AMY

:
:

JO
MEG
JO
MEG

:
:
:
:

JO

: "Secondly, the immortality of the soul is asserted to be in consequence

JO
MR. BROOKE
MRS. MARCH

MEG
MRS. MARCH
MR. BROOKE

Blast these wretched skirts!


Don't say "blast" and wretched.
Amy, don't be such a ninny-pinny.
I wish I was Beth, so I could stay home and do pleasant things.
Oh, if you call laundry and housework pleasant.
Blast!
Amy, hurry. I'll be late for work. There's Mrs. King. I'm tardy again.
Lovely children!
Oh Meg, must I go to school? I'm so degradetated. I can hardly hold my
head up and I owe at least a dozen limes.
Limes? Are limes the fashion now?
Of course they are, its nothing but limes now. Everyone keeps them in
their desks and trades them for beads and things. And all the girls cheats
each other recess. If you don't bring limes at school, you're nothing, you
might as well be dead. I have never so many limes and I can't pay
anyone back.
No wonder you don't learn anything at that school.
I know how it feels to do without any little luxuries.
Oh Meg.
We're not destitute, not yet. Here's a quarter. Marmee gave me the rag
money this month. Go on!

~ 218 ~

AUNT MARCH
JO
AMY
AMY

JO
MRS. MARCH
JO
MEG
AMY
MRS. MARCH

JO
AMY
JO
MRS. MARCH

JO
MRS. MARCH
BETH
JO
BETH
JO

BETH

of its immateriality, as in all leipothymic cases consistent with the idea


of immortality "And immorality and physicality... and I think you
finally dozed off.
: Josephine! There's a draught!
: Is it Father?
: Teacher struck me. He put the limes out into the snow.
: : May Chester said my limes must have been donated to the homeless.
and I said she wouldn't get any single lime from me and then she told
Mr. Davis they were hidden in my desk, and then he struck me.
: Oh, Ill go there and I'll beat the tar out of him !
: Jo, we must not embrace violence. I will write this man a letter.
: A letter? That'll show him.
: You didn't you mention me they were forbidden. A month's rag money!
Oh, Amy, I shouldn't have given it to you.
: I'm sorry. All those lovely limes. I'm perfectly desolated.
: Im not sorry you lost them, It's a frivolous concern in times like this.
You are more intented in shaping your dear little nose than fashioning
your character.
: It's an appalling school. Your spelling's atrocious, your Latin absurd.
: Mr. Davis said it was as useful to educate a woman as educating a
female a cat.
: I'll strangle Mr. Davis!
: "Mr. Davis . . . What right have you to strike a child?" "In God's eyes
we are all children and all equals. If you hit and humiliate a child, the
only lesson she Will learn is to hit and humiliate." Amy, do you think
you can you discipline yourself to learn at home, as Beth has done? I
withdraw Amy from your school.
: Serves that scoundrel right!
: Jo will now supervise your education.
: Jo, tell me what happens next. After the duke turns his back to his
familys fortunes saves Lady Zara
: I don't know. It's all murder and gore and damsels in distress.
: I love your damsels in distress.
: Oh Beth, truly, I don't know if I could ever be good like Marmee. I
rather crave violence. If only I could be like Father, and go to war and
stand up to the line of injustice.
: And so Marmee does, in her own way.

~ 219 ~

JO
BETH
LAURIE
MR. BROOKE
LAURIE
MR. BROOKE
MEG
JO
MEG
JO
AMY
JO
BETH
AMY
MEG
JO
AMY
MEG
JO
MEG
AMY
MEG
JO
MEG
LAURIE

: Yes . . .but I wanna do something different. I don't know what it is yet,


but I'm on the watch for it.
: You will find it, Jo.
: Hello! Jo! Come over here! You too, Meg! It's dead as tombs around
here.
: Mr Laurence, one doesn't shout at ladies as if they were like cattle. My
apologies!
: What do those girls do all day?
: Over the mysteries of female life is drawn a veil best left undisturbed.
: "Dear Countess, pray for me, for I have sinned against myself and my
brother Roderigo."
: You've got to say "sinned" as if you've really sinned.
: Sinned sinned
: Roderigo: You arrive, seeking the Duke of Lancashire. Hark, ye! Who
goes there? I forgot the cymbals. It's Roderigo!
: I want to be Lady Violet. I'm exhaustified of being the boy.
: "The play's the thing," Amy. You're too little to be Lady Violet.
: Be the Countess de Montanescu.
: But you havent any lines.
: Besides, who'd be Roderigo?
: Gentlemen . . .I propose the admission af a new member to our
theatrical society: Theodore Laurence. Well put it to vote.
: Hell make fun of us and he'll laugh at us later.
: He'll think it's only a game.
: He won't, in my word, hes a gentleman.
: Jo, we are all ladies, we bear our conduct in the same way.
: We bare our souls and tell the most appalling secrets.
: He would find us improper.
: Teddy would do nothing of the sort! Please! Let's try him, shall we?
: Traitor!
: Artists! May I present myself as an actor, musician, and a loyal and
very humble servant of the club. In token of my gratitude and as a mean
to promote communication and joining nations, shouting from the
windows being forbidden, I shall provide a post office in our hedge. To
further encourage the baring of our souls and the telling of our most
appalling secrets. I do pledge never to reveal what I receive in
confidence here.

~ 220 ~

MEG
JO

: Well then . . Do take your place, Roderigo.


: Sir Roderigo.

JO

: And so Laurie was admitted as an equal into our society. And we,
March girls enjoyed the daily novelty of having a real brother of our
own.

AMY
JO
AMY
MEG

:
:
:
:

JO

AMY
JO
MEG
BETH
JO

:
:
:
:
:

MEG
AMY

:
:

MEG
JO

: Oh, thank you.


: Mrs. Neil Watson, wasn't she a wonderful swooner? If only I were the
swooning type.
: I the catching type!
: Young Laurence says you are an aficionado of the theatre, miss March.
: Well, I enjoy reading plays.
: Yes, I I find it most pleasurable myself. though I confess I am
distracted at the theatre, thinking of the peculiar lives of the actresses
themselves. When one considers the immodesties Mrs. Neil Watson
suffers, one wonders what sort of lady wants such a life.
: Meg is a sensational actress. We always put on wild theatricals.
: Oh, it's just something that we play at.
: Well, as as a matter of fact, at school
: What do you think of that? Let's see what they do!
: I had a wonderful time, Mr. Brooke.

LAURIE
MR. BROOKE
MEG
MR. BROOKE

JO
MEG
MR. BROOKE
LAURIE
MEG

I want to go to the theatre! I never get to go anywhere.


You are too little. Beth, where are marmees opera glasses?
Im not too little. You're just hogging Laurie. Please, can't I go?
Oh, Amy Im afraid Laurie only reserved four seats. Do I look too
shabby?
Oh, hush, Meg, It's not a coronation, just Laurie and that awful Mr.
Brooke.
Jo, cant you ask Teddy to get another ticket.
No.
You've a cold dear. Rest your eyes.
Eventually, Hannah and I well make ginger tea.
You're weeks behind in algebra. Now, I want you to all the pages Ive
marked I won't have a sister who is a lazy ignorant .Don't sulk, you look
like a pigeon.
Good night.
You'll be sorry for this, Jo March!

~ 221 ~

MR. BROOKE
JO
MEG
MR. BROOKE

:
:
:
:

So did I. It was a most delightful evening.


Thank you very much. Goodnight!
Oh, goodnight!
Good night!

MEG
JO
MEG
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:
:
:
:

That was rude.


You plastered yourself on him.
It's proper to take a gentleman's arm if its offered.
How was the theatre?
It was wonderful. I was absolutely inspired by the love scene.
You look flushed Meg dear. Was the theatre overcrowded?

JO
AMY
JO
AMY
JO
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH

JO
AMY

Still sulking? Beth, where did I put my manuscript? Beth? No no!!


I didn't do it!
I'm going to kill you!
Jehosephat!
How could you do this to me?
Jo, stop it! You're hurting her. Jo, Jo, let her go. What's happened?
I hate you ! I hate you!
Jo! Don't touch it, come, just let it go.
You're dead ! You're nothing ! I never want to see you again !
It's a very great loss and you have every right to be put out. But don't let
the sun go down upon your anger. Forgive each other. Begin again
tomorrow.
: I'll never forgive her.
: I'm sorry, Jo.

JO
LAURIE
AMY
JO
AMY
JO
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MEG

: Josephine March, you walked all the way from Walden Pond in only

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

Looks like the last ice this year.


Say "go".
Jo! Laurie! Wait for me.
Ignore her. Ready . . . Blast!
Jo, please!
Amy! Hold on ! Hold on, Amy!
Get a rail!
Grab it, Amy!
Hold on!
There we go. That's it, that's it.

~ 222 ~

these bloomers?
As if she even noticed ! Dear Amy.
How could I be so horrible?
Jo, do you love Laurie more than you love me?
Oh, don't be such a beetle! I could never love anyone as I love my
sisters.
Ok, look, you are leaving out the best part where Lady Zara succumbs
to the duke's rival.
Oh! Right! Sir Hugo . . .
I quite prefer him myself.

BETH
JO
AMY
JO

:
:
:
:

AMY

JO
AMY

:
:

JO

: In the spring, we turned all the house upside down for the preparations
for Meg to go to attend Sally Moffat's coming-out. Myself, I'd sooner be
hung by the neck than attend a fancy ball.

BETH
JO

: Wait until all Boston sees you to be in this dress, Meg.


: I told Laurie to show you off and to keep you from being a wallflower
upon penalty of death.
Oh! Where is that miserable glove?

AUNT MARCH

AUNT MARCH
MRS. MARCH
JO
AUNT MARCH
MRS. MARCH
AUNT MARCH

: Abigail, I shake my head at the way you you're managing Margaret.


How is she to be married without a proper debut?
: Now, auntie, in the present circumstances
: Things Will not change with your husband's return. My nephew is as
foolish with money as with his new philosophies. The one hope for
your family is for Margaret to marry well. Though I don't know who
marries governesses.
: Marmee!
: And this one is entirely ruined with books. Are those for me, Josephine?
: No, Meg is taking them to the Maffets. Marmee, Meg is frantic, shes
lost a glove, shea has only one pair.
: She can't go without gloves. The Maffets are society.
: You're absolutely right. Tell Meg she may borrow mine.
: Meg! You can take Marmee's!
: Oh, dear
: More tea?
: No thank you !

BELLE

: Sally Moffat, you won't be able to draw your laces. At my coming-out

MRS. MARCH
AUNT MARCH

JO
AUNT MARCH
JO

~ 223 ~

party, I didn't eat for weeks beforehand.


Oh Meg, I do like that colour on you.
Its, It's just like forget-me-nots. I haven't seen such kind of fabric since
the war broke out. But you had it made up so plain.
Well, I I do my own sewing, and
Mrs. Finster in Charles street has silk pieces ready-made. Tomorrow,
I'll take you there.
The Marches havent bought silk in years. They have views on slavery.
Meg, isnt that true that your father's school had to close when he
admitted a little dark girl?
Mrs Finster's silk isn't from the South. Its made right here over
Linfield.
This isn't China silk?
They use little children for labour, all the silk mills do.
The poor are always with us. You're so good to remind us. May I tell
you something? This is an afternoon dress. Im going to make you my
pet. Hortense, viens ici.
Oui, mademoiselle.
Tonight, Miss March shall have as many conquests as she likes.
You have no corset!

SALLY
BELLE

:
:

MEG
BELLE

:
:

SALLY

BELLE

GIRLS
MEG
BELLE

:
:
:

HORTENSE
BELLE
HORTENSE

:
:
:

MAN
MEG

: Oh no, I believe the next dance is the polka. With me.


: I would dance with you, but I fear for my new slippers. My credo is:
don't tread on me!
: Miss March I thought your family were temperance people?
: Laurie!
: Don't cover up. Although someone hasn't seen all your charms. And I
did promise Jo I'd show you off.
: The girls dressed me up and I rather like it.
: It reveals a whole new Meg. What do you call this? Meg I'm sorry.
: Please don't tell Jo how I've behaved.
: Of course not, if you won't tell anyone about me.
: I was only paying a part to see how it felt to be Belle Gardiner. All
those proposals and twenty pairs of gloves.
: You're worth ten of those girls.
: Have you seen the way the March girl went after the Laurence heir?
: Thats the best thing that could have happened to the Marches.
: This ridiculous dress! Ive been tripping over it all night.
: Tile some of it around your neck, where it can do some good.

LAURIE
MEG
LAURIE
MEG
LAURIE
MEG
LAURIE
MEG
LAURIE
WOMAN1
WOMAN2
MEG
LAURIE

~ 224 ~

JO
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH

JO
MEG
MRS. MARCH

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

JO
LAURIE
JO
MEG
JO
HANNAH

: I don't like people speculating about Laurie and our Meg as if they were
characters of some play.
: And nothing provokes speculation like a woman enjoying herself.
: Why may Laurie do as he likes and flirt and drink champagne?
: And no one thinks less of him? Well, I suppose for one practical reason:
Laurie is a man, as such he may vote, hold property and pursue any
profession he pleases. And so he is not so easily demeaned.
: But shall we care what people think?
: I do. It's nice to be praised and admired. I couldn't help but like it.
: Of course not, I only care what you think of yourself. If you feel your
value lies in being merely decorative, I fear that one day you may find
yourself believe that's all you are. Time erodes all such beauty, but it
cannot diminish wonderful workings of your mind. Your humour, your
kindness and your moral courage. These are the things I cherish so in
you. Oh, I so wish I could get my girls a more just world. I know you'll
make it a better place.
: No, I don't want them. Keep the music I wont go near a piano for ages.
: You need your books in college. Here's Dombey and Son and I swore
there was another volume.
: Honestly, Jo, I won't be taking all of Dickens to Harvard.
: No, you'll have more important things to read.
: Nothing's going to change, Jo.
: I wish I could go.
: I wish you could, too.
: You'll come back knowing all sort of things I don't know, and I'll hate
you!
: Well, as it happens, I already know something you don't know. About
Meg and a certain former tutor of mine, soon to be employed at the firm
Laurence and Laurence.
: Liar!
Has Meg mislaid a certain personal article, such as a glove?
: Meg, John Brooke stole your glove!
: What glove? Not the white one?
: He's had it forever. Laurie says he keeps it in his pocket! You must tell
him to return it? Hannah, dont you think he must give it back?
: What I think doesn't matter.

~ 225 ~

MRS. MARCH

: Its its a telegram from Washington Hospital. Your father's been


wounded.

MRS. MARCH
MEG
MRS. MARCH
BETH
AMY
MEG

:
:
:
:
:
:

MR. BROOKE
LAURIE
MRS. MARCH
MEG
MR. BROOKE
MRS. MARCH
MR. BROOKE

:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MRS. MARCH
MR. BROOKE
MRS. MARCH
MR. BROOKE
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

You'll have enough for the month.


Don't worry about us.
Beth dear, look in on the Hummels for me.
I will, marmee.
Where's Jo? Its almost six.
Doing battle with Aunt March for Marmee's railway ticket. John . . .
Mr. Brooke.
Ive come to offer myself as an escort for your mother.
Cook packed supper, and grandpa sends bottle of spirits for Mr. March.
Thank you.
Marmee, Mr. Brooke is here.
Mrs. March.
Mr. Brook.
As young Laurence no longer requires a tutor, Mr. Laurence has
commissions for me in Washington. I should like to be a service to you
there. We couldn't let you travel alone.
Oh, Mr Brook, how kind of you!
May I?
Thank you.
We'll take the six o'clock train?
Yes, I sent Jo . . .but she hasnt returned
Marmee, Im here.
Finally... twenty-five! Can Aunt March spare it?
I couldn't bear to ask her... I sold my hair.

AMY
JO
MEG
HANNAH
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:
:
:

Jo, how could you! Your one beauty!


It isnt to affect the state of the union. It'll grow back.
It suits you. Tell Father that we love him. Tell him we pray for him.
I shall never forget his kindness.
Oh, Hannah, thank you. I shall miss my little women !

BETH
JO

: Are you thinking about Father?


: No, my hair

AMY
MEG

: Blast! This stove


: We'll eat them anyway.

~ 226 ~

There's no corn meal or coffee.


And we cant have anymore on account.
What can I bring the Hummels?
Oh, fry the Hummels! You spent hours there last week.
The boys were sick.
I mustn't tell marmee. She has enough burdens for noW.
I hate money!
Your potatoes!

JO
MEG
BETH
JO
BETH
MEG
JO
AMY

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MRS. HUMMEL
BETH

: Oh Beth
: I don't understand. I brought a

JO

: Laurie's home for the weekEnd! He must need funds, no doubts. We'd
get a week's food from what he spends in billiardS. Oh, gosh! Meg,
Meg, you wont believe it, I sold The Lost Duke of Loucester! Five
whole dollars! I'm an author Beth?
: The Hummel baby is sick. I feel so strange.

BETH
MEG
JO
HANNAH

AMY
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE

: She's burning, but she says she is freezing. She's terribly thirsty, but
won't drink.
: Arsenic? But she looks like more Belladonna?
: I saw the Hummels. Two children taken up to Jesus from scarlet fever.
You and Miss Jo wont be harmed, you have had it when you where
babies. But, Miss Amy, we have send you away.
: She won't die, will she, Laurie? God won't let her die. I don't wanna go
away.
: I'll come to see you every day, I swear. You won't be alone.
: I'm afraid of Aunt March.
: If she's unkind to you, I'll come and take you away.
: Where will we go?
: Paris?
: If I get scarlet fever and die, give Meg my box with the green doves on
it and Jo must have my turquoise ring.
: I'll see to it.
: I don't wanna die. I've never even been kissed. I've waited my whole
life to be kissed. And what if I miss it?
: I'll tell you what . . I promise to kiss you before you die.

~ 227 ~

I dont know, I dont think marmee should leave father.


But Beth needs marmee, she depends on her.

MEG
JO
MEG
HANNAH

:
:
:
:

AMY
AUNT MARCH
AMY

: "That he profane not my sancteraries . . ."


: Sanctuaries.
: Sanctuaries. "For I the Lord do sanctify them." "And Moses told it unto

AUNT MARCH
AMY

: Go on.
: "And the Lord said to Moses"

MEG
MR. LAURENCE

LAURIE

: Jo, Mr. Laurence is here.


: If we may, I wish my personal physician, doctor Bayne, will examine
the little girl.
: There's nothing to be done. If I bleed her, it will finish her. Best to send
for the mother. Forgive me
: I've already done so. Mrs. March arrives on the train this night.

MRS. MARCH

: Jo! Cricket, Marmee's here. Icy cold ! Jo, fetch a basin of vinegar, water, and

What if we send for her and father gets worse?


And how would we pay for the train?

Aaron, and to his sons all the children of Israel."

DR. BAYNE

some rags. Meg, my kit. We must draw the fever down from her head. Its all
right, its all right now.

JO

: Beth

JO

: And so our dear Beth came back to us, although fever weakened her hear
forever. We did not know then that a shadow had fallen. We prepared for
another Christmas without father.

JO
AUNT MARCH
MR. BROOKE
MEG
AMY
BETH
LAURIE
AMY
MR. LAURENCE
EVERYBODY

:
:
:
:
:
:
:

Try each corner. Thank you!

No! One bow's enough.


I'm so sorry!
It happens all the time. Here she comes.
What shall I do with the bows?
The house is beautiful.
Friends of mine from college. Freddy Vaughan, Averill Watson. They won't
bite.
: No, don't sit there, sit
: Here! Sit here, child. Merry Christmas!
: Merry Christmas!

~ 228 ~

MR. LAURENCE

: I should have given it to you long ago. It belonged to my little girl. Who had
to us when she was very young. But now it will make music again.

MRS. MARCH

: I fear you'll have a long engagement, three or four years. John must secure a
house before you can marry and do his service to the union.

JO
MRS. MARCH
JO
MEG

: John? Marry? That pokey old Mr. Brooke? How did he weaselled his
way into this family?
: Jo! John was very kind while father visiting father in hospital every day.
: He's dull as powder. Meg, cant you at least marry someone amusing!
: Im fond of Mr. Brook. He is good, kind and serious. I'm not afraid of being
poor.
Oh marmee! You can't just let her go and marry him.
I hardly just go and marry anyone!
Id rather Meg marry for love and be a poor man's wife than be rich and lose
one's self-respect.
So, you don't mind that he's poor?
No, but I'd rather he had a house.
Why must we marry at all? Why can't things stay as they are?
It's only a proposal, nothing need to be decided. Girls! Let's not spoil the day.
Father? Father!

JO
MEG
MRS. MARCH

:
:
:

MEG
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH
MEG
MR. MARCH
MRS. MARCH
AMY
MR. MARCH
AUNT MARCH
MR. MARCH
MRS. MARCH
MR. MARCH
HANNAH
MR. MARCH

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

MR. BROOKE
MR. MARCH
AMY
MEG
LAURIE
JO

:
:
:
:
:
:

JO

: Change will come like the seasons, and twice as quick. We make our
peace with it as best we can. Or, as Amy once said, when she was still a

Merry Chrsistmas everyone!


What a wonderful present!
Oh father, youre home!

Meg! BethThank God you're well.


Give him room to breathe!
My wild girl ! This could become the fashion. Im not used to this.
Be very careful.
Don't coddle me too much. Hannah, God bless you! It's good to see you.
It's good to have you home, Mr. March.
Now, let me look at my girls.
Cholera took more men than the rebs as I understand sir.
Agriculture isn't taught, as it should be and it should be required.
What happened with you and John?
Never you mind.
Isn't it wonderful, Jo?
Yes, it's wonderful.

~ 229 ~

little girl: "We'll all grow up someday. We might as well know what we
want."
AUNT MARCH

: So Amy has talent at drawing, but her landscapes lack emotion. I think she'd

WOMAN
AUNT MARCH

: What do you suggest?


: Cape Cod? But Europe is the best place.

JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:
:

JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:
:

JO

LAURIE

JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

JO

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
: Jo ... dear Jo. I swear I'll be a saint. I'll let you win every argument. I'll
take care of you and your family. I'll give you every luxury youve ever
been denied. You wont have to write unless you want to. Grandfather
wants me to learn the business in England. Can't you see us bashing
around London?
: oh Teddy, I'm not fashionable enough for London. You need someone whos

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

: I want you.
: Teddy, please. Don't ask me. I'm desperately sorry.
: No

benefit from study. But she won't get it around here.

Teddy! Teddy! your houseman said you wouldnt be home till night.
I couldnt wait so long.
Hail the conquering graduate! Is grandfather exceedingly proud?
Yes. But exceedingly bent over locking up me in one of his offices. Why can
Amy paint china, and you can scribble, while Im a man and must set music
aside?
Why must you?
If I don't I'd have to defy grandfather.
Yes, and not the whole of society.
I can't go against the old man. When I imagine myself in in that life I can
think of only one thing that would make me happy.
No. Teddy, Teddy don't oh, Teddy, we have to talk about this
reasonably.
I have loved you since the moment I clept eye on you. What can be more
reasonable than to marry you?
We'd kill each other.
Nonsense!
Neither of us can keep our tempers.
I can . . . unless provoked.
We're both stupidly stubborn, especially you. Wed only quarrel.
I wont.
You can't even propose without quarrelling.

elegant and refined.

~ 230 ~

JO

: I do care for you with all my earth. You're my dearest friend. But I just can't

LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

: You say you won't, but . . . You will!


: I won't, I won't.
: One day . . .you'll meet some man, a good man and you will love him
tremendously. And you Will live and die for him. You Will ! Jo I
know you. And I'll be hanged if I stand by and watch.

AMY
BETH
AMY
JO
BETH
JO
AMY
JO
AMY
JO
AMY

:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:

JO

: Of course Aunt March prefers Amy over me. Why shouldnt she, I'm
ugly and awkward and I always say the wrong things. I fly around
throwing away perfectly good marriage proposals. I love our home, but
I'm so fitful and I can't stand being here. I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Marmee.
There's something wrong with me. I want to change, but I can't, and I...
I just know I'll never fit in anywhere.
: Jo, Jo, you have so many extraordinary gifts. How can you expect to
lead an ordinary life? You're ready to go out and and find a good use
for your talents. Although I don't know what I shall do without my Jo.
Go... and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of
it.

go to be a wife.

MRS. MARCH

JO

Are you ill?


She has refused Laurie.
Well, I'm sure she can take it back. It's just a misunderstanding.
No...
No...
I wont listen to him . . . I must get away.
Of course. Aunt March is going to France.
France! That's ideal ! Id give anything to go!
Jo, Jo, Aunt March asked me to go.
To Europe? My Europe. When?
It was decided just today. Well, I am her companion now. She wishes
me to study painting abroad and hopes I might make a good match
there. But perhaps she wouldn't mind if you stayed at Plumfield
while we're gone.

: Laurie sought refuge in London and abroad. Marmee helped me find a


place in the great city of New York and so I stepped over the divide
between childhood and what lay beyond.

~ 231 ~

Mrs. Kirke?
Josephine!
Yes, how do you do?
Kitty, Minnie! This is Miss March. Her father, Colonel March, He
knew your papa. Watch your feet, Mr. Costigan. Oh, do come in, my
dear.

JO
MRS. KIRKE
JO
MRS. KIRKE

:
:
:
:

JO

: Dear Beth, marmees friend, Mrs. Kirke has made me feel quite at
home. My little students, Kitty and Minnie, are dear girls. How curious
to grow up in a busy boarding-house with no father and your own
mother the inn-keeper. I felt bold on leaving Concord, but I confess I
find New York rough and strange and myself strange in it. Mrs. Kirk
believes that Im here for a brief interlude of sensation experience
before succumbing to a matrimonial faith. But, while there's surely no
lack of sensational experiences available in such a city, I hope, though
I had no luck yet, that any experience I gain here would be strictly
literary, and that all events of romantic or sensational nature would be
entirely confined to the page.

EDITOR
JO
EDITOR

: Our subscribers do not like sentiment and fairy stories, miss.


: They're not fairy stories.
: Try one of the ladies' magazines.

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

: You know, when first I saw you, I thought: "She is a writer."


: What made you think so?
: Yes, I know many writers. In Berlin, I was I was a professor at the
university. Here I'm just a humble tutor, I'm afraid. No, please, sit
down.
: Thank you.
: You're far from home, Miss March. Do you miss your family?
: Very much. My sisters especially. And Laurie.
: She's your sister?
: No, he's a friend.
: You like your coffee?
: Oh, its.. It's very strong... I like it. You have quite a library. Did you
bring all these books from Germany?
: A few of them.
: May I?
: Of course. Most most of these II could not bear to leave behind. I

JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHER

~ 232 ~

sold everything I owned to get my passage to come here. But my books


. . . Never.
Shakespeare . . .Some books are so familiar that reading them it's like
being home again. Will you be returning to Berlin, Professor Bhaer?
Friedrich. Call me Friedrich. No. Sadly, the fatherland of Goethe and
Schiller is no more.
I adore Goethe. My father used to read me all the German poets when I
was a child.
Really, that is most surprising.
Well, my My mother and father were part of a a rather unusual
circle in Concord. Do you know the word "transcendentalist"?
But this is German romantic philosophy. We throw off constraints and
come to know ourselves through insight and experience It's out of
fashion now.
Well, Not in the March family, Im afraid. Its just that with all that
transcendence comes much emphasis on perfecting oneself.
This gives you a problem?
I'm hopelessly flawed.
If only we could transcend ourselves without perfection. Like your poet
Whitman, who writes up and down the streets with all his shouting
poetry on the street to the roar of the carts. "Keep your silent woods, oh
nature
...and your quiet places by the woods. Give me the streets of
Manhattan.
I think we are all hopelessly flawed.

JO

RROF. BHAER

JO

PROF. BHAER
JO

:
:

PROF. BHAER

JO

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

:
:
:

TOGETHER

PROF. BHAER

JO

: He is as poor, as one might imagine an itinerant philosopher to be. Yet,


as the weeks go by, I see he is unfailingly generous to all of us who
lives in the house. I am grateful to have a friend.

GENTLEMAN 1

: Our nation was founded on it. It was not a sort of a betrayal of our
countrys ideals.
: A constitution that denies basic rights of citizenship to women and
black people?
: They've passed the 15th amendment, Jack. They can vote.
: Black men can vote.
: A lady has no need of suffrage when she has a husband.
: No, no...
: You dont take wine?

GENTLEMAN 2
GENTLEMAN 3
GENTLEMAN 2
GENTLEMAN
JO
PROF. BHAER

~ 233 ~

JO
PROF. BHAER
GENTLEMAN 3
PROF. BHAER
JO

GENTLEMAN 3
JO
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
PROF. BHAER

JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
PROF. BHAER
JO

: Only medicinally.
: Well pretend you've got a cold.
: If women are a moral force, shouldnt they have the right govern,
preach and testify?
: What is it, Miss March?
: 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 they 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 many things, Mr. Maer.
: Friedrich? Oh, I'm sorry...
: No, please, please. Come in.
: I have some good news. A newspaper published two of my stories, and
they wish to see more.
: This is, this is wonderful!
: There.
: The Daily Volcano? "he Sinner's Corpse... by Joseph March. Lunatics...
vampires... This this interests you?
: People people like thrilling stories, Friedrich .This is what the
newspapers want.
: Yes ... yes I suppose I suppose that is that is true.
: It will buy a new coat for Beth. She'll be grateful for it.
: Jo
: I I do not want to be your teacher. No, understand me... I am saying
only that you should please yourself. My opinion is of no importance.
Do you forgive me?
: Of course.
: Can I make a gift? An experience? Do you like the opera?
: I do! I mean, I think I do. We don't seem to get much opera in Concord.
I I dont have an opera dress.
: You will be perfect. Where we are sitting, we shall not be so formal.
: Leila is a goddess. She has made a promise never to love. If she breaks
her vow, all will be lost. Look, trouble is coming.
: What is it going to happen?

~ 234 ~

PROF. BHAER

: The inevitable. Leila Leila's soul is opening. She is drawn to an idea.


He says, "Love has a fatal power." "Your heart understood mine." "In
the depth of the fragrant night, I listened with ravished soul to your
beloved voice." "Your heart understood mine."

AMY

: Laurie! You wicked... We heard you were in Greece or somewhere.


Youve been much occupied with business, Im sure.
: Im not pursuing business just now. Grandfather agreed I should
concentrate on my music for a while.
: You know Fred Vaughan.
: Freddy!
: Good day, Laurence.
: Yes, I see youve taken up a passion for art, Freddy. Aunt March, you
look splendid.
: I cannot say the same for you, my boy. Amy dear, Will you be long? I
must retire.
: Yes, aunt March. Do come and see us.
: Are they engaged?
: Not yet.

LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE
VAUGHAN
LAURIE
AUNT MARCH
AMY
LAURIE
AUNT MARCH
JO
PROF. BHAER
AMY
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE
AMY

LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE

: Friedrich, how long would strychnine take to dissolve in brandy? About


eight minutes? And is.. is a dagger worn at the waist, or is that a sabre?
: I think in these novels, the dagger is usually concealed in the boot. By
a man with a dark moustache.
: Oh, Laurie, how lovely!
: It isn't what it should be, but you have improved it.
: Please don't. I liked you much better when you were blunt and natural.
: It did not serve me well.
: I find you changed. In fact, I despise you. You laze about, spending
your familys money and courting women. You aren't serious about
music.
: My compositions are like your paintings. Mediocre copies of another
man's genius.
: And why dont go to grandfather in London and make yourself useful?
: I should. Why don't you reform me?
: I've someone more practical in mind.
: You do not love Fred Vaughan.
: Fred Vaughan stable and well-mannered...
: And has 40,000 a year.

~ 235 ~

AMY
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE
AMY
LAURIE

AMY
LAURIE
MAIDEN
AMY
LAURIE

MAIDEN
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER

JO
PROF. BHAER

: I've always known I would not marry a pauper. I expect a proposal any
day.
: You'll regret it. Ill regret it. I'm reminded of a promise. Didn't I say I
would kiss you before you die?
: Do you hear from Jo? She has befriended a German professor.
: Oh, well. No doubt he's showing her the ways of the world.
: I do not wish be courted by someone who is still in love with my sister.
: I'm not in love with Jo.
: Then how do you explain your jealousy?
: I envy her happiness. I envy his happiness. I envy John Brooke for
marrying Meg. I hate Fred Vaughan. If Beth had a lover I'd despise him,
too. Just as you knew you would never marry a pauper, I have always
known I should be part of the March family.
: I do not wish to be loved for my family.
: Any more than Fred Vaughan wishes to be loved for his 40,000 a year.
: Mademoiselle.
: Merci.
: My darling Amy, it is you I want, not your family. I have gone to
London to make myself worthy of you. Please, do not do anything we
shall regret.
: Monsieur Vaughan, Mademoiselle. May I show him in?
: Friedrich ! Did you read it?
: Yes... It's its well written, Jo. The first novel. What a great
accomplishment!
: I'm going to show it to your publishers friend, Mr. Fields, you know.
He liked Sinner's Corpse. What is it?
: Mr. Fields is a good man. He will give you an honest opinion.
: I see ... What's your honest opinion?
: I'm a professor of philosophy, Jo.
: No, I'd like to know what you think.
: You should you should be writing from from life. From the depths
of your soul. There is nothing in here of the woman I am privileged to
know.
: Friedrich, this is what I write. I apologise if it doesn't live up to your
standards.
: Jo, there is more to you than this, if you have the courage to write it.

~ 236 ~

Meg!
Jo? Jo!
Oh, Meg! Why didn't you tell me?
One hardly speaks of such things.
How wonderful. How is Beth?
You will find her much altered.

JO
MEG
JO
MEG
JO
MEG

:
:
:
:
:
:

JO
MRS. MARCH

: Marmee...
: She wouldnt let send for you sooner. The doctor's been a number of
times, but it's beyond all of us and I think she's been waiting for you,
before...

JO
BETH
JO

: Drink up all this good broth.


: I'm glad you're home.
: So am I.

JO

: "Mr. Pickwick changed colour." Ah said Mr. Workfolk" well, that's


important. There's nothing more suspicious, then, I suppose"
: I feel stronger with you close by.
: We'll get you better yet.
: If God wants me with him, there is none who will stop him. I don't
mind. I was never like the rest of you... making plans about the great
things Ill do. I never saw myself as anything much. I'm not a great
writer, like you.
: Beth, I'm not a great writer.
: But you will be. Oh Jo, I've missed you so. Why does everyone want to
go away? I love being home. But I don't like being left behind. Now I'm
the one going ahead. I am not afraid. I can be brave like you. But I
know I shall be homesick for you. Even in heaven.
: Oh, Beth I won't let you go.

BETH
JO
BETH

JO
BETH

JO

JO

: Aunt March is bedridden, and would not survive to see the voyage.
Amy must bide her time and return later. It's just as well.
: But will we never all be together again?

LAURIE
BUTLER
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:
:

MRS. MARCH

Lovely morning.
Thank you, sir.
Dearest Laurie. You may not have heard our sad news of Beth.
"Meg has entered her confinement, and poor Amy must stay in Vivay

~ 237 ~

JO

with aunt March."


: This is far too great a sorrow to bear alone. Please come home to us.
Your faithful Jo.

AMY

: Laurie ... I knew you would come.

BETH

AMY
LAURIE

: The real charm was Beth's happy face at the new piano as she lovingly
touched
the beautiful black and white keys.
: And in the next few minutes the rumour spread that Amy March had got
twenty-four delicious limes.
: I told you they dressed me up, but I didnt tell you that the powered and
squeeze me not that they made me a fashion plate.
: As she spoke, Jo took off her bonnet. A general outcry arose for her
abundant hair was cut short.
: Jo, how could you? Your one beauty.
: Nothing's going to change, Jo.

JO
MRS. MARCH
HANNAH
MEG
MR. BROOKE

:
:
:
:
:

JO
MEG
JO
MEG
JO

: Oh, Daisy... Meg, she's so beautiful. And him! Hes handsome. He'll
look just like his papa.
: Yes, he does look like John. Have you heard from the professor?
: No no. We did not part well.
: John and I don't always agree, but then we mend it.
: Who could that be?

JO
LAURIE
JO
LAURIE

:
:
:
:

AMY
MEG
JO

AMY
JO

Surprise!
John, you have a daughter.
And a son.
I can't believe you did this four times.
Yes, but but never two at once, my darling.

Teddy! This is magic!


You are absolutely...
... covered in flour! Oh dear! Come in!
No Jo. Not yet. May I Tell you something, without the others? You are
my dear friend I'm glad you're the first to know. May I present... my
wife.
: Jo.
: Amy!

~ 238 ~

MRS. MARCH
AMY
MRS. MARCH
MAY

JO
LAURIE
JO

MEG
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH
JO
MRS. MARCH
JO
HANNAH
JO
HANNAH
JO
HANNAH

JO
HANNAH
JO

: Brussels lace!
: I went to Europe to paint the great cathedrals but I couldn't get our
home out of my mind.
: Look how Amy has captured Orchard House. It's beautiful!
: Not as beautiful as I wanted, but I am still learning. Dear little angel. Jo,
you must tell me the truth, as a sister, which is a relationship stronger
than marriage... Do you mind at all?
: Oh, no. I was surprised. Mind you, I had it on good authority that our
Teddy would never love another, and now he's married.
: It's good to hear you call me "Teddy" again.
: At last we're all family, as we always should have been. You must
promise to live close by. I couldn't bear losing another sister.
: Jo, it's so gloomy and chilly.
: It would take an income just for the coal. What could the old aunt have
beEn thinking?
: Most likely she felt sorry for me. Decrepit homeless spinster. Poor
Aunt, living all those years alone in this... useless old house.
: Yes, her blessings became a burden, because she couldnt share it.
Wouldn't this be a wonderful school?
: A school
: What a challenge that would be!
: Hello, Tuppy. My book! Someone's publishing my book! Hannah!
Hannah! Someone's publishing my book.
: Heaven help us!
: It came with no letter. How did it arrive?
: Foreign gentleman brought it. Strange kind of name... Cant think of it.
Oh, "Fox" or "Bear"...
: Bhaer! Did you ask him to wait?
: I thought it was one of Miss Amy's European friends coming with
wedding present... I said Miss March and Mr. Laurie are living next
door.
: Hannah, you didnt!
: He said he had a train to catch.
: Friedrich ! Thank you for my book. When I didn't hear from you I I
thought you hated it.

~ 239 ~

PROF. BHAER

JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO

PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO
PROF. BHAER
JO

: Oh no. Reading your book was like opening a window into your heart.
James Fields took it out of my hands and would not give it back to me. I
said, such news I have to give to her myself. Well, it was it was a
silly impulse.
: No, not silly at all. It's so good to see you. Come and meet my family.
: Thank you, but I I have to catch a train. I I'm going to the West.
My ship leaves from Boston tomorrow morning.
: Oh
: Yes The.. The schools in the West are young. They need professors,
and... they're not so concerned about the accent.
: I don't mind it, either. You see, my aunt left me Plumfield. It isn't a
field. Its a house, a rather large house. And and it isnt good for
anything, except for a school. And I want a good school. One that's
open to anyone who wants to learn. I'll be needing someone who knows
how to teach. Is there anything I might say to keep you here?
: I confess that... I was hoping I might have a reason to stay, but...
Congratulations on the celebration OF your marriage.
: Oh, no! That's Thats Amy. My sister, Amy, and Laurie, actually.
No, I'm not married. Please don't go so far away.
: Jo... Such a little name for... such a person. Will you have me?
: With all of my heart.
: But I have nothing to give you. My hands are empty.
: Not empty now.

~ 240 ~

Bibliography

Primary texts:
Alcott, Louisa May, Little Women, London: Penguin, 1994.
Alcott, Louisa May, Good Wives, London: Penguin, 1995.

Reference texts:

Aa. Vv., Lo spazio della conversazione, a cura di Carla Dente Baschiera, Mario
Domenichelli, Anthony L. Johnson, Pisa: ETS, 1996.
Aijmer Karin, Conversational Routines in English: Convention and Creativity,
London: Longman, 1996.
Bazzanella Carla, Linguistica e pragmatica del linguaggio: unintroduzione, Bari:
Laterza, 2005.
Biber Douglas, Johansson Stig, Leech Geoffrey, Conrad Susan, Finegan Edward,
The Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English, Harlow: Longman, 1999.
Brown Penelope, Levinson Stephen, Politeness: Some Universal in Language
Usage, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
Casetti Francesco, di Chio Federico, Analisi del film, Milano: Bompiani, 1990.
Diamond Julie, Status and Power in Verbal Interaction: a Study of Discourse in a
Close Knit Social Network, Amsterdam; Philadelphia: Benjamins, 1996.
Fabb Nigel, Linguistic and Literature, Oxford: Blackwell, 1997.

~ 241 ~

Gramley Stephan, Ptzold Kurt-Michael, A Survey of Modern English, London:


Routledge, 2004.
Grice Paul, Logic and Conversation, in Syntax and Semantics, edited by Peter
Cole and Jerry Morgan, New York: Academy Press, 1975.
Halliday Michael Alexander Kirkwood, Spoken and Written Language, Oxford:
Oxford University Press, 1989.
Jakobson Roman, On Linguistic Aspects of Translation, in On Translation, edited
by Brower Reuben, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1959.
Leech Geoffrey N., Principles of Pragmatics, New York: Longman, 1983.
Leech Geoffrey N., Short Michael H., Style in Fiction: a Linguistic Introduction
to English Fictional Prose, London and New York: Longman, 1981.
Pridham Francesca, The Language of Conversation, London: Routledge, 2001.
Rutelli Romana, Semiotica (e)semplificata, Alessandria: DellOrso: 2000.
Simpson Paul, Stylistics: a Resource Book for Students, London: Routledge, 2004.
Tannen Deborah, Conversational Styles, Norwood: Ablex: 1984.
Tannen Deborah, Gender and Discourse, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.
Tannen Deborah, Spoken and Written Language: Exploring Orality and Literacy,
Norwood: Ablex, 1982.
Tannen Deborah, The Handbook of Discourse Analysis, Oxford: Blackwell, 2001.
Zwicky Arnold, Heywhatsyourname, in Papers from the 10th regional meeting of
the Chicago society (CLS), p. 787-801.

~ 242 ~

Filmography

1933 (RKO Radio Pictures): Little Women


Screenplay: Sarah Y. Mason and Victor Heerman
Director: George Cukor
Cast: Katharine Hepburn (Jo), Joan Bennet (Amy), Jean Parker (Beth), Frances
Dee (Meg), Spring Brington (Mrs. March), Samuel S. Hinds (Mr. March),
Douglass Montgomery (Laurie), Paul Lukas (professor Bhaer), Edna May Oliver
(aunt March), John Lodge (John Brooke), Henry Stephenson (Mr. Laurence),
Mabel Colcord (Hannah).

1949 (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer): Little Women


Screenplay: Victor Heerman
Director: Mervin LeRoy
Cast: June Allyson (Jo), Elizabeth Taylor (Amy), Margaret OBrian (Beth), Janet Leigh
(Meg), Mary Astor (Mrs. March), Leon Ames (Mr. March), Peter Lawford (Laurie),
Rossano Brazzi (professor Bhaer), Lucile Watson (aunt March), Richard Wyler (John
Brooke) , C. Aubrey Smith (Mr. Laurence), Elizabeth Patterson (Hannah).

~ 243 ~

1994 (Columbia Pictures Corporation): Little Women


Screenplay: Robin Swicord
Director: Gillian Armstrong
Cast: Winona Ryder (Jo), Kirsten Dunst (younger Amy), Samantha Mathis (older Amy),
Claire Danes (Beth), Trini Alvarado (Meg), Susan Sarandon (Mrs. March), Matthew
Walker (Mr. March), Christian Bale (Laurie), Gabriel Byrne (professor Bhaer), Mary
Wickes (aunt March), Erick Stoltz (John Brooke), John Neville (Mr. Laurence), Florence
Paterson (Hannah).

~ 244 ~