Little Women and “the answer to every question”

By Trix Wilkins

It’s one of my favorite movie conversations. The one in that hilarious Pride and Prejudice modernization You’ve Got Mail where Joe Fox adamantly tells Kathleen Kelly that “the Godfather is the answer to every question.” This was the sole reason why at the impressionable age of seventeen I consequently watched all three Godfathers.

Joe Fox was wrong. The Godfather did no such thing for me, but perhaps that had more to do with the fact that I personally didn’t have any questions to do with “the family business.”

Answer to every question PIC
Background design courtesy of Canva

The appeal of that line however endures, so I will now brazenly make the same claim – that in Little Women might be found “the answer to every question.” The next aren’t all the questions in the universe(s), but the answers from Little Women have definitely helped me!

Your neighbors can’t afford Christmas dinner

Take your Christmas breakfast or feast over to them. You never know what might come of it. You might make friendships that last a lifetime (all the March sisters, Laurie and Mr Laurence).

You can’t afford to go to the theatre

Write your own plays! Treasure hand-me-down bits, make your own costumes and bring out those special boots on every occasion. Perform for the neighbourhood kids and make your own theatre sets.

Your mother is raising your family on her own

Spend some savings on special gifts for her to let you know how much you appreciate her (all the sisters), help out around the house (Beth), bring her flowers (Laurie).

Your best clothes still don’t suit that fancy party you were politely invited to

Don’t get the one sister or friend you have who doesn’t care a bit about looks to curl your hair (Meg and Jo), do find a good hiding place but do dance (Jo and Laurie), don’t wear tight high heels dancing (Meg).

You’re feeling grumpy about boring work (or just having to work at all)

Tell your sisters and your mother of your woes. Your sisters will probably commiserate with you, and your mother will say something kind and wise to put your “burdens” in perspective (Mrs March).

You have too many books and not enough friends

Share your books! When your neighbour visits you when you are sick, welcome them and tell them plainly they are free to borrow your books. Remember friendships are about quality not quantity (Laurie and Jo).

You’ve been given a generous gift and you don’t have the money to buy one to say thanks

Make a personalized present. Everyone has a talent – use yours to make something special to say thank you, and a personal visit never goes astray (Beth and Mr Laurence).

All the kids at school are doing it…!

Just…Don’t. There are most definitely better things to spend your money on (Amy and the limes).

You want to go out without your younger siblings annoying you

Gentle words are best…Don’t poke the bear and say provoking things to the sibling who gets left at home and who might burn your book in a fit (Jo and Amy).

You want to go out with your siblings and that boy you have a crush on but they won’t let you

Simply wait, he’ll come around (it might be years but sometimes it takes years for them to be ready). Don’t chase them ice skating when you don’t know how to check the ice (Amy).

You keep losing your temper because, well, people…

Leave the room before the words have a chance to come out. And if you do marry anyone, let it be someone loving and patient and who believes you can conquer your temper (Jo and Mrs March).

What are some life lessons you’ve learned from Little Women? 


Author and book sale PIC

8 thoughts on “Little Women and “the answer to every question”

  1. You want to be a writer?
    Write what you know. Jo had a modicum of success writing for trashy tabloids. She had a huge success writing about the values instilled in her by her parents.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great Post! I adore Little Women. The Courtship of Jo March: a variation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women sounds very interesting. IS it a good read?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A blogger making a reference to You’ve Got Mail is always a good sign (there are a few in mine too). I think Godfather is the answer to any question for men only. My first boyfriend was heavily influenced by it too, and I never resented it because he was a gentleman, so I figure the Godfather can’t be so bad. But in the film, I think they put that in because Tom Hanks loves the Godfather and so that persona is really him.

    Strangely enough, I’ve never think of You’ve Got Mail as a Pride and Prejudice modernization. It is actually, a more virtual world, brand advertisement sort of way. But somehow it’s also very unique, and even though the characters are driven by the same emotions– pride, and prejudice, I don’t think of them as the same. Nora Ephron is heavily influenced by both literature and classic movies, and displays that in all of her movies, my favorite one being Sleepless in Seattle.

    “And if you do marry anyone, let it be someone loving and patient and who believes you can conquer your temper.” What a lovely thought this!


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