*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have seen any of the adaptations.
There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Little Women to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
When it comes to the youngest child in a large family, it is often the case that he or she may be spoiled and/or babied by their parents and elder siblings. In Little Women, Amy March is the youngest of the four March sisters. Introduced to the reader as a pre-teen, Amy is a proud child who is used to being spoiled and babied by her parents and her sisters. She also has quite the dramatic streak and like Jo, can be temperamental at times.
She starts to grow up with a couple of events that will change the course of her life: nearly freezing to death in a lake and losing her elder sister, Beth. Eventually, she married Laurie Laurence, her long time neighbor who is also Jo’s bestie. An artist by heart and by nature, one of Amy’s great loves is her art.
While Amy never truly gives up the need to be popular or an eye on the finer things in life, she grows up to become a woman with a heart and a sense of gratitude.
To sum it up: Growing up is not and has never been a straight line. It is a zig zag, a winding road that has pitfalls and challenges. There maybe some metaphorical potholes that cause a metaphorical skinned knee along the way. Like all of us, Amy does grow up, but not before having a few metaphorical skinned knees of her own along the way. As writers, when creating characters who grow from childhood to adulthood over the course of the narrative, it is our job to ensure that audience/reader relates to the character’s growth from childhood to adulthood.
Amy March endures because her narrative is comparable to any coming of age story. The writer who is writing their own coming of age story ought to remember Amy’s story, because it is how a coming of age story should be written.