*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.
Romance is wonderful. It is a magic, it is light, it is hearts and flowers, etc. But behind that romance is commitment and more often than not the commitment is harder than the romance. The commitment requires patience, compromise and the willingness to work on the relationship with your spouse or partner.
In Little Women, Meg March, the eldest of the March daughters is the first to marry. In her time, a young lady in her position was often advised to marry up. A rich man to call husband was the goal. But Meg, despite her quiet and compliant nature, follows her heart. She marries John Brooke, who is introduced to Meg and the audience early in the novel. At this point, he is earning his bread as a tutor. His pupil is Teddy Laurence, the boy who lives next door to the March family.
At first glance, John does not appear to offer much to Meg, especially looking through the lens of the 1860’s. He does not have the money or the connections of other men. He is humble and quiet. Both he and Meg know that when they marry, they will have comfortable, but modest life together.
To sum it up: Sometimes, when a writer is creating a romantic narrative, they may go a little over the top. For a certain type of story, going over the top is fine. But for others, going over the top is unnecessary. The best romances are the ones that reflect reality and the difficulty that often comes with being in love with another person and trying to make a relationship with that person last. The relationship/marriage between John and Meg continues to inspire readers and writers because it is grounded in reality. That reality, regardless of how far out the narrative is, is one of the keys to pulling in an audience/reader and keeping them in that place until the story is done.