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MonkeyNotes-Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
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Chapter 28: Domestic Services

Summary

Meg learns to keep her own house and practices her cooking skills. In a desire to faithfully meet her husbandís needs, she tells him that he can bring friends home to dinner anytime and neednít bother to ask her first.

Megís good intention backfires when she decides to make currant jelly. After an entire day of cooking and recooking and making a complete mess of her kitchen, the jelly still wonít gel, and Meg canít bring herself to run to her mother for an answer to the problem.

John brings his friend Mr Scott home, but Meg is neither prepared nor willing to entertain company. When John makes a joke about the jelly, it is the last straw for Meg. She shuts herself in her room leaving John to entertain his friend. Later that evening they make up with Meg being the first to apologize.

Meg has access to her husbandís income and keeps a little account book which she voluntarily shows him every month. In the autumn of their first year, however, Meg spends a lot of time with Sally Moffat. They shop together and Meg, who loves pretty things, spends more money than she realizes. The worse expenditure is $50.00 for some shimmering silk cloth to make a new dress. Meg explains that she didnít mean to waste his money but that she canít help wanting nice things when she sees all that Sally has. Her words hurt John deeply; he doesnít scold or mention it again but he works later at night and finally cancels an order for a new coat for himself because he "canít afford it." Overcome with guilt, Meg persuades Sally to buy the silk; she then uses the money to buy the coat for John.

At the end of the chapter, Megís first children are born, a set of twins who are named Margaret and John Laurence and given the nicknames Daisey and Demi.


Notes

John and Meg are both at fault in their first quarrel. However, the submissive role that women of the day were taught to observe is expressed in Megís recall of her motherís advice to "be the first to ask pardon when you both err." The overspending on her part is a different matter though. Her girlish desires for pretty dresses and expensive trinkets mature suddenly as she has to decide between her wants and Johnís needs. Since Sally is seldom mentioned in subsequent chapters about Meg, we can assume that Meg spends less time with her following the incident.

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