Reply To: Rubber boots and tennis balls

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I did see the Hunger Games movies but unfortunately did not read Suzanne Collins’s books for the source material. I think the books are most often way better than the movies, so I would perhaps encourage you to read Louisa Mae Alcott’s “Little Women” as source material for Jo. I have a feeling she is not nearly as much a “progressive feminist” in the original book as the movies portray her to be. Hollywood pushes their own subversive agendas and they rarely ever treat the source with respect when they adapt it to the screen.

Both of these are facinating case studies. And interestingly enough, they have similar arcs. Jo’s arc is trying to hold on to her dreams and identity against the force of society, and Katniss is trying to hold on to her sanity and agency against the force of society.

(I think the reason you both mentioned both these characters as feminist is because they both actively protest certain obligations that society enforces on them. Though I’d argue not necessarily biblical obligations.)

I haven’t watched either movie, but I’ve read all the beforementioned books (multiple times, those are some of my favorites 🙂 )

One of my favorite female protagonists is Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games series. Although I enjoy the story and her character I don’t agree that a woman should be the overall “leader” of the army, if you will. I believe that should be the man’s role. Do you agree, biblically speaking?

Hunger Games is especially interesting since in the books, it’s often stressed that Katniss isn’t in charge of anything. Especially in the last book, the people in leadership position try to take away all her agency and force her into a role as figurehead for people to crowd behind. She’s actively fighting against the revolution as often as she’s fighting for it. The revolution doesn’t care about her, they only care about what she can do for them.

I don’t know how it was in the movies, but in the books, Katniss literally has a complete mental breakdown by the end of Mockingjay, to the point where she tries to commit suicide. The last chapters are written like it’s happening in a dream, everything feels distant and unnatural, reflecting how Katniss is completely disconnected from life. It’s heartbreaking and an appropriate ending to Mockingjay. (A lot of people don’t like it, but I think it was perfect.)

She’s a puppet being shoved around for other people’s gain, and she knows and hates it.

Another favorite of mine is Jo March from Little Woman. I’m not quite halfway through the book, so I will be speaking mainly from what I’ve seen in the movies (1994 I believe, and 2019 versions). Although I love Jo and can relate to her more than any of them, she is a huge feminist. She doesn’t believe that a woman shouldn’t have the goal in life to get married and raise a family, and I completely disagree. That is what the God commands us women to do.

I think this is a matter of nuance, and it may have been lost in the movies.
Jo never believes that women in general shouldn’t get married. When her sisters get married, she’s completely supportive of their decision. With Meg it was a little different, but for a different reason.

She was resistant because she believed that John wasn’t good enough for her, and she was afraid that it would change her relationship with her sister, not because she believed marrige to be inherently bad. It was selfish of her, and she gradually grows to accept Meg’s relationship.

Throughout the books, Jo is very past-focused. She tries to preserve her relationships with her friends exactly as they were, without letting them change. (She gradually matures beyond this, but it’s a constant theme.)

I’m going to be talking mainly about the last half of “Good Wives” (It’s usually compiled with Little Women) because that’s where you see Jo’s development and struggle most prominently.

She rejects Laurie not because she doesn’t want to ‘waste herself’ on marrige, but because she sees that she and Laurie aren’t compatible and will eventually be unhappy. She wants to keep their relationship platonic because she sees that their futures aren’t aligned and they’ll end up making each other miserable. She loves Laurie, but she’s not in love with him.

Besides that, she feels like marrige will force her to give up parts of her identity if she wants to keep the peace. She doesn’t want to lose herself.

Laurie doesn’t take this well, obviously, because he seems to think that it was the natural next step in their relationship without thinking beyond.

Gradually, in the last part of the book, after Beth’s death, Jo is alone. Amy and Laurie are away, Meg is married, and Beth died. She’s incredibly lonely as her whole family has grown up and left her behind, clinging to a past that will never come back.

(In the book, she writes a poem that illustrates this beautifully. You’ll know what I mean when you see it.)

She’s torn between giving up her writing, her ambitions, her independance, and everything she always dreamed about for companionship and even romance. Anything to replace the emptiness in her life.

Her relationship with Professor Baer is different from her ‘relationship’ with Laurie. She doesn’t feel like she has to change herself or her future to maintain a relationship with him, and that’s why she eventually gets married.

Personally, I love Jo’s arc. It’s meaningful and the outcome is satisfying. It feels like Jo is more herself with Professor Baer than she is by herself.

TL;DR, Jo never opposed marrige, she was afraid of it. She supported her sisters’ decisions to get married, but her own lies were getting in the way of a meaningful relationship. She grew beyond that.

(I might have spelled marrige incorrectly every time but y’all are going to have to live with it XD)

Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

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