The CW is planning to put Little Women‘s March sisters into a gritty, dystopian world for a new TV show, and boy, are we intrigued! Here are nine moments from the book that could be interpreted as dark and shocking.
According to E!, “The CW has a script in development that is described as a ‘hyper-stylized, gritty adaptation’ of Louisa May Alcott’s literary classic Little Women.”
The script is written by Alexis Jolly and details the life of “disparate half-sisters Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy” as they “band together in order to survive the [dystopian] streets of Philadelphia and unravel a conspiracy that stretches far beyond anything they have ever imagined — all while trying not to kill each other in the process.”
Though it may seem a strange premise, we went back and took a look at Little Women and decided to highlight some of the grittier moments from the beloved book.
1. Jo the devil worshiper
Jo, the most rebellious of the March sisters, follows in Shakespeare’s footsteps by writing a play called The Witch’s Curse, in which “Hagar, the witch, chanted an awful incantation over her kettleful of simmering toads.” Does this imply that Jo was a secret devil worshiper? Or, at the very least, a Wicca sympathizer? We really hope the new TV show explores this bewitching side of Jo and her affinity for the occult.
2. Scrabble the rat
The March girls are so poor they can’t afford a proper pet like a pony. Jo’s forced to spend her free time with Scrabble, a disgusting rat. Scrabble lives in a hole in the wall and may or may not be riddled with fleas that carry the virus for bubonic plague.
3. Meg’s greedy lust for expensive stuff
Meg’s first line in the novel is, “‘It’s so dreadful to be poor!’ sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.” Who can blame her? What girl doesn’t want expensive dresses and fine jewelry? The question is, what is Meg willing to do to get the stuff she can’t afford? We’d like to see Meg indulge in a life of crime to satisfy her greedy lust for material objects
4. Jo: more than a tomboy
We know Jo is the most independent, adventurous and least ladylike of the sisters. She wants to pursue a career as a writer rather than get married and live a domestic life. We hope the new TV show takes her character one step further to add diversity and represent her as a lesbian. How awesome would it be to see Jo “come out” as gay to the other March sisters?
5. Laurie’s pre-punk rock music
The same way that Jo tries to buck gender stereotypes, the male character Theodore Laurence, called Laurie, wants to pursue a music career instead of business, much to his father’s dismay. Not being accepted by his dad and society would no doubt cause Laurie to be angry, and we think this angst would be reflected in his edgy, atonal, pre-punk rock music.
6. The real reason the girls ate pickled limes
At the time Little Women was written, pickled key limes were popular snacks and schoolgirls would trade them with their besties. In the 19th century, however, scurvy, caused by a vitamin C deficiency, was a devastating disease that caused bleeding from mucous membranes, yellow skin, loss of teeth and eventually death. So in reality, these girls could have been using the limes to stave off this horrible disease.
7. Amy’s Fifty Shades of Grey moment
Amy’s frenemy, Miss Snow, tattles on Amy for having a hoard of limes in her desk. Their male teacher, Mr. Davis, decides to punish her by smacking her palm. He says, “‘Your hand, Miss March!” Amy is described as “too proud to cry or beseech,” and that she “set her teeth, threw back her head defiantly, and bore without flinching several tingling blows on her little palm.” Amy doesn’t even flinch! Could this moment foreshadow a Christian Grey-type of relationship with her future husband?
8. Amy the pyromaniac
Jo and Meg get invited to see a play with Laurie. Amy desperately wants to go, but Jo harshly tells her she can’t because she’s not invited. Amy, overcome with anger, decides to burn Jo’s manuscript in the fire. Of course, she could have just hidden it or ripped it up, but Amy seems to really enjoy watching things burn.
9. Beth’s dark depression
In Chapter 36, Beth confesses to Jo that Beth knows she’s going to die, and asks Jo to tell her parents this sad truth. Jo says, “If I can. But, Beth, don’t give up yet. I’m going to believe that it is a sick fancy, and not let you think it’s true.” Her reference to a “sick fancy” is her depression and unwillingness to fight for her life.