Before Jo goes to New York she has been quite frustrated from the way Laurie is not interested in his studies. Jo can not attend university because of her gender. Friedrich sees Jo as his intellectual equal. 1994 film captures the meeting of the minds perfectly. BPS series is so far the only adaptation that has included a symposium, leaving the symposium. There is another reference to transcendentalism when Friedrich and Jo talk about Kant´s theories.

In the book, Friedrich and Jo attend a symposium together. It is a very important part in the books because the reader finds out that Jo´s and Friedrich´s morals go together. In the symposium, Jo meets famous poets, writers and philosophers. Some who she has put on a pedestal but her opinions are about to change.

”Her reverence for genius received a severe shock that night and it took some time for her to recover from the discovery that the great creatures were only men and women after all. Turning as from a fallen idol she made other discoveries that rapidly dispelled her romantic illusions. Imagine her dismay on stealing a glance of timid admiration at the poet who lines suggested ethereal being fed on spirit, fire and dew to behold him derringer his supper with an order which flushed his intellectual countenance.

Already in the first part of Little Women, we find out that Jo doesn´t always enjoy the higher class social gatherings. Now that she is in the circles of writers, poets and intellectuals which is the world where she longs to be part of she is disappointed by her own illusions that she has created about that world.

”Before the evening was half over. Jo felt so dis-disillusioned that she sat down in a corner to recover herself. Mr Bhaer soon joined her looking rather out of his element and presently several of the philosophers each mounted on his hobby came baling up to hold an intellectual tournament in the recess.

Friedrich also seems to feel that he is in the wrong place. Jo becomes distressed when she is following the debate and one of the young philosophers puts intellect above god. After some hesitation, Friedrich keeps his speech defending religion. Speech leaves an everlasting impression on Jo and I would even argue that this is when Jo starts to realize that her feelings for Friedrich are more than friendship.

”She began to see that character is better possession than money, rank, intellect or beauty and feel that if greatness is what a wise man has to find it to be truth, reverence and goodwill, then her friend Friedrich Bhaer was not only good but great”.

Video essay:Love and sex in little women (Louisa May Alcott and 19th century courtship) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzuK9xH54KQ&ab_channel=SmallUmbrellaInTheRain-LittleWomenChannel