When Laurie starts to make his moves on Jo the book Jo feels very uncomfortable by that. She says no many times, but he doesn´t listen or respect her. In the book, Jo is a way more mature character than Laurie is but in the recent adaptations this is not the case. In Greta Gerwig´s film after Jo has nearly confessed to Marmee that she is in love with Friedrich the film Jo suddenly decides to write Laurie and accept his proposal. One might argue that the open ending is a cop-out not to handle Jo´s loneliness and maximize the profits of the film by trying to please This does not happen in the book. everyone. When Laurie proposes to Jo he says he wants Jo to take care of him and he doesn´t want Jo to continue writing when Laurie´s behaviour becomes possessive it is now that Jo finally realizes what it feels like for a woman when someone does not respect your boundaries. Laurie guilt-trips Jo for a very long time and he makes fun of Friedrich even when he has never met him. This is a common narrative in Louisa May Alcott´s novels.

In Rose in Bloom Charlie wishes to marry Rose, because of her money. He is a lot like Laurie, a champ who everyone likes but he is also very sensitive and escapes himself to gambling and alcohol. Rose eventually falls for Mac who is basically a younger Scottish-American version of Friedrich. In Work story of experience, the protagonist Christie is courted by a man called Fletcher. A wealthy man who would like to own her and Christie feels very uncomfortable with his possessive behaviour. There were no me-too campaigns in the 19th century. In true Alcottian style, these men are all forgiven. Laurie goes through a process in which Amy plays an important part and thanks to her low bs level Laurie actually improves himself. Fletcher and Charlie are not so lucky and in their death beds, they apologize to the protagonist. Laurie was never in love with Jo. He was looking for an excuse to keep their relationship as it was so that he would not have to grow or to take responsibility of his actions, but Jo wants to leave that toxic cycle they are in. Especially after she has returned from New York and opened her heart for Friedrich.

Check out the full video essay ”Love and Sex in Little Women” https://youtu.be/mzuK9xH54KQ