Thursday, March 18, 2010

Favorite Fictional Character--Beth March

FFC is a weekly event hosted by Ryan at Wordsmithonia.

I decided to do my FFC this week on my other favorite character from Little Women since I've been on a Little Women kick, what with finding out about Little Vampire Women and all!

Beth was the quiet, kind and reliable sister.  She was always there waiting when the other girls were out in the world and she was content to be that way.  Beth was the one who always thought of others first and her care for others would eventually end up contributing to her wasting away.  She was a skilled pianist, but she did not seek fame or fortune from it...she played purely for the enjoyment of herself and others.  I remember reading the book when I was in grade school and I was always so sad when Beth passes.  It still gets me to this day.

This quote from her sister Jo is a wonderful description of Beth:

"There are many Beths in the world, shy and quiet, sitting in corners till needed, and living for others so cheerfully that no one sees the sacrifices till the little cricket on the hearth stops chirping, and the sweet, sunshiny presence vanishes, leaving silence and shadow behind."

Beth speaks this passage in the book, which describes her feelings:

"I never wanted to go away, and the hard part now is the leaving you all. I'm not afraid, but it seems as if I should be homesick for you even in heaven."

I love the 1994 movie version of Little Women that starred Claire Danes as Beth.  Her portrayal of Beth is subtle and poignant.  I really believe that she captures the character beautifully.  This scene from the movie between Jo and Beth has me in tears every time (in fact, I'm in tears now as I read it again).

Beth: If God wants me with Him, there is none who will stop Him. I don't mind. I was never like the rest of you... making plans about the great things I'd do. I never saw myself as anything much. Not a great writer like you.

Jo: Beth, I'm not a great writer.

Beth: But you will be. Oh, Jo, I've missed you so. Why does everyone want to go away? I love being home. But I don't like being left behind. Now I am the one going ahead. I am not afraid. I can be brave like you.

What a tragic thing it would be to lose a sister.  All the more so to lose a sister like Beth.  Now please excuse me while I ..... *sob*


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  1. ::sob::

    Just that line in the book about there being many Beths in the world makes me tear up.

  2. What a beautiful summary and quote.

    I wish I was a bit more like Beth.

    I'm the sister who's always tackling the world.

  3. Thanks Juju! Yeah, my sister is more like Beth...I have always been more like Jo!

  4. Great post this week, beautifully written about a fantastic character.

  5. One of my favorite books of all time! I never stop tearing up when Beth dies; for some reason I must think that things will work out differently this time!

  6. I'm so glad you wrote about Beth. Jo is the more popular character, but Beth is so sweet and lovely.

  7. Lisa--I know...we always hope that this time she'll live! I don't know what we're expecting. I just think it's so well written/portrayed on screen that it's a good kind of sad. Maybe in Little Vampire Women, Beth gets to live. *fingers crossed*

    StephanieD--Thanks! It's funny that my two favorite characters in the book are polar opposites. I think it's because they remind me of myself and my sister.

  8. Oh, I so loved that book and read it over and cousin and I used to "play act" the characters...she decided that SHE was Jo and I was Meg, but I always knew I was JO (the writing thing and all).

    But you are so right about Claire Danes's portrayal of Beth. This was a perfect fit, and I love Susan Sarandon as the mother, too. Now I must watch this DVD again. And reread the book!

  9. Oh, what a well written and fantastic character! Great post.

    ANd OMG there's a Little Vampire Women? How cool! Have you read it yet? Is it any good? I will have to look for it!

  10. Laurel-Rain--thanks for stopping by. I always associated myself with Jo too. Her outgoing personality and the writing and all. Yes, Danes was the quintessential Beth, IMO!

    Krist--thanks girl! I really enjoyed writing it. No, I haven't read Little Vampire Women yet. I think it comes out in May. I just found out about it and I'm super psyched for it!

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