• Antara Basu


Dear Jo March,

The first time I watched the girl who liked good strong words that mean something, I found a part of myself within you.

You never were the lady they expected you to be, nor did you feel comfortable in the typical feminine clichés of dances and balls. You envied the way Meg seemed to so effortlessly fit in, her fluid grace, her natural elegance. But no one told you that a girl who possessed the courage to turn down Theodore, the boy you not only loved dearly but a marriage of such convenience whilst a society that told you that women had to marry rich, just because you didn’t feel that your love for each other was the right kind of love for marriage. That was a girl who never really needed to fit in.

You were the girl who didn’t understand the subservience of ink-stained fingers, to perfectly polished, hue tinted ones. To you, both dripped in shades, one in shades of words and the other in colours. The girl with Europe in her heart and will in her mind, determined to make a name for yourself in a world which bled in patriarchal dominance. From writing plays for your own version of the Pickwick Club to the stories that you sold to the newspapers, your little fan club grew from your sisters and Laurie to me and the thousands who admired your Avant-Garde.

I remember how you let the sun go down on your anger and I understood. The burnt pages of your manuscript, though, could never be equal to losing Beth but perhaps a close second. I saw you in your utter hopelessness when you heard of your Father taking ill, I saw your anger, your absolute devastation when you saw the promise of Europe cast aside as if your aspirations were toys in the hands of a child, too young to comprehend the complexities of value and worth. And I understood.

You never did disappoint but once, when you spoke of your disappointment of being born a girl. For I thought someone so ahead of her time would understand that the blame wasn’t to be bequeathed to being born women, but to the binds of misogynistic thought and mindless philosophies of superiority. And I know that if you lived today, perhaps you’d still not be satisfied the way I am not. But I know that you’d never again be disappointed being born woman.

I loved you for leaving for New York, to give yourself the chance, the world you called home would never have given you. I loved you for being content a happy spinster than stuck in a loveless marriage to appease the being of society. And though Alcott couldn’t end you as her literary spinster, I do hope you and Friedrich are happy.

And lastly, I loved you Josephine March, for your undemanding kindness, your extraordinary courage and your fierce loyalty, and above all your unwavering sense of self.

Forever yours,

Someone who would love to read all that you wrote and more.