Exams & Certification

Back to LAMDA Level 2 Listings

Little Women

by Louisa May Alcott (adapted by Shaun McKenna)

The Novel is published by Penguin Books

(Extract taken from "LAMDA Acting Anthology, Volume 1", Published by Oberon).

JO MARCH lives with her sisters and mother in poor circumstances. It is America in the 1860s and her father is away fighting in the Civil War. News reaches the family that Mr March has been wounded and is to be brought home. The family are trying to scrape money together to make this possible. JO has just sold her long hair to raise money to care for her father. The family are shocked - decent girls at this time always had long hair. Here, JO explains what she has done. She minds a great deal more about the loss of her hair than she is prepared to show.

JO: I hadn't the least idea of selling my hair at first, but as I went along I kept thinking what I could do, and feeling as if I'd like to dive into some of the rich stores and help myself. In a barber's window I saw tails of hair with the prices marked; and one black tail, not so thick as mine, was forty dollars. It came over me all of a sudden that I had one thing to make money out of, and without stopping to think, I walked in, asked if they bought hair and what they would give for mine. The barber was a little man who looked as if he lived merely to oil his hair. He stared rather, at first, as if he wasn't used to having girls bounce into his shop and ask him to buy their hair. He said he didn't care about mine, it wasn't the fashionable colour, and he never paid much for it in the first place; the work he put into it made it dear, and so on. It was getting late and I was afraid, if it wasn't done right away, that I shouldn't have it done at all, and you know when I start to do a thing I hate to give it up: so I begged him to take it, and told him exactly why I was in such a hurry. It was silly, I dare say, but it changed his mind, for I got rather excited and told the story in my topsy turvy way, and his wife heard and said, so kindly, "Take it, Thomas, and oblige the young lady. I'd do as much for our Jimmy any day if I had a spire of hair worth selling." Jimmy was their son, who is in the army too. I took a last look at my hair while the man got his things, and that was the end of it. I never snivel over trifles like that. I will confess, though, I felt strange when I saw the dear old hair laid out on the table and felt only the short, rough ends on my head. It felt almost as if I'd an arm or leg off. The woman saw me look at it and picked out a long lock for me to keep. I'll give it to you, Marmee, just to remember past glories by; for a crop is so comfortable I don't think I shall ever have a mane again.

print this page

Back to LAMDA Level 2 Listings