Moderator: Dear Viewers and Listeners, I am glad to welcome you on the talk-show “Metabolic convers(at)ion” which takes part every week in our parallel universe. This is a program where different people from different years and even epochs meet. I am happy to remind you that the point of our program is that there is no moderator during the conversation. The guests talk as they would talk while walking or drinking tea. Before the beginning, each guest has a minute to tell about herself. Welcome our today’s guests Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott.
The viewers applaud.
Jane Austen and Louisa May Alcott: Good afternoon, dear Viewers and Listeners. We are happy to be here today.
Jane Austen: We know the rules of the program, so first we will introduce ourselves. I will start. I am Jane Austen, the English writer. My father was a priest. The first 25 years of my life I spent in Steventon where I wrote my first novels “Pride and Prejudice”, “Sense and Sensibility”, “Northanger Abbey”, although I could not publish them for a long time. Later, my family moved to Bath, then to Southampton. Finally, we settled in a small house near Alton in Hampshire. This place was my home till the end. I never wrote my name on any of the book titles, and though my friends knew of my authorship, I almost did not get the public recognition in my lifetime. Most of my works, I revolved around the marriage. Now you, Louisa.
Louisa May Alcott: I am Louisa May Alcott, an American author. I was born in Germantown, Philadelphia. The major part of my knowledge I received from my father Bronson Alcott. My first book “Flower Fairy Tales”, I wrote for a daughter of the Emerson family. It was entertainment because I did not plan to become a writer. First, I worked as a slave, as a seamstress, as a nurse during the Civil War to make at least some contribution to the family budget. I achieved unprecedented fame and fortune with the novel “Little Women”. That is all what I wanted to say.
Jane Austen: After I get the invitation to this program, I started thinking a lot about the topic. I thought about music or literature, but Louisa’s has another idea. Please, tell everyone.
Louisa May Alcott: Recently I was surfing in the Internet and I found an interesting article about the role of women in the 21st century. The feminist movement, which started in the end of the 19th century and continued until the 20th century, changed everything. We get used that women do not have any rights, for example, we had no permission to vote or to have any political views. We had to work to support our families. In addition to our outside jobs, the responsibilities of our household still remained: cooking, cleaning, making clothes, taking care of the children. These made us sick and tired.
Jane Austen: That is true. Speaking about the young girls, they also had to leave their homes and work hard in factories. They get enough money, and it has a positive influence on their life because they could choose who they want to marry. There was no need to seek for a rich husband.
Louisa May Alcott: On the other hand, after marriage, everything that woman owned turned to be her husband’s possession. I remember the article in The Household magazine which I read at the beginning of 1884. The author wrote that the housekeepers arrange the comfort of others and forget about themselves. This made them unhappy.
Jane Austen: In addition to that, if they get divorced, the husband kept the children.
Louisa May Alcott: Yes, unlike the 21st century. I read that women have a right to keep a child. They can go to the court which will protect their rights. I like this law. I always thought that the women in our times had to have more possibilities of choice and decision.
Jane Austen: I totally agree. Furthermore, I always asked the question why women cannot participate in the elections. I am sure that there would be many women who could be a great member of parliament. The examples of the 20th century are very spectacular.
Louisa May Alcott: I never thought about it. I worried about the work. Why could not we get any proper education and a job which wanted? For example, one friend of mine, she dreamt about being a doctor. She had a talent; she understood everything about the sicknesses and their treatments. The problem was that she could not get an education. Moreover, after marriage her husband started to control her more than her parents. He did not allow her even to read or drink some tea without his permission. Every time she had to ask him whether she can do something.
Jane Austen: That sounds awful. It is one of the reasons why I did not get married. I also know the similar story. My neighbor wanted to become a lawyer, and her biggest dream was to be the member of parliament. She had so many brilliant ideas of improvement. Her husband did not mind; she even went to the city council, wrote to the President to get the permission, but all her efforts failed. To be honest, we should not complain about our destinies. We both did what we wanted. We used to write. This is just very pity for the other women who were not strong enough to make their dreams come true.
Louisa May Alcott: You are right. That is why I think that the business women in the 21st century are happy. They are able to implement all their wishes and needs. They have a voice. I am proud of the feminist who were courageous enough to move towards their rights. I am happy for women in the future who can live their own lives and be independent. Do you know that there were a few feminist movements in different years?
Jane Austen: No, tell me more, please.
Louisa May Alcott: Firstly, it was the suffragist movement for the equal voting rights. Later, they fought for social equality but failed. So they made the last effort. This time it was the successful one.
Jane Austen: That is interesting, but do you know that there are still women in the 20th and 21st century who are dependent on their families and husbands? Moreover, they want to live so and do not want to change this lifestyle. I talk not only about the Muslim women, but also about the other whose religion allows them to be free.
Louisa May Alcott: Yes, I have heard about it. The point is that they have a right to choose whether they want to dependent or to be responsible for their choices.
Jane Austen: You know, after I read Montaigne I was sure about the correctness of his statement that the most boring conversation is the one where everyone agrees. From this moment, I am not so sure anymore. I guess we had a nice talk.
Louisa May Alcott: No doubt, it was pretty cognitively.
Moderator: I would like to thank you for such an interesting dialogue. Dear Viewers, let us thank our guests.
The viewers applaud.