“I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle—something heroic or wonderful—that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead.”

This declaration from Louisa May Alcott’s boldly-blunt heroine, Jo March, seems to make up for any domestic impropriety that so often defines her character in the eyes of other women. Although not as eager as her sisters to take on the role of a woman, and even less accepting of the docile lifestyle that comes with it, Jo understands that true womanhood is not the act of meekly folding one’s hands in a home made by a husband—it is rather the graceful art of using these hands for a brilliant purpose.

With a spirit of passion and a mind of possibilities, Jo follows her dream of becoming a woman meant for more than mere existence. Unlike her sweetly simple sisters who desire nothing greater than securing a husband and settling down, Jo yearns to actively partake in the grand scheme of life.

Never a moment passes throughout the pages of Little Women in which we do not find Jo overlooking girlish conversations and household chores to finish drafting an adventurous story or brooding over a novel’s tragic plot twist. Jo is the only March sister whose head is not full of visions of romance, for she is constantly busy contemplating how to use her gift of creativity and talent for writing to impact a world that most 18th century women only watched through their kitchen windows.

… Jo yearns to actively partake in the grand scheme of life.

However, Jo finds that in order for a woman to fulfill a worthy purpose, she must first travel through the wilderness of independence: an uncharted territory of the vast unknown to which her society has yet to forge a path. Although embarking on a journey that she must map on her own, the purposeful woman is gifted with creativity as her compass and ingenuity as her guide. A woman with creative talent, such as Miss March, is a paragon of peculiarity because her plans do not coincide with those of housewives and homemakers. Yet, her eccentric nature is necessary in the land of the ordinary.

Like Jo, many of us find ourselves surrounded by those who appear to fit into the social conventions of womanhood. We all know women of similar age who have found romance—and maybe even a ring—before we have, but perhaps an untamed longing to see your skills further a fruitful cause has remained first in your heart. For some of us, our unique purposes may lead to a career before a relationship and that’s OK.

We must never allow questions of what could have been to veil the beautifully ordained fulfillment of our talent. In a generation of women lost within the fading glamour of social trends, it is indeed time for young ladies to boldly follow the path of individuality and allow their passion to transform their lives.


It is only when we follow our own course that the talents with which we have been gifted come to fruition, although not always in the way we had planned. Jo, who once dreamed of becoming a famed novelist, instead founded a school to share her passion of reading and writing. She realized that, instead of taking the path of domestic conformity, she was able to empower children to appreciate their own special gifts. Just as Jo did not foresee her future, we too will never know where the guiding light of our talents may lead us, but we can be sure that they will shine far better if we simply choose to nurture the flame.

Here’s the best part: If we, like Jo, decide to do “something splendid” with our gifts before we enter the castle of domestic life, then whichever castle lies along our paths will inevitably be more grand than those along the road most-traveled.

Whichever castle lies along our paths will inevitably be more grand than those along the road most-traveled.

After arriving at a future of her own making, Jo met a man that suited her finer than the linen aprons of her homemaking sisters. He matched her in both intellect and spirit. Most importantly, he appreciated the dreams that had distanced her from former love interests.

So for all of you writers, artists and career-minded women with horizons full of aspiration, never be afraid to blaze a trail with your talent. Be confident in your creativity, have faith in your future and always remember that one bold step of independence can transform you from a little woman to a lady of legacy.

Image via Anthropologie


  1. i loved this article! jo march has always been an inspiration of mine from when I was a child, she was very empowering and encouraged me to never be afraid of dreaming too big. brava to the author!

  2. I genuinely enjoy this article (and Louisa May Alcott’s novel as well!) This piece comes at a very timely time for me. I’m a single woman in my early twenties, and I’m in a dual graduate program earning my law degree and masters. I’m living in a city far away from my family. Once my masters courses started, (predictably) my free time vanished. It has created conflict with two women at church I had considered friends. They are both stay-at-home moms, married to men in ministry, and they choose to not accept that the time I once had to spend with them and Bible groups has changed despite my transparency. Jo is inspiring to me – relying on her eccentricity to forge a path out of the ordinary -and particularly now, feeling alone back in the city away from my family after the holidays. There is still a lot of pressure in religious circles that a woman should yearn for marriage and motherhood, and if that is not her present, its absence should be lamented by her until she meets someone. It’s encouraging to read support for those of us “on the fringe.”

  3. I love this. I make me think to different approach to life mine and of my sister. I’ve always been a Jo March fun. I understand where I come from

  4. This is a tremendously encouraging and empowering segment. Even in this entrepreneurial world, the first step is still intimidating and difficult. Not only that, but often the second step can feel even more difficult than the first. But the mark of endurance creates that desired legacy. The perseverance is required to make any impact and specifically to forge the path of your own future.


  5. Thank ya heaps for this 🙂
    As a woman who’s found a very fulfilling career in the non-profit/overseas missions/anti-trafficking fields & soon diving into a double masters program in holistic health/legislative policy/theology it truly is surprising how incredibly fulfilling each of our very individual (specific NOT sporadic 🙂 ) paths with this kind Leader can be if we really do let go of the (sometimes momentarily uber painful) societal norms & time-based “deadlines”/comparisons and simply walk with Him, dream/do our best + enjoy what pops up along the way…despite the order in which good things may or may not come 🙂
    Again, thank ya muchas for the goosebumps/encouragement 🙂

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