"The Angel In The House"
"There are many Beth's 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." - Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Beth March perfectly fit the archetype of "The Angel in the House." She was quiet, gentle, submissive, charming, sympathetic, caring, self-sacrificing, pious, and religious, just like an "Angel In The House" should be. And that's what part of me wants to be.

The only problem is, Beth really wasn't like that.

Beth March is based on the real life Elizabeth Sewall Alcott. She was shy, quiet, gentle, kind, self-sacrificing, and pious, just like Beth. Unlike Beth, she died angry and sad and upset. Elizabeth wasn't perfect, and the only reason Beth is, is because she was written by a grieving, heartbroken sister who missed "her Lizzie", and so quiet little Beth came to be.

There's a story that goes that as a child, Lizzie was once trapped in a wall of books that her sisters Anna and Louisa built while she was sleeping. Instead of crying, she sat patiently and when the family finally found her there, she was smiling and laughing as if she hadn't even been forgotten. She had angelic patience and gentleness. I want to be like Beth. I know I can't be. I know it's impossible for any human to be that good, but still I want to be. I want to be gentle and sympathetic and self-sacrificing and caring, and even meek and powerles if I have to be in order to do good, like how some sources describe "the angel in the house." In my mind I'd rather suffer if it meant other people could be happy, but in practice I know I wouldn't let myself actually do it. I can be very stingy and ungenerous, and I know I'll always look out for my own interests, which isn't a bad thing in of itself, but I just contradict myself a lot. A lot of times I don't know what I want to do, but I know I do want to be good. Beth has always been my favorite character. Beth, the girl who likes pianos and cats and broken dolls. The girl who sacrified so much that she ends up catching scarlet fever due to her generousity and selflessness, and although it doesn't kill her,

it weakens her heart and she dies years later at 19 because of it.

The story in itself tells you why it's silly to want to be something impossible like Beth, and I know I never will seriously try, but it's a silly thought of mine.

I still adore Beth though, and probably always will. Even if it's impossible to be like her, it's always good to strive to be good and kind as far as you can help it.

Image is by Jessie Wilcox Smith, around 1922. "The Angel In The House" description was found here. Quote is from "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott.