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The Heroines In K-Drama ‘Little Women’ Echo Their Literary Inspiration

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at January 1, 1970

In Louisa May Alcott’s book Little Women, the four March sisters endure years of poverty under the watchful eye of their gentle mother, Marmee. Their family’s lack of funds is at least partly due to their father’s noble calling, serving as a chaplain in the Civil War.

The three Oh sisters in the Korean drama Little Women are not only low on funds, they lack a parental support system and face additional humiliation because of their parents’ poor behavior. The girls owe mountains of debt, accumulated by their father,, and were recently abandoned by their less than competent mother. It’s not surprising they are bitter. These sisters don’t wear their poverty with genteel dignity like their March counterparts. Poverty weighs them down like chains.

In this drama Kim Go-eun plays In-joo, a gullible accountant. Nam Ji-hyun plays In-kyung, a determined reporter with a drinking problem. In-hye, the youngest, played by Park Ji-hu, is a sensitive, artistic student who keeps secrets from her family. The young women work hard, but the struggle never seems to be enough. They must battle circumstances they did not create.

Alcott didn’t want to write stories for girls, because at that time such stories generally focused on a female future in the domestic sphere. Stories about boys, on the other hand, were full of adventure, mystery and grand transformations. An ardent feminist, Alcott did not care for Little Women, the novel that made her famous, but she might like the heroines in the k-drama version of Little Women. The first episode of this drama portrays these women as independent and determined, involving them in difficult dramatic situations they are capable of ultimately mastering. As a journalist In-Kyung faces danger when she pursues a crooked politician, but that doesn’t mean she will back down. Office outcast In-joo seeks answers after a friend’s mysterious death and has a drastic change of fortune.

Unlike Meg March, who married happily in the novel, k-drama counterpart In-joo is already divorced. Having married a con man, she learned the hard way that marriage doesn’t guarantee financial security. Her financial future is even less certain when she gets tangled up in a mystery.

Comparisons with the novel are inevitable and yet the k-drama version already presents some unexpected twists and turns. The familiar story of perseverance, now set in present-day Korea, features a suspicious death, embezzlement and corrupt activities by the rich and powerful. The “little” women must confront some challenges Alcott might not have imagined would suit a story focused on girls.

Kim Go-eun, previously appeared in both seasons of the romantic comedy Yumi’s Cells, but also in The King: Eternal Monarch and Guardian: The Lonely and Great God. Nam Ji-hyun appeared in The Witch’s Diner and 100 Days My Prince. Park Ji Hu appeared in the film House of Hummingbird and the drama All of Us Are Dead. Kang Hoon plays the rich boy who lives next door to the girls’ great aunt and Wi Ha-jun plays Choi Do-il, a businessman helping In-joo explore mysterious circumstances.

The Studio Dragon drama airs on Netflix


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