Has Lena Dunham read Little Women?

In the most recent episode of Girls, Hannah makes a comment about how the father in Little Women dies of influenza in the war. Do Lena Dunham and the other writers of Girls really think that Mr. March dies of influenza in the Civil War? Yes, he does get sick, but he recovers and comes home (after Marmee goes to take care of him, leaving Beth to catch scarlet fever back at home . . . okay, I’ll stop now). Or maybe this was deliberate, to make a point about how Hannah, as a writer, doesn’t know her American classics? If that’s the case, it might have worked better if someone, perhaps Shoshanna (who seems to have a basic knowledge of the book), had pointed out Hannah’s mistake. Either way, the moment had me yelling at the TV, admittedly something I do pretty often, but this was particularly infuriating. So what do you think: was this factual error meant to illustrate a point about Hannah, or are the writers of Girls completely unfamiliar with Little Women?

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3 Responses to Has Lena Dunham read Little Women?

  1. Wyrd Smythe says:

    If it’s meant to be a character point, it does seem awfully obscure. Is it possible the writers are so familiar with the book they assume everyone else is? Is it a hugely obscure reference they stuck in knowing few would get it (and Easter Egg of sorts)? Seems a stretch, but possible I guess.

    Absent some other character commenting on the lapse, the odds seem more in favor of a error than a clever moment, but who knows.

    • popgoddess says:

      It seems like such a glaring error, considering that the show is generally pretty smart. Also, I guess I’m assuming a very widespread familiarity with Little Women, based on my own experience, so that makes the basic factual error even more jarring. It’s as though someone said Atticus Finch dies in To Kill a Mockingbird, without anyone else commenting on the mistake.

      • Wyrd Smythe says:

        Might be a guy thing, but I’ve never read LW. But if someone had dropped the line about Atticus, that would definitely have raised my eyebrows! Good way to put it — now I really have a sense of how it struck you. Ouch!!

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