I’d have a stable full of Arabian steeds, rooms piled with books, and I’d write out of a magic inkstand, so that my works should be as famous as Laurie’s music. 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. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all, some day. I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous; that would suit me, so that is my favorite dream.

Jo speaks these words in Chapter 13 when the March girls and Laurie are discussing their dreams. In contrast to the typical dreams of her sisters, Jo’s dream is startlingly big and confidently expressed. The horses Jo wants, and with which she is constantly compared, represent the wild freedom for which she yearns. Significantly, Jo does not mention a husband or children in her dream, but says she wants books and ink. This powerful statement reaches well beyond the confines of a woman’s small living room and demands lasting fame and independence in a man’s world. Jo’s sentences are very direct and begin commandingly with the word “I.”

Jo also mentions the desire to have her work equal Laurie’s. The pursuit of an art is represented as an idyllic field in which men’s and women’s work are considered equal. Also, Jo aligns going into a castle—getting married and having a house—with dying, for she wants to do something great before either event happens to her.