Little Women

By Lousia May Alcott

Genre of the book

Coming of age, Fiction, Novel


Little Women is a book about a good-hearted Christian family named the March’s. There are four girls, Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth they live with their mother Marmee and their father is away serving in the civil war. They are in poverty and the girls often complain. In the beginning of the book it is Christmas time the girls want to buy themselves presents but being in the Christmas spirit they decide to buy for their mother instead. They soon receive a letter from their dad and decide to not be such a burden on their mother and stop complaining so much about not having money. On Christmas day the March family decide to give their breakfast to a less fortunate family down the road. This is when they meet another neighbor, Mr. Laurence, who rewards them with a feast for being so kind to their other neighbor. Two of the girls get invited to a new years party and this is where they meet Laurie. The girls share many adventures and discover a few things about themselves. Amy trades limes at school and gets hit by her teacher so her mother pulls her out. Jo discovers the art of theater but refuses to let Amy come with her so Amy destroys Jo’s manuscript. Amy has a near death experience while Beth is attending a friend’s party. This is where she hears talk that everyone thinks she is going to marry Laurie for his money. Later that year the March’s decide to start a family newspaper. They then receive a later stating that their dad is in a hospital sick as a dog. The girl’s pull together to help pay for the trip their mom intends on taking to see their dad. Beth ends up getting scarlet fever while their mother is away. Amy is sent away to get away from the fever and stays with her aunt. Her aunt takes her to Paris instead of Jo. Beth then recovers but not fully. Meg gets engaged to Laurie’s tutor, which strikes a nerve in Jo. Three years later their dad is home from the war and Laurie is about finished with school. Jo gets a novel published and she sees that Beth is in love with Laurie so she moves to New York so Beth can win Laurie over. Jo meets a professor he encourages her to write simple than the complication of writing sensationalist stories. When she returns home Laurie proposes but she denies because Beth loves Laurie. Beth then dies because she was never fully recovered. Laurie then leaves to France where he sees Amy they get married. Jo Married the professor and they all live happily together in the end.

Essential Questions

What makes American Literature American?

American literature is American because all of the authors are American. American literature has to do with the culture and social value. If a book is written by an American and is written in a way that only a citizen would understand then that would be American literature. If someone who wasn’t born in American writes a book about living in America yes they can explain their experience but they would get the real feel of it. Someone who was born and raised in American would understand the values of the restaurant down the road. They grew up with it and it grew on them. You would know not to run across your neighbors yard from the time period of 1-2 because you grew up on it. If you were born in Mexico you wouldn’t be able to come to America and write about the norms. You wouldn’t understand what is normal here. You were born in a different culture and under different circumstances. Being American literature it explains the things that happened in America, take for example the roaring 20’s only Americans who grew up and lived during that time understand the flappers. The Great Gatsby greatly explains this and the flapper age. The events are uniquely American and you wouldn’t be about to have a Russian looking in explain the whole feel of the atmosphere. In American literature they describe and have a feel for the setting and events. Only they would understand growing up in a farmhouse they would get the feel and see the changes that no one else would be able to explain. American literature has the feel of an American and what they would know. Being American makes American Literature.

Margaret March

Nicknames: Meg or Daisy

Age: 16

Place of Residence: Concord Massachusetts

Things they fear: Fears her Father going to war

Problems they encounter: Jo burns off half of her bangs

Character strengths: Strength, maturity and beauty

Character weaknesses: Luxury and money

Three most valuable possessions:

Josephine March

Nickname: Jo

Age: 15

Place of Residence: Concord Massachusetts

Things they fear: Fear of not becoming a published author

Problems they encounter: Can't go fight along side her father

Character strengths: Strong and willful, she loves literature (reading and writing it)

Character weaknesses: "hot" temper and being a "tomboy"

Three most valuable possessions: Family, her written stories, and her friendship with Laurie