A Review on Little Women

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a classic of American literature that many generations of readers have enjoyed. Although it was published in 1878, it remains a masterpiece of timeless quality evident in its retelling as a movie in recent times.

The book is about the life of four sisters as they blossom into the prime of their youth. Alcott avidly describes the personalities of these women, the eldest Meg – who is gentle and feminine; the second Jo – a tomboyish and headstrong writer; Beth – a delicate and quiet music lover; and lastly Amy -the young, spoiled but talented artist.

These sisters await their father, who is off to war under their mother’s nurturing care. Mrs March, a wise mother, wants her daughters to appreciate hard work and be content even in poverty. Hence, Meg and Jo embrace these values quite early and work to support the family.

Jo makes friends with an orphaned lad, Laurie (or Teddy as she calls him), the grandson of their next-door neighbor Mr. Laurence. They become good friends and to the March sisters, Laurie is the brother they never had. The sisters kept Laurie company and he and his grandfather supported them in their time of need.

With a characteristically slow plot, the book spans the lives of these women from their teens to marriage and motherhood. There is so much in each chapter: sibling love, sibling rivalry, jealousy and comparison, teenage love, newly wedded couples starting a home of their own, heartbreak and unrequited love, a mother guiding her children through their struggles, a grandfather wanting his grandson to fulfill his desires for his late son, etc. It gives you an idea of what it was like to be a normal family in the 19th century, yet in a timeless way.

This novel also portrays choices, relationships, and the factors affecting life decisions in a most relatable way. Some decisions are however shocking and go in the opposite direction of the reader’s mind.

The author emphasizes independence for women as a key theme. This portrayal comes through the sisters’ care for their family, especially Meg and Jo. Jo, in particular, exhibits ambition and strives for greatness, defying societal norms for women at the time. Additionally, the author stresses moral values like kindness and mutual aid. The March family demonstrates this by supporting German immigrants and Mr. Laurence’s philanthropy.

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy experience love, loss, adventures, and challenges. They grow into resilient “little women”. The book concludes happily yet leaves room for contemplation about alternative outcomes for each sister.

Simple, engaging, thought-provoking, and moral, Little Women stands as a remarkable work by Alcott. It offers hope for brighter days ahead for all.


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