Little Women Book Report Essay, Research Paper
In 1868, Louisa May Alcott wrote the book Little Women in
“response to a publisher’s request for a ‘girl’s book’”. Louisa wrote
this book by calling upon her own memories of her childhood and putting
them down on paper. This is the story of four young girls, Meg, Jo, Beth,
and Amy March, and how they endure all the trouble and hardships that come
along during their lives. They are raised by their mother and by their
father, and many interesting characters pop up along the way, such as
Laurie, their good-natured next-door neighbor; Laurie later falls in love
with Jo but ends up marrying Amy. In the beginning of the story they are
all fairly young, the youngest being twelve years old, and their mother,
whom they call Marmee, is left to guide them while their father is away
fighting in the war. As they grow and mature, they learn many hard
lessons about life. For instance, there was the time when Amy, the
youngest, suffered her first punishment in school. She carries that
anger, humility, and embarrassment with her for the rest of her life.
There were also more serious lessons to be learned, like when one of the
sisters, Beth, dies. By the end of the book, they really have turned from
little women into real women.
Jo was the second oldest of the four sisters. Her birth name was
Josephine, but she always thought that it sounded too feminine, so she
shortened it to Jo. Clearly, Jo was one of the main characters of the
story because many of the events centered on her and the audience learned
more about who she was. She was a tomboy at heart and hated all the prim
and proper ways of the ladies in those days. Jo was very blunt in her
speaking and always said exactly what was on her mind. However, most
people felt right at ease speaking with her because she had a way of
making them feel comfortable, despite her frankness. Jo was the one who
first had enough courage to go over to the frightening house next door and
talk with the Laurence Boy, whom they knew as Laurie after that, and
became the best of friends with him. Despite that one good trait, Jo has
an uncontrollable temper that can erupt at any time. This is quite
evident one day when Amy burns one of Jo’s most precious items-a book that
she wrote stories in and had for years. She is so outraged that she
cannot even look Amy in the face and storms out of the house. Jo then
watches as Amy follows her and Laurie outside to a pond to go ice-skating.
Laurie warns Jo that the ice is very thin in the middle, but Amy does not
hear him and proceeds to skate into the center. Jo does nothing to stop
her. Amy almost died that day, and Jo realized that her selfishness and
anger almost cost her her own sister. Mrs. March then teaches Jo how to
control her temper, and that was one of the most valuable lessons she ever
learned. Jo has the ability to see things as they are. She can see
through any kind of facade, and she will never put up a facade of her own.
As they say in France, ‘Elle est la cr?me de la cr?me’. She is the best
of the best.
Another character that is very important yet was not seen very
much was Mrs. March, the girls’ mother. Mrs. March was a very emotionally
strong woman who would give up anything for someone else. She is very
aware of how her daughters are feeling. Their father is at war, and they
no longer have the money that they once had. Mrs. March makes sure that
her children count the blessings that they do have and that they do not
complain. Continuously yearning for more makes one unappreciative of what
he already has. She demands authority, yet is gentle as a small mouse.
She is actually both father and mother to the girls because although her
husband does come home later in the book, he is rarely seen. Mrs. March
and Jo are actually quite alike. They both have spitfire tempers, and
they both know how to get their point across tactfully. Mrs. March
provides wisdom and advice and guides her daughters down the straight and
narrow path toward happy and fulfilling lives.
There are two themes to this book. The first one is that family
is everything in a person’s life. A family is there for when a person is
soaring above the stars, and they are there to pick him up again when he
falls. It is very difficult to get through life without a caring and
loving family to offer support in all of life’s experiences. Those
blessed with this precious gift rarely seem to appreciate it to the full
extent that they should. The second theme of this book shows that no
matter how hard situations get and how much turmoil life deals out, no one
should ever give up. Everyone goes through tough times, but perseverance
and a good attitude will fend off the blows life delivers everyday.
Little Women is definitely a classic that will continue on through
the ages. Everyone should read this book once before they’re too old and
hardened to appreciate it. This book set a precedent for how all good
literature should be written. From this book I’ve learned how to pick up
and get on with my life after something bad happens. If the Marches can
carry on after the death of their sister Beth, then the common man should
be able to go on after smaller challenges entrap him. Mankind should
always love and support each other in all areas of life, and maybe this
will make this world just a little more pleasant in which to live.
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