The Women of "Little Women" Book Review

A review and analysis of "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott.
# 150341 | 3,932 words | 6 sources | APA | 2012 | PK
Published on Jan 31, 2012 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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This paper discusses how "Little Women" is both part of the tradition of girls' literature and an example of the emergent realism that addressed women's concerns and issues after the Civil War. It also examines how it develops a sense of family values and the good that can come from a strong moral center. The family is a source of good times, but it also provides a supportive environment in which each individual can tackle the moral failings that most plague her. The paper also looks at how each of the girls has particular character flaws that she must work to overcome and how the novel, therefore, concerns itself primarily with showing how good girls work to grow up to become better human beings.

The Story
Form and Content
Themes and Meanings
Critical Evaluation

From the Paper:

"The characteristics typical of domestic fiction's heroines -- piousness, obedience, charity, industriousness, self-control -- are reflected in the four "little women" of the March family. Jo struggles the most to acquire these traits, especially because of her quick temper and her rebellion against social prescription. In time, however, she learns to channel her energy and spirit into her art and her work, as she fulfills her lifelong dream of being a "mother" to boys when she establishes her school at Plumfield. (Phillips, 2004) Throughout the novel, female community -- here, the March family itself -- is presented as one of the most important social institutions. Women educate and support one another, they form bonds of friendship and sisterhood, and they struggle against hardship together, often sacrificing their own needs and wants for those of others. The March sisters learn to overcome their own selfishness and self-centeredness through hard-won lessons: the absence and nearly fatal illness of their father, Beth's ongoing illness and death, the callous gossip of acquaintances (which is often concerned with the family's lack of wealth and social standing), the loss of suitors, and the hard compromises that must be made in marriage. (Alberghene, 2001)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Alberghene, Janice M (2001). "Little Women" and the Feminist Imagination: Criticism, Controversy, Personal Essays. New York: Garland.
  • Alcott, Louisa May (1994). Little Women. Publisher: Tor Classics. ISBN-10: 0812523334.
  • Delamar, Gloria (2001) Louisa May Alcott and "Little Women": Biography, Critique, Publications, Poems, Songs, and Contemporary Relevance. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland.
  • Keyser, Elizabeth Lennox (2003)."Little Women": A Family Romance. New York: Twayne.
  • Phillips, Anne K. (2004) Alcott, Louisa May's Little Women, or, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy: Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism. New York: W. W. Norton.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

The Women of "Little Women" (2012, January 31) Retrieved June 01, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The Women of "Little Women"" 31 January 2012. Web. 01 June. 2023. <>