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Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books rapidly over several months at the request of her publisher. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters. Little Women was an immediate commercial and critical success, and readers demanded to know more about the characters. Alcott quickly completed a second volume, entitled Good Wives. It was also successful. The two volumes were issued in 1880 in a single work entitled Little Women. Alcott also wrote two sequels to her popular work, both of which also featured the March sisters: Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886). Although Little Women was a novel for girls, it differed notably from the current writings for children, especially girls. The novel addressed three major themes: "domesticity, work, and true love, all of them interdependent and each necessary to the achievement of its heroine's individual identity." Little Women "has been read as a romance or as a quest, or both. It has been read as a family drama that validates virtue over wealth", but also "as a means of escaping that life by women who knew its gender constraints only too well". According to Sarah Elbert, Alcott created a new form of literature, one that took elements from Romantic children's fiction and combined it with others from sentimental novels, resulting in a totally new format. Elbert argued that within Little Women can be found the first vision of the "All-American girl" and that her multiple aspects are embodied in the differing March sisters.
she can be a horse-breaker, and get her living so.” At this awful speech Amy contained herself with difficulty, for the impression was being given that she was rather a fast young lady, which was her especial aversion. But what could she do? For the old lady was in the middle of her story, and long before it was done Jo was off again, making more droll revelations and committing still more fearful blunders. “Yes, Amy was in despair that day, for all the good beasts were gone, and of three left,
wishing that, thank God that “Father and Mother were particular,” and pity from your heart those who have no such guardians to hedge them round with principles which may seem like prison walls to impatient youth, but which will prove sure foundations to build character upon in womanhood. Jo wrote no more sensational stories, deciding that the money did not pay for her share of the sensation, but going to the other extreme, as is the way with people of her stamp, she took a course of Mrs.
from without and from within, but he withstood them pretty well; for much as he valued liberty, he valued good faith and confidence more, so his promise to his grandfather, and his desire to be able to look honestly into the eyes of the women who loved him, and say “All’s well,” kept him safe and steady. Very likely some Mrs. Grundy will observe, “I don’t believe it, boys will be boys, young men must sow their wild oats, and women must not expect miracles.” I dare say you don‘t, Mrs. Grundy, but
belonged to it before you made a princess of me, as the king does the beggarmaid in the old story. Ambitious girls have a hard time, Laurie, and often have to see youth, health, and precious opportunities go by, just for want of a little help at the right minute. People have been very kind to me; and whenever I see girls struggling along, as we used to do, I want to put out my hand and help them, as I was helped.” “And so you shall, like an angel as you are!” cried Laurie, resolving, with a glow
glass in Mrs. Gardiner’s dressing room after a prolonged prink. t “I know I shall forget. If you see me doing anything wrong, just remind me by a wink, will you?” returned Jo, giving her collar a twitch and her head a hasty brush. “No, winking isn’t ladylike. I’ll lift my eyebrows if anything is wrong, and nod if you are all right. Now hold your shoulders straight, and take short steps, and don’t shake hands if you are introduced to anyone: it isn’t the thing.” “How do you learn all the proper