Free Study Guide: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott|
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LITTLE WOMEN: BOOK SUMMARY / ONLINE NOTES
The limes seem like a truly harmless fad; Mr. Davis is domineering and
enjoys his power over a class of girls. The girls do not pass the limes
during class, so one must assume that he forbids them just because he
can. It is something the girls like, so he can exert power over them by
forbidding them to have any. The narrator hints that he regrets his harshness,
but is determined to follow through with the entire punishment routine
once he has started. The punishment does not fit the crime however; it
should have been enough to make her toss them out the window without also
striking her with his ruler as well as making her stand in disgrace before
the front of the class. Marmee seems a little helpless in this incident.
One might expect her to go to the school and speak to Mr. Davis himself,
but it is left to Jo to go back and get Amyís things. Amy herself will
not have to attend school until her father gets home to find a new school
Laurie has invited Jo and Meg to go with him to the theater to see The Seven Castles of Diamond Lake. When Amy finds out where they are going, she begs to be taken along. Meg would relent, but Jo refuses, saying that Amy wasnít invited, and that it would not be fair to Laurie to bring along an unexpected person.
Amy takes revenge on Jo by burning a book of stories she has been laboring over. Jo is outraged, and in spite of Amyís plea for forgiveness, vows never to forgive her. The following day, Jo is still angry, and the rest of the family are in equally sour moods, so she decides to go ice skating with Laurie as a way to put herself "to rights." Amy follows, wanting to join them, but Jo tells her to go back, then ignores her. Amy continues to follow, but is too far back to hear a warning about thin ice in the middle of the lake. She skates out and falls through the ice.
Laurie and Jo rescue Amy and get her home safely. Amy is none the worse
for her experience, but Jo is properly chastened, realizing that if Amy
had died, she would have blamed herself all her life. Jo and Marmee discuss
Joís bad temper and Marmee confides that a bad temper was once her own
fault, but that she learned to control it. Jo determines to work harder
on hers and asks for her motherís help.
Marmeeís former bad temper is hardly believable as she seems to have no temper
at all. She gives credit to her husband for "teaching" her to
control her anger and overcome her failures. Mr. March is introduced via
description; Marmee describes him as a man who "never loses patience,
never doubts or complains, but always hopes and works and waits so cheerfully,
that one is ashamed to do otherwise before him." This statement reflects
the way LMA had been taught to regard her own father, but belies the action
of both her own real life and of the novel. Mr. March is like an icon,
someone to uphold and revere, someone to seek out for advice, but a truly
helpless individual in any practical sense. If he were actually so positive
and hopeful after losing his own fortune, why does he leave a family of
five women to fend entirely for themselves while he does a "noble"
thing for the war effort. Mr. March is truly aggravating in absentia.
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Cite this page:
Ruff, Dr. Karen S C. "TheBestNotes on Little Women".
. 09 May 2017