Free Study Guide: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott|
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LITTLE WOMEN: FREE LITERARY ANALYSIS / LESSON PLANS
The narrator defends Mr. March’s role of "grey haired scholar"
as if wisdom alone were enough of a contribution for him to make to the
family. To a reader knowing LMA’s own history and the fact that her mother
eventually left and made a home for the girls on her own, the devotion
to Mr. March by his fictional daughters seems forced, as if something
good must be said of him. This view is of course from a perspective of
historical criticism and could be objected to if viewing the story from
a New Critical view. It is still obvious, however, that Marmee and the
girls "rule the house." Mr. March seems to be a man who has
nothing left but ideals and precepts to which he holds his family responsible
while he himself has no obligation other than to comfort, give occasional
advice and devote himself to his books while the women take care of the
details of real life.
Meg and John get married in a simple ceremony in the March home. There no elaborate ritual; in fact, Aunt March is scandalized by the fact that the bride herself is greeting people at the door and running around helping with odds and ends in her gown.
After the marriage, the family and friends celebrate with food and dancing.
The crowning moment of merriment comes when Mr. Laurence and Aunt March
join up to dance-German fashion-in a circle around the newlyweds.
Aunt March has always seemed rather brisk and impatient, but the wedding
festivities give her a chance to "let her hair down" and show
that she is capable of having fun in spite of her earlier denouncement
of John Brooke.
Amy has been experimenting with one media after another in her artistic creations. Although she is never satisfied with her own attempts, her artistic endeavors have brought her into contact with many people. She seems to come by social graces naturally and makes many friends. Amy’s greatest weakness is that "she wants to move about in the best society without knowing what the best really is."
Amy’s attempts to be a socialite lead to a minor disaster. She decides
to throw an expensive party for the girls in her drawing class. She buys
expensive food and plans to rent a fancy carriage to take them all riding.
The first day is somewhat rainy, so when no one shows, it is assumed that
everyone decided to wait for the next day as had previously been arranged
in case of inclement weather. But on the second day, only one girl comes.
Amy entertains Miss Elliot valiantly as her sisters quickly hide away
half of the prepared food. When it is over, Amy admits that it was a failure
and asks everyone to refrain from mentioning it for at least a month.
Amy displays a charming dignity in spite of the failure of her attempt to
put on a classy party. The most important lesson she has learned-and one
more effective because the narrator doesn’t lecture the reader about it-is
that wealth can’t be pretended and acting like one is a part of high society
doesn’t make it so, nor does it gain inroads with those who really are.
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Ruff, Dr. Karen S C. "TheBestNotes on Little Women".
. 09 May 2017