Free Study Guide: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott|
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FREE BOOK SUMMARY: LITTLE WOMEN
Amy writes a series of letters from Europe and England. In England she
meets up with Laurie’s English friends, Fred and Frank Vaughan. Later
Fred travels with Amy’s party throughout France. Fred speaks French fluently
and takes Amy everywhere. One night they go for a sail on the Rhine River
and a group of students serenade them. Amy begins to think of Fred as
something more than a traveling companion. In her letter home, she confesses
that she is not truly in love with him, but she does like him and they
get along comfortably. She resolves to accept Fred if he should propose
to her. Later he has to leave as Frank is in poor health in England. He
asks Amy if she will be there when he comes back, and she implies that
she will be available.
This is foreshadowing in reverse. Amy has an opportunity to realize
her "castle," and to explore her art more extensively. When
exposed to the museums of Europe she realizes that "talent isn’t
genius" and that her interests in art will never make her rich or
famous. And, although Fred will return, Any will have had opportunity
to realize that money alone is not reason enough to get married.
Marmee is concerned about Beth who seems very quiet and is sometimes
seen crying. She asks Jo to keep an eye on her and to find out what’s
wrong. Jo thinks the problem is just that Beth is growing up. A few days
of observation and some coincidental remarks about Laurie convince Jo
that Beth is in love with Laurie, but that she is hiding her feelings
because she believes Jo wants Laurie. Laurie himself is in love with Jo
and tries to court her at every opportunity. Jo finally decides to take
a trip to New York where Mrs. Kirke, an old friend of Marmee’s, has been
looking for someone to work as a governess for her children. Hopefully,
this will give Beth an opportunity to draw Laurie’s attentions toward
Jo’s innocence of Beth’s real problem is a little contradictory here; of course,
Jo may simply be in a state of denial as she had noted Beth’s condition
in earlier chapters and had expressed concern. However, the narrator omnisciently
communicates with the reader in leaving no doubt that Beth’s trouble is
not "love lornity"; the eventual death of Beth has gone beyond
foreshadow. We know that it is just a matter of time even though the characters
in the story don’t appear to realize it yet.
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Ruff, Dr. Karen S C. "TheBestNotes on Little Women".
. 09 May 2017