Free Study Guide: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott|
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FREE BOOK REVIEW / SYNOPSIS: LITTLE WOMEN
For two weeks Jo and Professor Bhaer meet each other daily when Jo goes for her evening walk to Meg’s house. Jo is afraid of being laughed at and tries to keep her feelings hidden, but everyone is aware of change in her.
Suddenly, with no goodbyes or explanations, the professor stays away for three days. One afternoon Jo takes her walk into town, saying she needs more writing paper and offering to do some shopping for Mrs. March. She soon wanders to a section of town that has nothing to do with her shopping, but she does not find Mr. Bhaer. It begins to rain, so she rushes toward home only to run into another pedestrian who happens to be Mr. Bhaer.
Mr. Bhaer holds an umbrella for her and the two exchange a variety of
comments that alternately build and squelch their individual hopes regarding
each other’s love. At length, Bhaer tells her that he has concluded his
business and will be taking a professorship in a school in the west. At
first he thinks she doesn’t care, but on the walk home, he sees tears
in her eyes and asks the reason. She tells him it is because he is going
away. The professor’s reaction is ecstatic; he offers his love even though
he has no money to go with it. Before they enter the house, he proposes
to her in the rain under the umbrella.
This chapter is the climax of Jo’s story.
Jo works and waits for a year while the professor fulfills his teaching obligation. After they are married they take up residence at Plumfield, the mansion willed to Jo by Aunt March. There Jo opens a school for boys.
The Bhaer school at last gives the Laurences opportunity to spend their wealth for a worthy cause. They have a knack for finding boys who need the attention of the boys’ home, and they always insist on paying "a trifle" for the support of the ones they send. Within five years of Jo’s marriage, the Bhaer’s have a lively home full of noisy boys, including two of their own.
Amy’s one shadow is that her only child is a frail little girl whom
she fears losing, but Mrs. March encourages her to be hopeful. The story
ends with the family all together-minus Beth-but with the addition of
well-loved husbands and grandchildren.
The theme of true riches is nicely wrapped up in this final chapter. It is
interesting that the one sister who succeeded in marrying rich is also
burdened with an additional heartache in the form of a frail child. Jo’s
home for boys creates the possibility of a sequel which LMA wrote later
and was titled Jo’s Boys.
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Ruff, Dr. Karen S C. "TheBestNotes on Little Women".
. 09 May 2017