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Little Women

Little Women

by Louisa May Alcott

Ambition Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

I'm not ambitious for a splendid fortune, a fashionable position, or a great name for my girls. If rank and money come with love and virtue, also, I should accept them gratefully, and enjoy your good fortune, but I know, by experience, how much genuine happiness can be had in a plain little house, where the daily bread is earned, and some privations give sweetness to the few pleasures. (20.36)

Mrs. March's emphasis on hard work and domesticity, and her dislike of wealth and status, mark her as having a strongly Protestant worldview.

Quote #5

Earnest young men found the gray-headed scholar as young at heart as they; thoughtful or troubled women instinctively brought their doubts to him, sure of finding the gentlest sympathy, the wisest counsel. Sinners told their sins to the pure-hearted old man and were both rebuked and saved. Gifted men found a companion in him. Ambitious men caught glimpses of nobler ambitions than their own, and even worldlings confessed that his beliefs were beautiful and true, although 'they wouldn't pay.' (24.3)

In a way, Mr. March is even more ambitious than people who are seeking money or power. He's trying to turn his ideals into actual practice in reality. Little Women leaves these ideals largely vague, but Bronson Alcott, Louisa May Alcott's real-life father, was committed to things like communal living, raw foods, and equality of the sexes.

Quote #6

It takes people a long time to learn the difference between talent and genius, especially ambitious young men and women. Amy was learning this distinction through much tribulation, for mistaking enthusiasm for inspiration, she attempted every branch of art with youthful audacity. (26.1)

The novel suggests that being too ambitious can blind you to your own nature. Because Amy wants to be a great artist, she can't see her talents – or her limitations.

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