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Little Women

Little Women


by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women Chapter 20 Summary

READ THE BOOK: Chapter 20


  • Meg, Jo, and Beth have an emotional reunion with their mother. Mrs. March stays with Beth, holding her hand, overnight.
  • In the morning, Hannah serves a fancy breakfast to celebrate Mrs. March's return. As they eat, Mrs. March tells Jo and Meg about their father's improving health and Mr. Brooke's kindness.
  • The day progresses. Jo and Meg feel much better now that their mother is in charge. Mrs. March stays at Beth's bedside throughout the day.
  • Laurie goes to Aunt March's to tell Amy that her mother has returned. As he is describing Beth's illness and the other events of the last day, he falls asleep on Aunt March's couch.
  • Laurie is woken by the arrival of Mrs. March, who comes to see Amy. Amy is overjoyed to be reunited with her mother.
  • Amy shows her mother the chapel that Esther helped her make. Her mother approves of it.
  • Amy also shows her mother the turquoise ring, which she is now wearing – Aunt March gave it to her just recently. Her mother objects and says that she is too young for such fancy jewelry, and Amy explains that she also values the ring because it reminds her not to be selfish.
  • Mrs. March returns home to look after Beth. While she is at Beth's bedside, Jo comes and tell her that John Brooke has kept one of Beth's gloves as a memento. Jo is outraged by this and wants her mother to stop him.
  • Mrs. March asks Jo if she thinks Meg cares for John Brooke. Jo says that she doesn't know and isn't any good with romantic issues.
  • Mrs. March tells Jo that, while she was in Washington, John Brooke confessed to her and Mr. March that he loved Meg, and asked for their permission to court her. They agreed, because they were impressed with his hard-working demeanor and his good morals.
  • Jo says that she wishes she could marry Meg herself and keep the family together.
  • Mrs. March makes Jo promise that she won't talk about this to Meg.
  • Jo thinks back on some of the things Meg has said and realizes that Meg does seem to be falling in love with John Brooke. Jo feels frustrated by this.
  • Mrs. March sighs and admits that she will miss Meg after she gets married and leaves the family. She says that she and Mr. March have agreed that Meg shouldn't get married before she's 20. (At this point, Meg is 17.)
  • Jo asks her mother if Meg should try to marry a rich man instead of John Brooke. Her mother says that wealth is valuable, but not as valuable as good character and happiness.
  • Jo suggests that Meg should marry Laurie. Her mother doesn't think they are suited for each other.
  • Meg comes in and interrupts the discussion. Jo goes to bed.
  • Meg shows her mother a letter that she has written to her father. Mrs. March asks her to add a p.s. sending her (Mrs. March's) love to John. Meg is innocently surprised and pleased to discover that her mother and John Brooke are on first-name terms!
  • Meg kisses her mother and goes to bed. Mrs. March thinks to herself that Meg will soon be in love with John Brooke.

READ THE BOOK: Chapter 20

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