Schools & Districts
All of Shmoop
Cite This Page
Kindle: Learning Guide
Nook: Learning Guide
Sony Reader: Learning Guide
Louisa May Alcott
Best of the Web
Chapter 41 Summary
Chapter 39 Summary
Table of Contents
AP English Language
AP English Literature
SAT Test Prep
ACT Exam Prep
Find the Perfect College
Your dream school is right around the corner. Search to find colleges that might be a match for you.
What you want to study:
AGRICULTURE, AGRICULTURE OPERATIONS, AND RELATED SCIENCES
ARCHITECTURE AND RELATED SERVICES
AREA, ETHNIC, CULTURAL, AND GENDER STUDIES
BIOLOGICAL AND BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES
BUSINESS, MANAGEMENT, MARKETING, AND RELATED SUPPORT SERVICES
COMMUNICATION, JOURNALISM, AND RELATED PROGRAMS
COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGIES/TECHNICIANS AND SUPPORT SERVICES
COMPUTER AND INFORMATION SCIENCES AND SUPPORT SERVICES
ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE/LETTERS
FAMILY AND CONSUMER SCIENCES/HUMAN SCIENCES
FOREIGN LANGUAGES, LITERATURES, AND LINGUISTICS
HEALTH PROFESSIONS AND RELATED CLINICAL SCIENCES
HEALTH-RELATED KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS
HIGH SCHOOL/SECONDARY DIPLOMAS AND CERTIFICATES
INTERPERSONAL AND SOCIAL SKILLS
LEGAL PROFESSIONS AND STUDIES
LEISURE AND RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES
LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES, GENERAL STUDIES AND HUMANITIES
MATHEMATICS AND STATISTICS
MECHANIC AND REPAIR TECHNOLOGIES/TECHNICIANS
NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION
PARKS, RECREATION, LEISURE, AND FITNESS STUDIES
PERSONAL AND CULINARY SERVICES
PERSONAL AWARENESS AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT
PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES
PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND SOCIAL SERVICE PROFESSIONS
RESERVE OFFICER TRAINING CORPS (JROTC, ROTC)
SECURITY AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES
TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION/INDUSTRIAL ARTS
THEOLOGY AND RELIGIOUS VOCATIONS
TRANSPORTATION AND MATERIALS MOVING
VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS
District Of Columbia
Search for Colleges
Little Women Chapter 40 Summary
The Valley of the Shadow
The March family accepts that Beth is dying. They band together to make her last days easy and comfortable and to comfort one another.
Everyone contributes something to make Beth comfortable; a room is set aside for her, and Meg visits frequently with her twins.
Even in her dying days, Beth keeps doing little domestic tasks. Her favorite thing to do is to knit and sew gifts for the poor schoolchildren who pass underneath her window every day.
The first few months are pleasant – the family hangs out together in Beth's room and everyone is cheerful and loving.
Soon, however, Beth becomes much sicker. She's too weak to sew and she is very ill and disturbed.
Jo spends all her time nursing Beth – she even sleeps on the couch in Beth's room.
Beth spends a lot of her time reading the Bible.
Watching Beth come to grips with her mortality is an important moral lesson for Jo. She starts to realize how important Beth is to the family, even though she doesn't do anything ambitious or showy.
One night when Jo is asleep, Beth starts reading
and finds a copy of a poem in Jo's handwriting. She reads the poem, which is about her, and finds it loving and comforting.
Jo wakes up and she and Beth talk about the poem, and about how much Beth has meant to the family. Beth says that she knows now that she hasn't wasted her life.
Beth and Jo talk about their religious faith and their belief that death will not really part them, in the end.
Beth makes Jo promise to take her place as the "angel in the house" and take care of their parents.
Beth doesn't say any famous last words, but her death is easy and gentle.
Beth's family prepare her body for burial – that's pretty typical for the nineteenth century. The family thanks God for Beth's life.
Need help with College?
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved. We love your brain and respect your privacy. |
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved. We love your brain and respect your privacy.