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Analysis

Literary Devices in Little Women

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

For a stay-at-home novel about private, domestic concerns, Little Women sure is full of traveling, journeys, and pilgrimages, both metaphorical and literal: Jo's trip to New York to experience the...

Setting

The town where the March and Laurence families live is never given a name in the novel, but it's clearly somewhere in New England and loosely based on Concord, Massachusetts, where Louisa May Alcot...

Narrator Point of View

The narrator of Little Women is an omniscient, disembodied voice that knows everyone's thoughts and feelings and explores the characters from within and without. We get a good example of this in th...

Genre

More than anything else, Little Women is a coming-of-age story – specifically for Jo March, but more generally for all of the March sisters and even their friend Laurie. How can we tell? Well...

Tone

Even if we didn't know from Louisa May Alcott's biography and journals that Little Women is loosely based on her own family life, we'd probably know it from the affectionate tone that she uses to d...

Writing Style

Little Women may be a children's book, and it may have a fluffy, cozy, domestic feel. But Louisa May Alcott was the daughter of a well-read philosopher, and her command of language is impressive. S...

What's Up With the Title?

Even if you've never read it, you've probably heard of Little Women; the title alone has become a cornerstone of American culture, spawning an entire industry of "girl books" and literature for and...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

Go then, my little Book, and show to allThat entertain and bid thee welcome shall, What thou dost keep close shut up in thy breast; And wish what thou dost show them may be blestTo them for good, m...

What's Up With the Ending?

Little Women lives up to every stereotype of a novel's ending: all the girls are married, except Beth, who is dead. Jo has paired off with Mr. Bhaer, Amy with Laurie, and Meg with John Brooke. The...

Plot Analysis

Jo March and her sisters work hard to keep their family together despite poverty, war, illness, and everyday troubles.At the beginning of the novel, Jo and her sisters are almost literally waiting...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Rags to Riches

Tomboyish Jo March tries to be happy at home with her mother and sisters, working hard to help support the family and keep house. Yet she feels drawn to travel, excitement, literature, and culture...

Three Act Plot Analysis

Tomboyish Jo March develops a friendship with her rich neighbor Theodore Laurence, who becomes infatuated with her.Jo rejects Laurie's proposal of marriage. To avoid him, she goes to New York to se...

Trivia

Louisa May Alcott didn't really want to write a book for American girls. In fact, she claimed in her journal that she didn't even like girls, except her sisters. But once her publisher convinced he...

Steaminess Rating

None

Allusions

Friedrich Heinrich Karl la Motte-Fouqué, Undine and Sintram (1.7, 22.6)William Shakespeare (1.58, 10.26, 14.60, 33.61-63, 34.36)William Shakespeare, Macbeth (1.59)John Bunyan, Pilgrim's Progre...
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