How we cite our quotes:
Then it was that Margaret, sitting alone with tears dropping often on her work, felt how rich she had been in things more precious than any luxuries money could buy—in love, protection, peace, and health, the real blessings of life. (18.3)
Many passages in Little Women are devoted to reminding us that love, even in the simplest and most unimpressive, everyday forms, is more important than worldly success or wealth.
"Mercy me! I don't know anything about love and such nonsense!" cried Jo, with a funny mixture of interest and contempt. "In novels, the girls show it by starting and blushing, fainting away, growing thin, and acting like fools. Now Meg does not do anything of the sort. She eats and drinks and sleeps like a sensible creature, she looks straight in my face when I talk about that man, and only blushes a little bit when Teddy jokes about lovers." (20.23)
Jo admits that she really doesn't understand what love is like in a practical, everyday sense. She knows that the heroines in novels act silly when they fall in love, and that her sister doesn't act silly, so she assumes that Meg isn't in love. She's in for quite a surprise!
"He was perfectly open and honorable about Meg, for he told us he loved her, but would earn a comfortable home before he asked her to marry him. He only wanted our leave to love her and work for her, and the right to make her love him if he could. He is a truly excellent young man, and we could not refuse to listen to him, but I will not consent to Meg's engaging herself so young." (20.28)
John Brooke actually asks for Mr. and Mrs. March's permission, not just to court their daughter Meg, but even to have feelings about her! It's interesting to think about what he means by a "right" to make Meg love him if he can. Do you think you have a right to try and make someone that you're interested in fall in love with you in return?