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Themes

In Little Women, marriage is depicted as a wonderful and beneficial institution, the culmination of all the different kinds of love and domestic lessons that women – and men – learn in their youth. Although the novel suggests that men and women have different and distinct roles within the marriage, it also insists that marriage must be a partnership, with both spouses working together to create a home and raise a family. The best marriages are not necessarily the most obvious ones, and sometimes youthful passions have to give way to more practical or unusual pairings.

Questions About Marriage

  1. Were you surprised that Jo got married at the end of the novel? Were you surprised by the husband she chose?
  2. What is Mr. and Mrs. March's marriage like? How does it set the tone for the other marriages that take place in the novel?
  3. Why are Meg's various marriage prospects so important to the March family in the early part of the novel? Why do her parents insist that she wait until she is twenty before getting married?
  4. Why does Amy think that she needs to marry for money? Do you sympathize with her reasons?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Although Marmee believes that marriage is wonderful and appropriate for most women, she has high standards for the kind of relationship worthy of marriage.

In contrast to the standards of the time, the Marches believe that marriage is a relatively equal partnership between husband and wife.

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