by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women Poverty Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Poor girls don't stand any chance, Belle says, unless they put themselves forward," sighed Meg.
"Then we'll be old maids," said Jo stoutly.
"Right, Jo. Better be happy old maids than unhappy wives, or unmaidenly girls, running about to find husbands," said Mrs. March decidedly. "Don't be troubled, Meg, poverty seldom daunts a sincere lover. Some of the best and most honored women I know were poor girls, but so love-worthy that they were not allowed to be old maids. Leave these things to time." (9.143-145)
Mrs. March advises Meg not to scheme and self-promote in order to marry well. It's more important to Marmee that her daughter be classy and well-bred than that she find a rich husband.
"Now, Laurie, don't be too fastidious and worldly-minded. If they love one another it doesn't matter a particle how old they are nor how poor. Women never should marry for money . . ." Amy caught herself up short as the words escaped her, and looked at her husband, who replied, with malicious gravity . . .
"Certainly not, though you do hear charming girls say that they intend to do it sometimes. If my memory serves me, you once thought it your duty to make a rich match. That accounts, perhaps, for your marrying a good-for-nothing like me."
"Oh, my dearest boy, don't, don't say that! I forgot you were rich when I said 'Yes.' I'd have married you if you hadn't a penny, and I sometimes wish you were poor that I might show how much I love you." And Amy, who was very dignified in public and very fond in private, gave convincing proofs of the truth of her words. (44.20-22)
Amy says she'd have married Laurie even if he was poor, and who are we to doubt her? Still, it is just a little too convenient that she gets to marry for love and get rich at the same time. Or maybe we're just jealous!
"I'm glad you are poor. I couldn't bear a rich husband," said Jo decidedly, adding in a softer tone, "Don't fear poverty. I've known it long enough to lose my dread and be happy working for those I love. . . ." (46.97)
Poverty suits Jo better than wealth would; if she married a rich man, she might have to learn how to behave properly and go around in Society and boring stuff like that.