OK, so we admit that this stage isn't a perfect fit for this novel, because the March family home is far from wretched. But despite the domestic paradise created by Marmee for her girls, Jo isn't completely happy there. She wants to do something fantastic with her life, but she can't figure out what. She's always wanted to travel in Europe, to be a famous author or playwright, or maybe an actress.
It's not the European Grand Tour that she's always dreamed of, but living in New York is a chance for Jo to move in different circles. She hears lots of interesting philosophical and intellectual conversation, she becomes a regular author for a sensational periodical, and she meets the knowledgeable, virtuous Professor Bhaer. She's getting experience of the public sphere, and it makes a strange contrast with her previous domestic existence.
This conflict isn't really a choice for Jo. Obviously, she's going to take Beth's place as the daughter who stays at home, filling her parents' lives with affection and kindness. The real crisis takes place within her – how can she reconcile herself to a life lived entirely in the private sphere? Will she be able to find an outlet for her ambitions and her dreams, or does she have to subordinate the creative and lively parts of her personality to her sense of filial duty?
The first part of this stage is a good fit for this novel. The narrator spends a lot of words explaining the way that Beth's death and her new role in the home changes Jo, making her sweeter and more serious, and even drawing her closer to God. However, Jo doesn't really have a "Final Ordeal" in which she faces down the villain. After all, the only villain in the novel is Jo herself; she's always been her own worst enemy, and what she's had to conquer is her own wayward nature. Deep, huh? Instead of a last battle with the villain, Jo has a comical series of misunderstandings that threaten to keep her separated from the man she now knows she loves.
Because Jo was willing to renounce wealth, personal fulfillment, and marriage in favor of a quiet life at home with her parents, the novel rewards her with all those things anyway.