How we cite our quotes:
"'Have you sons in the army?' I asked, for the note he brought was not to me.
"Yes, ma'am. I had four, but two were killed, one is a prisoner, and I'm going to the other, who is very sick in a Washington hospital.' he answered quietly.
"'You have done a great deal for your country, sir,' I said, feeling respect now, instead of pity.
"'Not a mite more than I ought, ma'am. I'd go myself, if I was any use. As I ain't, I give my boys, and give 'em free.'" (4.53-56)
There are many ways to sacrifice. Early in the novel, we see the March girls sacrificing possessions, money, and food. But, as Mrs. March's story illustrates, it's also possible to sacrifice your love for someone else, such as a family member. Perhaps the girls will be called on to experience that kind of sacrifice later in the novel!
"My dear, where did you get it? Twenty-five dollars! Jo, I hope you haven't done anything rash?"
"No, it's mine honestly. I didn't beg, borrow, or steal it. I earned it, and I don't think you'll blame me, for I only sold what was my own."
As she spoke, Jo took off her bonnet, and a general outcry arose, for all her abundant hair was cut short.
"Your hair! Your beautiful hair!" "Oh, Jo, how could you? Your one beauty." "My dear girl, there was no need of this." "She doesn't look like my Jo any more, but I love her dearly for it!" (15.41-44)
When Jo cuts off her hair and sells it to a wig-maker to get money for Marmee's travel expenses, she's not just changing her hairstyle. Young women – especially young women almost old enough to get married – simply did not have short hair in the mid-nineteenth century. It was, as they used to say, not done. But Jo does it – she sacrifices both her sex appeal and her respectability for her family.
When we make little sacrifices we like to have them appreciated, at least, and for a minute Amy was sorry she had done it, feeling that virtue was not always its own reward. But it is, as she presently discovered, for her spirits began to rise, and her table to blossom under her skillful hands, the girls were very kind, and that one little act seemed to have cleared the atmosphere amazingly. (30.28)
Amy has to learn to sacrifice something simple but very precious to her – her pride.