In Little Women, the ability to make sacrifices, both great and small, is an essential part of ethical behavior. Everyone must be able to show a certain degree of selflessness – doing without material comforts, letting go of pride, or giving up personal desires for the good of the family or community. Sacrifices might also be more extreme or serious; sisters must sacrifice their claim on their sisters, daughters must sacrifice their claim on their fathers, and lovers must sacrifice their claim on their beloveds when the situation requires. It's not surprising that sacrifice plays such an important role in a novel that, underneath it all, is structured around Christianity – a religion that centers around one great sacrifice.
Each of the sisters in Little Women must learn to sacrifice some aspect of herself, such as pride or ambition, in order to contribute more to the family as a whole.
The March family is defined by the few things they will not sacrifice: their family bond and ethical principles.