Little Women The Home Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
She smiled, said nothing, and with Hannah's help did their neglected work, keeping home pleasant and the domestic machinery running smoothly. (11.18)
Mrs. March, or "Marmee" as her daughters call her, often does this invisible behind-the-scenes labor to keep her family's home all but perfect.
"Don't you feel that it is pleasanter to help one another, to have daily duties which make leisure sweet when it comes, and to bear and forbear, that home may be comfortable and lovely to us all?" (11.74)
The lesson Mrs. March teaches her daughters is an old-fashioned one – that labor is better than idleness, and that people are actually happier when they have something to do than when they just sit around all day. We're a bit skeptical that a group of four people would actually come to this conclusion after only two days, but it's a nice idea.
Then it was that Jo, living in the darkened room, with that suffering little sister always before her eyes and that pathetic voice sounding in her ears, learned to see the beauty and the sweetness of Beth's nature, to feel how deep and tender a place she filled in all hearts, and to acknowledge the worth of Beth's unselfish ambition to live for others, and make home happy by that exercise of those simple virtues which all may possess, and which all should love and value more than talent, wealth, or beauty. (18.3)
Beth's illness teaches Jo to see the home – and the homemaker – as more important than any worldly or ambitious concerns.