The Home Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
It was a comfortable old room, though the carpet was faded and the furniture very plain; for a good picture or two hung on the walls, books filled the recesses, chrysanthemums and Christmas roses bloomed in the windows, and a pleasant atmosphere of home peace pervaded it. (1.32)
Our first "view" of the March family home clues us in to the things that Alcott values: comfort, literature, and the beauty of the natural world. Together, these things turn a house into a home – a distinction that is especially important in a novel full of snug cottages and lonely mansions.
While making these maternal inquiries Mrs. March got her wet things off, her warm slippers on, and sitting down in the easy chair, drew Amy to her lap, preparing to enjoy the happiest hour of her busy day. The girls flew about, trying to make things comfortable, each in her own way. Meg arranged the tea table, Jo brought wood and set chairs, dropping overturning, and clattering everything she touched, Beth trotted to and fro between parlor and kitchen, quiet and busy, while Amy gave directions to everyone, as she sat with her hands folded. (1.63)
Each of the March girls takes on the domestic tasks suited to her character and talents. When they work together in this way, they make the house more home-like for their mother. Bustle is almost as important a characteristic of this house as love.
"Leave these things to time; make this home happy, so that you may be fit for homes of your own, if they are offered you, and contented here if they are not." (9.145)
For the March girls, the family home is like a laboratory where they experiment with and practice domestic science. If they get good enough at it and are lucky, they'll get to put their experiments into practice in homes of their own as wives and mothers.