by Louisa May Alcott
The Hummels are a poor, fatherless German immigrant family who live in a run-down shack. All of the Marches, but especially Beth and Marmee, help care for the Hummel children, bringing them food, clothes, and firewood. The Hummels are grateful for this charity, but even the kindness of the March family can't keep their baby from dying of scarlet fever. The Hummels remind us that, no matter how poor the Marches may seem, true poverty is much more severe and involves heartbreaking suffering.