I must admit: it is my first time finishing a classic and to be honest, I think it would remain a frail hope if not for the lockdown due to COVID-19. Nevertheless, I can justify that the 541-page book is indeed a good read. In fact, it is all together a “good” book, that is, boosting with moral. From childhood to womanhood, I believe we can all relate to the curiosities and discoveries of these lovely sisters.
While reading the book, I’ve highlighted powerful thoughts that I’d like to ponder on further. Here, I present to you words that came from their own lips or descriptions from the author itself (Louisa May Alcott).
For how else can we get a better grasp of their characters than to present their own thoughts, right?
Please allow me to introduce to you the March sisters, from the eldest to the youngest.
- “Where’s the use of looking nice, when no one sees me but those cross midgets, and no one cares whether I’m pretty or not?” (p.36)
- “I shall have to toil and moil all my days, with only little bits of fun now and then, and then get old and ugly and sour, because I’m poor and can’t enjoy my life as other girls do. It’s a shame!” (p.36)
- “I’m too happy to care what anyone says or thinks, and I’m going to have my little wedding just as I like it.” (p.269)
- They were very happy, even after they discovered that they couldn’t live on love alone. (p.292)
- Meg learned that a woman’s happiest kingdom is home, her highest honor the art of ruling it not as a queen, but a wise wife and mother. (p.430)
- “Why in the world should you spend your money, worry your family, and turn the house upside down for a parcel of girls who don’t care a sixpence for you?” (p.278)
- After years of effort it was so pleasant to find that she had learned to do something, though it was only to write a sensation story. (p.288)
- “But I think girls ought to show when they disapprove of young men, and how can they do it except by their manners?” (p.317)
- Jo had learned that hearts, like flowers, cannot be rudely handled, but must open naturally. (p.353)
- “I couldn’t fall in love with the dear old fellow merely out of gratitude, could I?” (p.355)
- She saw that money conferred power: money and power, therefore, she resolved to have, not to be used for herself alone, but for those whom she loved more than self.
- “I almost wish I hadn’t any conscience, it’s so inconvenient. If I didn’t care about doing right, and didn’t feel uncomfortable when doing wrong, I should get on capitally. I can’t help wishing sometimes, that Father and Mother hadn’t been so particular about such things.” (p.385)
- “I don’t believe I shall ever marry. I’m happy as I am, and love my liberty too well to be in any hurry to give it up for any mortal man.” (p.394)
- If difficulties were necessary to increase the splendor of the effort, what could be harder for a retless, ambitious girl than to give up her own hopes, plans, and desires, and cheerfuly live for others? (p.469)
- “I’m glad Amy has learned to love him. But you are right in one hing: I am lonely, and perhaps if Teddy had tried again, I might have said ‘Yes,’ not because I love him any more, but because I care more to be loved than when he went away.” (p.472)
- “I’m glad you are poor; I couldn’t bear a rich husband,” said Jo decidedly, adding, in a softer tone, “Don’t fear poverty. I’ve known it long enough to lose my dread and be happy working for those I love; and don’t call yourself old — forty is the prime of life. I couldn’t help loving you if you were seventy!” -Jo (p.517)
- “I may be strong-minded, but no one can say I’m out of my sphere now, for woman’s special mission is supposed to be drying tears and bearing burdens. I’m to carry my share, Friedrich, and help to earn the home. Make up your mind to that, or I’ll never go.”
- There are many Beths in the world, shy and quiet, sitting in corners till needed, and living for others so cheerfully that no one sees the sacrifices till the little cricket ont he hearth stops chirping, and the sweet, sunshiny presence vanishes, leaving silence and shadow behind. (p.42)
- “I gave up hoping then, but I didn’t like to own it. I tried to think it was a sick fancy, and would not let it trouble anyone. But when I saw you all so well and strong and full of happy plans, it was hard to feel that I could never be like you.” (p.402)
- “I only mean to say that I have a feeling that it never was intended I should live long. I’m not like the rest of you; I never made any plans about what I’d do when I grew up; I never thought of being married, as you all did. I couldn’t seem to imagine myself anything but stupid little Beth, trotting about at home, of no use anywhere but there.” (p.404)
- “…love is the only thing that we can carry with us when we go, and it makes the end so easy.” (p.451)
- “Women should learn to be agreeable, particularly poor ones, for they have no other way of repaying the kindness they receive.” (p.317)
- “Love Jo all your days, if you choose, but don’t let it spoil you, for it’s wicked to throw away so many good gifts because you can’t have the one you want.” (p.442)
- “I never knew how much like heaven this world could be, when two people love and live for one another!” (p.472)
- “If they love one another it doesn’t matter a particle how old they are nor how poor. Women never should marry for money.” (p.493)
- “Ambitious girls have a hard time, Laurie, and often have to see youth, health, and precious opportunities go by, just for want of a little help at the right minute. People have been very kind to me; and whenever I see girls struggling along, as we used to do, I want to put out my hand and help them, as I was helped.” (p.495)
Through the development of these characters in the story, I can say that the author, Louisa May Alcott, knows them very well. It’s as if she was an unseen witness to their everyday lives, knowing not only their physical attributes but also the treasures of their hearts.
In fact, so far as I have read novels and other stories, I can say that Little Women has the best fully-developed characters — reading the book feels like you’re growing up with them!
The photos I compiled were from the book’s latest movie adaptation (2019). Also, I’ve picked those shots which I think best describes each character as I’ve imagined them from the book.