The connotation of “little” changes with the context it is used in, because some characters in the book use it affectionately while others use it to diminish the young ladies. For example, at the beginning of the novel the March sisters’ father sends them a letter in which he calls them little women (Alcott, Little Women 15). The context in which little women is used by the father is an affectionate adjective to encourage the March sisters to behave and strive to become good people. Going back to the very beginning of the story, Amy is described as little which in this context means small and vulnerable, because at that moment Amy is sniffing and the sniff is described as injured, suggesting vulnerability, a negative connotation (Alcott, Little Women 2). Another positive connotation is seen towards the ending of the book where Jo’s book is refe...
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...learn to become unique while still conforming to the nineteenth century women ideals. Little Women shows how women have been verbally oppressed and how women should combat the oppression by being unique in their own ways, like the March sisters (Armstrong Here Little 472).
In Little Women, the word “little” is used in a good and bad connotation, depending on the context, but the word itself is used in a diminutive way to show how women overcome oppression and positively impact the world around them. The March sister’s father refers to them as little women in an encouraging way, while when used to first describe Amy it resembles Amy’s vulnerability. The connotation of “little” is determined by the situation of the noun it is describing. Louisa Alcott uses the term “little women” to express women oppression and show how women can in their uniqueness combat oppression.
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