"Four women, taught by weal and woe To love and labor in their prime. Four sisters, parted for an hour, None lost, one only gone..." (365-366). Jo wrote these lines in a poem, after Beth died. This is the most significant struggle for Jo. Jo and Beth are the two middle sisters in the classic novel, Little Women (1869) written by Louisa May Alcott. This is a classic novel about an American family of four daughters, a father who is off at war and a mother who works for the food. Jo and Beth are best friends and Jo sets the example for Beth.
Beth first gets sick when Mother goes off to take care of Father, who got seriously ill in the war. Beth comes down with scarlet fever that she caught from the baby down the road. Beth requests that Jo stay by her side, which she does. Beth was sicker then any one, other then the doctor and Hannah (the servant) thought. Jo decides to send for her mother, as she can not handle the burden by herself. Jo admits to Teddy that "Beth is my conscience and I can't give her up. I can't! I can't!" (143) As time elapses, both Mother and Father come home and Beth starts feeling better. Beth also starts to fall in love with Teddy (the boy next door), who loves Jo instead. Teddy asks Jo to marry him, she declines, for she does not love him and knows that Beth loves him. Beth starts to become better and Jo decides that it would be a good thing for her to move to New York, to get away from it all.
In New York, Jo lives with a family friend, and becomes their families mistress. Jo meets Professor Fredrick Bhaer, a German teacher, and becomes good friends. Jo forgets about the engagement proposal, but keeps in touch with Teddy and her family. After a year, Jo gets word again that B...
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... her. She sits down and writes a poem about her three sisters and herself. It turns out to be a beautiful poem about their lives thus far, and what shall become of them, in her mind. After she is done she lets her husband read it and then she burns it, as to get rid of all the painful memories that came with the writing.
After Jo had got married, had her babies, and opened up the school for the boys, she learned that every day and every person is a gift from God. She also learned to be thankful that she had Beth for as long as she did, and to treasure the memories. "Into each life some rain must fall, Some days must be dark and sad and dreary" (375). Even though, Jo thought she had lost the best thing in her life, she learned to move on.
Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women, Children's Classic Garden City New York, 1869
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