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Little Women Essay

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Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

Book Theme: In the arduous journey from childhood to adulthood, a young woman is faced with two things that need great attention and balance - the progress of her individual social standing, and the welfare of her immediate family.

Main Conflict: The book does not really follow the traditional single plot line characteristic of many stories (especially during the time it was written). Alcott illustrated the roads the four March girls Amy, Beth, Jo, and Meg take in their lives as they become young women. The storyline includes many mini-conflicts, such as Jo’s writing, or Beth’s illness, or Laurie’s inclination to love Jo despite Amy’s affections. Generally speaking, the one overlying conflict stands as the girls’ growth - the journey they took, and the intermediate obstacles they conquered to get to where they were.

The Plot: The girls resolve to focus not on themselves, but on their immediate family’s needs, much thanks to an inspirational letter from Mr. March during the Civil War. Eventually, the girls grow and begin to follow their own aspirations in hopes of accomplishing their dreams. Soon enough, Meg and Beth both come back to carry for their families, and Beth also dies of scarlet fever. Amy and Jo continue on in their own artistry, but soon conform to society’s idea of womanhood and also marry their respective partners. At the end of the book, the girls are reunited once again, as a family, just as they always have been.

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