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The reason for this book appealing to such a broad audience lies in all the characters’ personalities. Mrs. March is a strong, independent woman who never falters, therefore she relates to all independent women; but she is also a mother who plants strong values in her girls and is the rock foundation of the family, with that she relates to all mothers. Margaret’s desire for luxury is a desire that we all can relate to and her properness is a trait most girls can relate to. Jo’s mischievous demeanor and talent for writing is something that if one cannot relate, admire to have. Beth is the insecure, sweet, homebody in all of us. Amy represents the beauty and talent, and sometimes moral code, which all women have. Laurie represents all the men that wish to be loved any uncommon-but-beautiful woman.
This book is full of the values and beliefs of its time. The March family, that were once-upon-a-time a rich family, were still connected to the “higher” society. As a result, they were sometimes willingly and sometimes forced to commune with people who looked down on them for being poor.
The book taking place during and after the period of the civil war there was a lot of tension concerning Blacks. Some of the values Mrs. March teaches her girls is the importance of never trying to be something there not; the unimportance of material possessions versus mental possessions; and that regardless of what the world told them, they are equal to men and therefore deserve equal rights.
The book does a good job of directly and indirectly showing realness of all Americans lives. The whole book feels very real, probably because it’s an autobiography. One very real aspect of the book was the death of Beth. Many loved ones were lost to scarlet fever back then. That particular part of the book, along with being the most real, was the most touching. Despite her being a homebody and living a short life, she had a huge effect on everybody she knew. Another very real feature was the financial struggle of a family of five women and a father away at war at a time when women had no rights.
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I really enjoyed this book. Mainly because I, as well as many other women, was able to relate to many of the personality traits of all the sisters. As mentioned earlier I was deeply moved by Beth’s death. Eventually everybody has to lose somebody who they are close to, as Jo was close to Beth.
If Little Women was released today it would definitely be popular. Not because of the success of the movie that was released back in 1994 but I think it would be part of Oprah’s book club. Then tons of women would read it. Of course it would not be a timeless classic like it is now. This book has been popular since it was published. There are not many people who can say they have never heard of Little Women by Louisa may Alcott.