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Little Women- Book Project
Transcript of Little Women- Book Project
Copyright 1998 of Barnes & Noble Classics. Setting: Makayla Dean Themes: Little Women questions the validity of gender stereotypes, both male and female. Jo, at times, does not want to be a conventional female. In her desires and actions, she frustrates typical gender expectations. She wants to earn a living for herself: a duty conventionally reserved for men. She also wears a dress with a scorch mark to a party, evidence that she does not possess any social grace, a quality that nineteenth-century American society valued in women. Gender Stereotypes Growing Up Growing up goes hand in hand with the March sisters' new found understanding of wealth, appreciating what they have, and discovering they are rich in family and love. Meg has already grown up at the start of the novel, but Jo, Beth and Amy reject frivolous items, learn to find value in their simple lives, and discover ways to share their individual talents with society. Main Characters Josephine "Jo" March- The second oldest of the March sisters. Jo is a tomboy, and is often referred to as "Sir Jo". Jo has a unique love for literature, and published weekly stories in the local paper. Jo originally rejects the idea of romance, but once she meets Professor Bhaer, her opinion changes. Margaret "Meg" March- The eldest of the March sisters. Meg is known to be the most refined and elegant of the sisters, and keeps the family in line when her mother is not home. Meg marries Laurie's tutor, Mr Brooke, and soon becomes dependent on her husband, seeking his approval in everything. Elizabeth "Beth" March- The second youngest of the March sisters. Beth is shy and gentle, and enjoys taking care of the house during her free time. Beth contracts scarlet fever from visiting their poor neighbors, and she is never the same once she gets well. Beth resigns to say goodbye to life, and tries to comfort those around her on her deathbed. Amy March- The youngest and most selfish of the March sisters. Amy is an avid, but untalented, artist. Amy is the favorite among her aunts, and has the opportunity to travel to Europe with her Aunt Carol. In Paris, she meets up with Laurie, and they soon marry. Theodore "Laurie" Laurence- The Marchs' wealthy neighbor. Laurie is feminine and enjoys playing piano with Beth. Laurie is preparing to enter Harvard University, but only to please his grandfather. Laurie develops a love interest in Jo, but is rejected. Laurie goes to Paris to comfort Amy after Beth's death, and soon falls in love with her. They marry before returning to Boston. Professor Friedrich "Fritz" Bhaer- A poor German professor. Jo meets Fritz on her trip to New York. Fritz influences Jo to write for the local paper, and helps her to be truthful in her writings. Jo begins to feel something toward Fritz at the end of her stay in New York. Once Fritz comes to visit her, she realizes she loves him. They marry, and open a boarding house for "ragamuffin" boys. Plot: The novel opens just before the Christmas holiday. The girls decide to spend their allowances on their mother for Christmas. Each girl buys a small gift for Mrs. March, who is excited about the gifts. The girls later decide to give their Christmas feast to the Hummels, a poor family down the street, and are rewarded with a small Christmas dinner from their neighbors, the Laurences. Meg and Jo are invited to a New Year's party at Sallie Gardiner's house. At the party, Jo meets Laurie, the grandson of their neighbor. Jo and Laurie have a good time talking and joking around during the party. Meg rolls her ankle while dancing, and Laurie escorts the girls home in his private carriage. The Marches and the Laurences become good friends after the holidays, and the girls one-by-one, introduce themselves to Mr. Laurence. Meg adores going next door to admire the beautiful decorations, while Jo spends her days absorbed in the library. Amy loves the old man's oil paintings and Beth treasures the old grand piano in the parlor. Beth goes over every day to play and sing for the old man. Over the summer, Meg is invited to Annie Moffat's house for a week of partying. After allowing herself to be dressed up in luxurious clothes and surrounded by high class people, Meg returns home to realize she is much happier with her simple clothes, and her poor life style. One day, Mrs. March receives a telegram summoning her to Washington D.C., as her husband has fallen ill during the war, and is in the hospital. Upon hearing the news, Jo cuts off all of her hair, and sells it to help pay for the trip. Mr. Laurence offers to escort Mrs. March to D.C., but Mr. Brooke volunteers to go in his place. Mrs. March puts Meg in charge of the house, and leaves. The girls try their hardest to stay strong, and continue to do their daily chores, but soon forget them. Beth works even harder to pick up the other's slack. Beth visits the Hummles daily to help care for their new infant, who has scarlet fever. The infant dies, and Beth contracts the fever. Amy is sent to her aunt's house so she can aviod the fever, and Beth's health slowly fails. Word is eventually sent to Mrs. March, bringing her back home. Beth's fever breaks on the night Mrs. March returns home, but Beth never completely regains her previous health. Mrs. March later pulls Meg aside to ask her about her feelings toward Mr. Brooke. Meg replies that she thinks she loves him, but feels she is too young to be married. When Mr. March and Mr. Brooke return home, Meg accepts Mr. Brooke's proposal and he begins to work to build her a home. During Amy's stay with at her aunt's house, Aunt March becomes fond of Amy, and hints that something good may be headed her way. Part 1 Part 2 Meg and Mr. Brooke get married in a small ceremony with family and friends. Meg soon gives birth to twins, Daisy and Demi. Jo gets her first novel published that summer, but must remove her favorite parts to satisfy the publisher. Amy is given the opportunity to travel in Europe with her Aunt Carrol. Beth's health continues to decline, despite a long trip to the sea, financed by Jo's novel. Jo begins to see that Laurie is falling in love with her, so she takes a trip to New York to be a governess in a boarding house. While there, Jo writes sensational stories for a newspaper to earn money for another trip for Beth. Jo soon became good friends with a professor in the boarding house, Professor Bhear. When Jo leaves the boarding house, she invites Bhaer to come with her, but he politely declines. When Jo returns home, Beth tells her that she feels she doesn't have much time left. Jo takes her on one last trip to the sea. Upon their return, the whole family can tell that Beth won't live much longer. Jo sits by Beth's bed for weeks, making Beth as happy as possible. Laurie goes to Paris soon after Beth's death, to comfort Amy. Amy has matured during the years, and they quickly fall in love. They marry secretly, then return home. Laurie and Amy return to Boston. During the homecoming party, Professor Bhaer shows up. He says he has business in town, and will be staying for a while. Jo is elated to see him and invites him in. The entire family instantly loves him. Over the next weeks, Professor Bhaer visits the Marches daily. Jo begins to love him, and on his last day in Boston, tells him so. Bhaer proposes, but says Jo will have to wait while he finds her a suitable home. Jo bids Bhaer goodbye, and busies herself by sewing linens and towels for her impending marriage. During Bhaer's absence, Jo's Aunt March dies, and leaves Jo her old estate. Jo sends to Bhaer, and tells him she wants to open a boarding house for little boys that don't fit in. Bhaer is excited by her idea, and they soon open the large estate as a school. The novel closes with the family gathered in Jo's large apple orchard. Amy and Laurie have a daughter named Beth, who is sickly and small. Meg and Mr. Brooke's twins have grown up fast, and are mischievous as ever. Mr. and Mrs. March have grown old together, and revel in the happiness of their children and grandchildren. Jo and Bhaer have to sons, Teddy and Rob, as well as a house full of "ragamuffin" boys. The family looks back on their past, and realize they have finally reached their goals, despite the hardships along the way.