By Louisa May Alcott Book Report by Ellie Webb
Setting • Takes place in and around a small New England town • During and after the Civil War (1861-1865) • The family is a middle class family and live in a modest house • Near the countryside and town. They are within walking distance of a small town.
Characters Meg March is the oldest of the four March sisters. She is very vain about her hands because they are slender and white. She is very proper and can be very motherly, when Mrs. March isn’t there, to her three sisters. She is beautiful and is considered Amy’s keeper. She marries her neighbor’s tutor, John Brooke, who is poor. She becomes a mother of twins, commonly known as Daisy and Demi. Josephine “Jo” March is the second oldest of the March sisters. She is tall and lanky and repeatedly wishes that she was a boy. She has a very quick temper, but tries to keep it in check. She is often compared to as a horse because of the way she is always busy and galloping about. She is clumsy and breaks things a lot. Her hair is her one beauty, but has a kind heart. She is considered Beth’s keeper. Jo marries a man named Friedrich Bhaer and starts a school/ home for boys.
Characters Continued Beth March is the third child in the family. She is more fragile and delicate than the rest of the girls. She is shy, loves playing the piano, and staying at home to clean the house and study. She is too shy for school and is therefore homeschooled. She is usually the peacekeeper along with her mother. Amy March is the youngest of the March girls. She is beautiful in all aspects, but feels that she doesn’t have an aristocratic point to her nose. She does everything she can to make her nose turn up. She always dreams that she will marry a rich man so that she can live in comfort. She has the hardest time adjusting to the times. She is all manners and believes that she is more grown-up than she actually is. She uses big words to sound older. She and Jo often have fights that don’t always end well. She marries her neighbor, Theodore “Teddy” Laurence.
Characters Continued Theodore “Teddy” or “Laurie” Laurence is the Marches’ rich neighbor. He has a quick temper that gets him into a lot of trouble with his grandfather. He loves playing the piano, but his grandfather disapproves of it. His father was a musician. He loves Jo for most of the book, proposes, gets turned down, and falls in love with Beth. Mrs. March is the mother of the March girls. She is very kind and fair. She once had a temper like Jo’s, but, because of help from her husband, has been able not to lose her temper. Whenangry, she will purse her lips or walk out of the room to get control of herself. She tries to help her girls as much as possible. Mr. Mach is the father of the girls. He is away, fighting in the war. The family think of him everyday and are extremely worried when they get a telegram saying that he is injured and in the hospital. Mr. Laurence is Teddy Laurence’s grandfather. He can be very grumpy, but loves Beth a lot because he had a granddaughter who reminded him of her. John Brooke is Teddy Laurence’s tutor. He is poor but good and tries his best to help who ever he has to take care of. He is the father of Daisy and Demi.
Characters Continued Hannah is the March housekeeper. She is homely and helpful. She acts as a second mother when Mrs. March is away. Daisy and Demi are twins. Their mother is Meg and they have her wrapped around their fingers. Demi is adventurous, rebellious, and curious. He invents things and makes his sister try them. Daisy is calm and quiet. She does what she is told to do and is sweet with a charming smile to match. Aunt March is the March sisters’ aunt. She is stingy and wealthy. She has bad eyesight and hired Jo to read to her everyday. She dislikes Jo because she isn’t mannerly, which is something that is vital to her. Friedrich Bhaer is a German professor. He is kindly and poor. He tries to make everyone else happy, but gets mad when Jo doesn’t write from her heart. He is fatherly. He gives presents to everyone, but gets sort of embarrassed if anyone gives one to him.
Beth March Beth March is very timid and loving. She enjoys helping Hannah with keeping house tidy. She usually thinks of others and is loved by all. In her free time she practices the piano. She very rarely shows her compassion for other people unless she forgets herself or is overwhelmed by them. She is obedient and trustworthy. She has a calm and quiet presence. She doesn’t usually speak her mind. She is a very homely person. She takes care of any discarded doll no matter what the condition. In fact, the more beaten the doll the better the care. She does her best at comforting people until she dies. She tries not to make people worry about her and wants everyone to be happy.
Story Summary 1.) The story starts with Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. They are at home talking about their problems. They decide that they will buy their mother Christmas presents. 2.) The girls then remember when they “played pilgrims” carrying their burdens. The letter from their father reminds them to keep carrying their burdens. 3.) The girls wake up and find books underneath their pillows. The books help them everyday to carry their burdens. 4.) The girls help out a poor German family by giving them breakfast. They are rewarded by their wealthier neighbor. 5.) Meg and Jo go to a party were Jo feels out of place and Meg sprains her ankle. They are helped by their neighbor Theodore “Teddy” Laurence. 6.) The narrator gives more information on the different components of the March family. They talk about what they do and become more eager in continuing on with burdens because of stories that Mrs. March tells.
Story summary continued 7.) Jo and the rest of the March family start up a friendly relationship with the Laurence's. They come up with their own mail system and send mail and presents to each other. 8.) Amy gets in trouble at school and decides to become home schooled like Beth for awhile. 9.) Jo and Amy get into a fight where Amy burns Jo’s book with all of her story ideas and then almost drowns when she goes ice skating with Jo and Laurie. They make up quickly after Amy’s near-death experience. 10.) Meg is invited to visit with her rich friends. While there she attends numerous balls and parties, but is obviously the poorest of the girls. At the parties she hears people saying that her mother has “plans” for her. Devastated she goes home early and consults with her mother “Marmee”. 11.) The reader then learns about a club that the girls made and Jo convinces them to invite Teddy to join it. 12.) The girls have a vacation and decide to absolutely nothing of any great importance with it. They don’t do their chores and find out that a balance of work and fun is best to have a happy family and be a happy person.
Story summary continued 13.) Teddy has a party with the March girls and some Americans. They all have a grand time. Meg and John spend most of their time together and start to have feelings for each other. 14.) Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, and Teddy all describe their favorite dream. They decide to meet in ten years and see if any of their dreams have come true. 15.) Jo starts to write stories for newspapers and magazines. She keeps it a secret and only tells Laurie, who in turn tells her that John keeps Meg’s glove in his pocket. This upsets Jo because she doesn’t want her sister to be taken away from her. 16.) The family gets a telegram saying that Mr. March is ill and in the hospital. Everyone contributes something to get stuff ready for Mrs. March. Marmee goes to Washington with John Brooke to nurse her husband. While there Mr. and Mrs. March learn about John’s true feelings about Meg. 17.) While Marmee is away, Beth goes to help the Hummel’s. The German family who Marmee helps. Beth comes in contact with scarlet fever and Amy is sent to her aunt’s house so that she doesn’t get it too. Her aunt takes a liking to her and gives her a ring. Amy wears it to remind herself to be good.
Story summary continued 18.) Everyone thinks Beth is going to die until Marmee comes back leaving her husband. 19.) Jo tells Marmee about her worries of losing Meg to John Brooke and Marmee tells her not to worry. 20.) Laurie plays pranks on Meg and she gets mad. Jo helps to smooth things over. 21.) Mr. March comes home for Christmas and everyone is happy as both Mr. March and Beth had been sick. Everyone thought that Beth would die and so it is even more special to them. 22.) Meg and John decide to get married and Aunt March disproves of it because she believes that Meg should marry someone rich. 23.) The second part starts off giving information on the March family and friends. 24.) John and Meg have a very informal wedding where they are helping with the decorations. 25.) Amy goes to art school. She decides to have a party with all of her art friends and only one comes.
Story summary continued 26.) Jo starts to do more writings for newspapers. 27.) Meg has some failures as a wife, but then gives birth to twins called Daisy and Demi. 28.) Jo has to go calling with Amy and is in a bad mood. She then doesn’t get to go abroad because she says that favors burden her. Amy goes in her place and Jo is mad. 29.) Amy writes letters to her family about her time abroad. 30.) Jo thinks that Beth likes Laurie and so she goes away to see if Laurie will start to like her back. She goes to be a governess. 31.) Jo writes about her experiences as a governess and who she meets there. You also learn more about her life and interactions with Mr. Bhaer. 32.) Laurie proposes to Jo and she turns him down. He goes away and she feels bad, but knows that she made the right decision in saying no. She also knows that he has grown-up because of her answer. 33.) At the sea side, Beth tells Jo that she is going to die. When they get home everyone knows it too by looking at Beth.
Story summary continued 34.) Amy and Laurie meet up while Amy is abroad. They catch up and Amy starts to like Laurie although she won’t admit it. 35.) Meg and Marmee talk because John is spending more time out then usual. Marmee tells Meg to let John help with raising the kids because she is spending all of her time with them and he is lonely. 36.) Amy and Laurie spend time together, but Amy gets mad because he is being lazy. She believes that he should go back to his grandfather and learn how to manage a business. 37.) The family try to make Beth’s last days comfortable and reading one of Jo’s poems she feels that she has done something good with her life. 38.) Beth dies and the family copes with it as best they can. Laurie goes back to Amy to comfort her. Laurie ends up proposing and Amy says yes. 39.) Jo takes Beth’s death the hardest and doesn’t find comfort in anything. She is only slightly cheered when she finds out that Laurie and Amy married. 40.) Professor Bhaer comes and cheers up Jo considerably.
Story summary continued 40.) You learn more about what Daisy and Demi are like. 41.) Jo runs into Mr. Bhaer in the town. He tells her the real reason he came to visit and they decide to get married. 42.) You learn that Jo got her wish of starting a home for boys. The narrator tells of a scene where all of the families get together and pick apples at Jo’s house. Aunt March died and gave her land and property to Jo.
My opinion on the ending I wouldn’t have changed the ending. I thought that the way the story was left was perfectly fine. Also there are other books about the March family. Little Men by Louisa May Alcottcontinues the story of Jo and her home for boys. All of my questions were answered and I thought that the ending was very sweet. You also saw everyone together again. Another reason I wouldn’t change the ending is because Louisa May Alcott based her books on her own life. She uses herself as a model for. She wouldn’t want to change part of her own story and neither would I. I think the way she ended the book was amazing and brilliant.
Messages • Cherish what you have and be happy with it. • We all have problems. You are judged by how you deal with them. • No matter what your family and people who love you can get you through everything. • Your experiences help make you who you are. You can let them affect you negatively or positively. • If you try your hardest life will reward you • If someone scorns you don’t fight back. Beat them by loving and being kind to them
Recommendation I would recommend this book to someone else. I would recommend it because it is a very deep book. You really get into the characters’ lives and feelings. Louisa May Alcott uses really descriptive language and helps you understand how everyone felt and why. She is a masterful story teller that everyone would enjoy. The book is 669 pages so if you don’t like reading don’t read it. I think that most people should read this book because it has some amazing messages and lessons in it.
Little Women By Louisa May Alcott Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a compelling story about family and friendships. It depicts the life of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. It tells of their triumphs and failures, clearly giving their feelings. There is also a movie starring Winona Rider as Jo. “Will we never all be together again?” -Jo “You can't even propose without quarreling.” -Jo