Little Women Summary
Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women remains a beloved classic of American literature. The story follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—and their journey into adulthood. The novel opens as the March family, the four girls and their mother, are awaiting Christmas, although their father is away fighting the Civil War.
The family has been forced into reduced circumstances after their father has lost all of his money, forcing the older two girls, Meg and Jo, to work outside the home in order to support the family. The girls experience a number of escapades, including instances of sisterly cruelty, including one where Amy burns one of Jo’s manuscripts, and Jo nearly lets Amy drown while ice skating.
A telegram is received, telling them their father is in a Washington hospital, suffering from pneumonia. Their mother departs to tend to him. While tending to a family where the children have contracted scarlet fever, Beth contracts the disease herself. Eventually, Meg grows and marries Mr. Brooke, giving birth to twins. Jo moves to New York, where she meets Professor Bhaer, who encourages her writing. After Beth’s death, Amy marries Laurie, who have a daughter they name Beth. Jo marries the Professor and inherits a large house, deciding to turn it into a boarding school for boys. As the novel ends, the three sisters gather with their husbands as a family.