Set in nineteenth century New England, Little Women follows the lives of the four March sisters-Jo, Beth, Amy and Meg. The novel is a classic rites of passage story, that has often split literature critics but has been adored by many over the years. Intended as a book for young girls, the book is too sentimental for some but plenty of adults and young men have Little Women firmly featured in their best books of all time. The pace of the novel can be slow at times and the language almost too perfect but the overall sympathetic tone of Alcott wins over the reader. The book is semi-autobiographical, with Jo Marsh mirroring the life of an ambitious Alcott. Just like Alcott, Jo is a strong, independent woman who is fighting through her domestic duties to do what she truly loves. Writing is Jo’s passion and in a world where women are expected to put personal growth aside in order to withhold traditional family values, she is met with many challenges. “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” The book speaks to every woman that has had to fight against convention. With their father away at war, the four sisters pull together to support each other but still have time to search for their own identity. These ‘little women’ are not children but young adults finding their way via love, religion and confidence. Whilst it may seem sad that the sisters do have to conform to some extent, if you read between the lines there is so much inspiration for young female readers.
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