Women's Struggles in Little Women

Topics: Woman, Louisa May Alcott, Little Women Pages: 2 (532 words) Published: June 19, 2007
In Little Women, one major theme is the struggles women go through during the nineteenth-century. Women are supposed to be good mothers and women are only to speak when they are spoken to. Society in the nineteenth-century did not expect women to work to support themselves. Family obligations and duties take away from the woman's ability to attend to her own needs and wants. Little Women shows how women struggled in the nineteenth century. In Little Women, Alcott analyzes four different ways to deal with being a woman living in the nineteenth-century. Meg marries young and starts a family. Beth is loyal to her parents and family. Amy focuses on her own desires. Jo attempts to live both a family life and have a profession. The March sisters attempt to find happiness in their dreams and desires. The sisters do not engage themselves in any type of work. When they do not find happiness, the March sisters attempt to find happiness by working to support their families. Little Women emphasizes the Puritan belief that it is holy to work. This Puritan belief is coherent to the Transcendentalist teachings that Alcott was acquainted with. Alcott suggests that work is an answer to the emphasis of creativity and achieving inner excellence by being productive (Lyndon "Themes" par. 5). In Little Women, the mother of the March sisters tells them that they should not feel that they must find husbands, but instead seek fulfillment on their own. She shows the girls that a home can be run successfully without a man supporting it, as hers is while Mr. March is away. Mrs. March tells the girls: "My dear girls, I am ambitious for you, but not to have you make a dash in the world---marry rich men merely because they are rich, or have splendid houses, which are not homes because love is wanting. Money is a needful and precious thing---and, when well used, a noble thing---but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for. I'd rather see you poor men's wives, if you...
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