Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. Why does Alcott alternate between stories about each of the four March sisters throughout Little Women?
2. Discuss the term “little women.” What does the term say about the status of American women in the 1860s?
3. Discuss the role of the Civil War in Little Women. Who goes to the war, and who wants to? Why does Alcott deliberately put such a big war so far in the background of her story?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. How does Jo represent the plight of the female artist in the 1860s? Does Amy represent the plight any differently? If so, how?
2. Discuss the similarities and differences between Jo and Amy. How do these differences lead to Laurie’s love for Jo but eventual marriage to Amy?
3. Why does Jo marry Professor Bhaer instead of Laurie?
4. Discuss the character of Beth, the most conforming sister. Is her death at all symbolic?
5. Discuss the role of Mr. March. Why is he hardly present in the novel?
6. What are the elements, if any, of transcendentalist philosophy in Little Women?
7. Discuss the characters of Meg’s twins, Daisy and Demi. How are the twins different from Jo and Laurie?
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