Marmee makes this statement in Chapter 8 when she tells Jo that she too struggles with a quick temper. Throughout the novel, however, Marmee seems serene and composed, which suggests that the appearance of a docile woman may hide turmoil underneath. Marmee’s admission makes Jo feel better, because she realizes that she is not the only one with a temper. At the same time, though, Marmee’s words suggest that there is no hope for Jo—Marmee is still angry after forty years, and perhaps Jo will be too. Many feminist critics have noted this sentence as an expression of anger about nineteenth-century society’s demand that women be domestic.