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my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater
happiness than this!
These words from Marmee conclude the
novel, at the end of Chapter 47, and also
sum up the novel’s message. Through the four March sisters, Alcott
presents many possible ways a woman can walk through life. Both
the novel and Marmee finally decide that women must make some sacrifices
for their families, in order to have the happiest life possible.
Perhaps Alcott sometimes wished her life had turned out more traditionally
and that she had married and had children. This ending is ambiguous
at best, however, since the novel has called traditional values
into question throughout.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Little Women!