Notes on Little Women Themes

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Little Women Topic Tracking: Gender

Chapter 1

Gender 1: Amy tells Jo to stop using slang words. Jo is lying on the rug. She sits up and puts her hands in her pockets, then starts to whistle. Immediately she is told to stop because it is boyish. She defiantly says that that's why she does it.

Gender 2: Jo says that it is bad to be a girl when she likes boys' games, jobs and mannerisms. She says that she is disappointed because she was born a girl. She wants to go fight in the war instead of staying home knitting and sewing.

Gender 3: Jo announces that she is the man of the family while their father is away, as they have no brothers.

Chapter 12

Gender 4: The girls are going to Camp Laurence. As a joke, Jo puts on an old-fashioned, big-rimmed hat. Meg protests and asks Jo if she is really going to wear that silly hat. She tells Jo that she will not behave like a boy.

Chapter 14

Gender 5: Jo tells Laurie that she wishes she was a horse that could run for miles without losing her breath. She races Laurie down the side of a hill and enjoys it completely, her eyes excited and her cheeks red. She says that this make her look boyish.

Gender 6: Jo has published her first story. The editor tells her that he will pay for the next one. Jo tells Laurie that she will keep writing and publishing, and she will be able to support herself and help her sisters.

Chapter 15

Gender 7: When the news arrives that Mr. March is sick in a Washington hospital, Mrs. March decides to go to him immediately. To help financially, Jo sells her hair. She comes home later that day with cropped hair. She tells her family that she will soon have short curls, like a boy, and that they will look good and be easy to take care of.

Chapter 22

Gender 8: Mr. March says that even though Jo's hair is short, she is not the "son" he left before but a young lady who dresses neatly and has stopped whistling, using slang, and lying on the rug.

Chapter 47

Gender 9: Jo discusses the boys' school she has made out of Aunt March's house. She says she has always loved boys and never had enough. She plans to have them fill the house someday, and she will play with them as much as she likes.

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