Notes on Little Women Themes

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Little Women Topic Tracking: Young Ladies

Chapter 1

Young Ladies 1: Meg tells Jo that she is old enough to begin behaving like a lady and not a boy. Jo says that she is not a young lady and that she doesn't want to be one if that means putting her hair up and wearing long gowns.

Chapter 9

Young Ladies 2: Mrs. March says that she doesn't have plans for her daughters to marry well. Her only wish is that her daughters be beautiful, smart, good, respected and have loving marriages. She tells them that to marry the right man is the best thing that could happen to a woman.

Chapter 14

Young Ladies 3: Meg asks Jo when she will stop being so wild and boisterous. Jo says that she never will until she is too old to walk, and that it is hard enough that Meg is changing into a young lady all of a sudden.

Chapter 24

Young Ladies 4: While Meg waits to marry John Brooke, she learns more about keeping house and being a wife, and she grows prettier than ever.

Chapter 26

Young Ladies 5: Amy insists to Jo that the girls in her drawing class care for her, even though Amy's background is not as fashionable. She points out that Jo doesn't take an interest in making people like her, being in good society and having good taste.

Chapter 29

Young Ladies 6: Amy tells Jo that she wants people to like her, and in order for that to happen Jo must dress neatly and nicely. Amy coaches Jo on the most flattering and artistic way of dressing. This annoys Jo, who is very uncomfortable being dressed up.

Young Ladies 7: Amy tells Jo how to hold her skirt gracefully in a way that will suit her and make her look like a lady. She tells her to hold her skirt when she walks and drop it once she is in the house, because the sweeping and trailing look is the best for her. She insist that Jo learns how do to this well.

Young Ladies 8: Amy and Jo have been making visits to family friends in town. Amy is upset because after all her coaching, Jo took Amy's directions on how to behave so literally that Amy was embarrassed at her sister's behavior. Amy requested that Jo be dignified and polite and Jo was so stiff and silent that the family she and Amy visited pronounced Jo a bore. On their way to another house visit, Amy requests that Jo be talkative and gossip a little about clothes and whatever topic is introduced. She stresses that Jo make a good impression because this family is an important one to know.

Young Ladies 9: Amy says to Jo that if the sisters were pretty or rich they would have the ability to choose to whom they were kind and could use their influence in that direction. But because they are not, they can't openly disapprove of some gentlemen and approve of others. It would make people think the family was odd.

Chapter 30

Young Ladies 10: Amy behaves well over the petty troubles of the art table at the fair. She tells her family that she only treated others as she would have like to have been treated herself. She says that while they may laugh at her because she tries to be a lady, a real lady is made by manners. She says while hoping to be a young lady, she only hopes to be above the stupid little mean things that other girls ruined by.

Chapter 31

Young Ladies 11: Amy, while in London and thinking over the possibility of marrying Fred Vaughn, decides that one of the March sisters should marry well, and it might as well be her if she gets the chance. She is excited to see all the rich things that Fred and his family have, and she is excited to realize that they could be hers if he proposes.

Chapter 32

Young Ladies 12: Jo realizes that she and her sisters are growing up fast--that Meg is married and a mother, Amy is in Paris doing very well, and Beth has fallen in love. She realizes that she is the only one who has kept out of all of that nonsense. She says that she's not interested in getting into it, either.

Chapter 43

Young Ladies 13: When Amy arrives home from Europe, her family is surprised and delighted to see how she has changed. Her voice is polite and sweet, and the way she carries herself is that of a woman. Her kind manner is the best part of her, because it marked her as the lady she had hoped to become.

Chapter 44

Young Ladies 14: As Amy and Laurie make plans for a life together, Amy resolves that she will make a home with a good wife in it before she becomes a society lady with many friends.

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