The main character in Little Women is Jo March. She is the next to oldest daughter in the household. She is used by the author as a vehicle for gender roles and the capabilty of women to have more responsibility and ingenuity than supposed during the era of the 1860s. She lives with three other sisters in a New England town. Her father is away fighting in the Civil War, leaving the girls and their mother to care for their home. They are not well off, but they are not as destitute as many around them.
Jo and Beth have a closer relationship, possibly because they are both very creative. Jo writes and Beth is artistic. Jo has a best friend named Laurie, who is Mr. Laurence's grandson. Later, Laurie confesses to be in love with Jo, but she does not return his feelings. She ends up marrying a professor from the college near where she ends up teaching.