Study Guide

Little Women Historical Context

This Study Guide consists of approximately 101 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Little Women.
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The Role of Women in Nineteenth-Century America

In the nineteenth century, women were responsible for creating warm, happy homes for their husbands and children. While some families hired servants, most could not afford to hire help. The duties of running a household were staggering. A woman prepared three rather elaborate meals every day. Housecleaning, laundry, mending, and ironing were all done with painstaking care. Daughters were expected to help with housework to expedite chores and also to learn skills for their own future households.

Women were also accountable for the actions of the family outside the home. If a man took up excessive drinking or gambling, for example, his wife was blamed for not creating a suitable home environment. To create an ideal home, the wife handled all housework in addition to being polite, selfless, virtuous, and loving.

Despite the heavy domestic demands placed on a woman, it...

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This section contains 999 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Little Women Study Guide
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Little Women from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.