Little Women Characters

Little Women Characters
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Louisa May Alcott has presented one of the most captivating pieces of literature ever written. The book “Little Women,” is a relevant classic read that uses storytelling techniques at its best. ‘Little women’ is a book about four March sisters; Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy (Alcott, Snyder, and Hargreaves, 2016). These four sisters are the main characters of the book, as shown in the story. Meg is the firstborn, and the book describes her as beautiful as a rose, and she dreams of meeting her prince charming and get married into a wealthy family. She detests the life they live in and wishes for the days when she would be rich to avoid the hard house chores associated with poverty.

 Jo is the second born described as a free-spirited girl who disregards societal norms and loves her family. Amy is the third one and believes that elegance should be part of a woman. She is an artist, and the book describes her as a little selfish. The youngest one is the delicate Beth, a kind-hearted girl. She has little expectation of life and only wishes the best for her family (Alcott, Snyder, and Hargreaves, 2016). This story is a description of the girls’ lives as they grow and work to make their lives better and achieve their dreams. For instance, Meg gets married to a professor, and Jo experiences an intense connection with a boy next door, Theodore Laurence (Laurie).

 According to Leigh Van Horn, writers create characters that readers connect with to create meaning (Van Horn, 1997). Therefore, Alcott’s character development technique has exhibited different growth curves of the four main characters. However, there is a clear distinction in how she presents Jo’s character development compared to the other sisters. The emphasis on Jo’s experiences as she grows up can be seen as an attempt by the author to make that character the protagonist. As Kim (2019) explained, a protagonist often champions a desirable purpose in society by being the center of decisions and actions. Therefore, based on Jo’s character, it is evident that the author intended to center the book’s storyline on her beliefs and values.

           Jo is a cheerful and raw character who is comfortable with herself. She is unbothered by the societal pressure that is influencing her other sisters. The book describes her as a strong and loving individual who cared less about the set standards that women were supposed to adhere to when the book was written. She is seen as a defiant figure to the established hierarchy in society and lives according to her terms. Her life story makes the greater portion of the book as it describes her authenticity and hard work. The author’s focus on Jo’s journey is also seen in the emphasis on her relationship with Laurie. For instance, the development and maturity Jo undergoes are seen in her ability to finally become calm and patient, unlike her hot temperament she previously had.

           When Jo decides to settle and marry Bhaer, it becomes a critical point in the book that further solidifies her role as the book’s primary protagonist. The change in her is well documented in the story while her sisters’ stories are explained in relation to hers. For instance, readers learn of her sister’s, Beth, death through her story. More events are revealed in the book from Jo’s perspective. For instance, when Amy married Laurie, everything is explained in Jo’s life story. Therefore, these are evidence enough the author intended to make Jo the protagonist of the book.


Alcott, L. M., Snyder, B., & Hargreaves, M. (2016). Little women. Bendon Incorporation.

Kim et al. (2019). The presence of the protagonist: explaining narrative perspective effects through social presence, Media Psychology, DOI: 10.1080/15213269.2019.1665548

Van Horn, L. (1997). The Characters within Us: Readers Connect with Characters to Create Meaning and Understanding. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 40(5), 342-347.