Louisa May Alcott’s most famous novel, Little Women, is the story of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March.
Loosely based upon the author’s own experiences with her three sisters, the novel is a classic coming of age story which follows the development of the young women into adulthood. Set against the backdrop of the American civil war, the story begins to unfold during Christmastime. With their father away at war, the family must endure great poverty induced hardship, often times going hungry. Central to the theme of the novel is the issue of overcoming one’s character flaws. For Meg it is vanity; Jo, temper; Beth, shyness; and Amy, selfishness. Through the various activities of the four sisters told throughout the novel lessons are learned of the consequences of these particular flaws.
Little Women was an instant success and popular favorite ever since its original publication in 1868, spawning many sequels which Alcott’s readers clamored for.