Little Women follows the lives of four sisters - Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March - detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood. The sisters live with their mother while their father fights in the American Civil War. The family, headed by their beloved mother Marmee, must struggle to make ends meet, with the help of their kind and wealthy neighbor, Mr. Laurence, and his high spirited grandson Laurie.
Although Little Women was a novel for girls, it differed notably from the current writings for children, especially girls. The novel addressed three major themes: domesticity, work, and true love, all of them interdependent and each necessary to the achievement of its heroine's individual identity. Little Women has been read as a romance, a quest, a family drama that validates virtue over wealth, and as a means of escaping that life by women who knew its gender constraints only too well.