Little Women

Little Women

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Josephine "Jo" March Character Analysis

Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. March, sister of Meg, Beth, and Amy, and (eventually) Professor Bhaer’s wife. She is also the first love of handsome, impetuous Laurie. Jo is the unlikely heroine of Little Women. Tomboyish, fiery, and outspoken, Jo has trouble fitting into the patriarchal gender roles prescribed by Victorian society. She is, however, a deeply sympathetic character. She harbors literary ambitions and manages to realize them as she grows older. Jo is fifteen when the story begins.

Josephine "Jo" March Quotes in Little Women

The Little Women quotes below are all either spoken by Josephine "Jo" March or refer to Josephine "Jo" March . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Role of Women Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Signet Classics edition of Little Women published in 2012.
Part 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

“Our burdens are here, our road is before us…Now, my little pilgrims, suppose you begin again, not in play, but in earnest, and see how far on you can get before Father comes home.”

Related Characters: Margaret "Marmee" March (speaker), Josephine "Jo" March , Margaret "Meg" March, Elizabeth "Beth" March, Amy Curtis March , Robert March
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote sets the moral tone of the book in that it establishes that the primary conflicts of the novel will be internal: the girls battling their own worst instincts to try to live good and righteous lives. Here, Mrs. March references The Pilgrim's Progress, an allegorical novel about Christian life that the girls read and act out as children. Mrs. March suggests that this novel could represent not just a theatrical opportunity, but a road map for their spiritual lives. Indeed, Little Women itself is mapped onto The Pilgrim's Progress, with its plot arc and moral center heavily invested in constant self improvement, overcoming personal obstacles, and Christian values. 

This quote comes directly after the opening struggle of the book, in which the March girls must decide whether to buy themselves Christmas presents, since they have chosen to forego family presents this year. The March girls first fantasize about buying things they really want, but with each other's help, they conclude that the best way to spend the money would be to buy their mother presents. In a sense, Little Women is an accumulation of choices like this one. This quote of Mrs. March's indicates that this struggle is emblematic of the struggles of the entire book.

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Part 1, Chapter 3 Quotes

“I don’t believe fine young ladies enjoy themselves a bit more than we do, in spite of our burned hair, old gowns, one glove apiece and tight slippers that sprain our ankles when we are silly enough to wear them.”

Related Characters: Josephine "Jo" March (speaker)
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, the March girls attend a party held by a wealthy neighbor. While the Marches are well-respected in town, they are not wealthy and the party invitation induces status anxiety in the girls, as they do not have clothes that will be as fashionable as others at the party. This quote encapsulates the lesson of the chapter; the girls spend lots of time fussing about their appearances and worrying what others will think of them, but these concerns only bring unhappiness and misfortune (sprained ankles, damaged clothes). What they ultimately find joy in is a true human connection they establish with Laurie, whose kindness is unrelated to shallow concerns like social status. From the anxieties and misfortunes of the party, the girls learn that their vanity comes at a cost, and from Laurie's new friendship they learn that joy comes from unexpected sources. This quote is Jo conceding that all their fuss was unnecessary--their own humble lives can be just as pleasurable as (or even better than) the lives of richer women.

Part 1, Chapter 8 Quotes

“I burned it up.”
“What! My little book I was so fond of, and worked over, and meant to finish before Father got home? Have you really burned it?” said Jo, turning very pale, while her eyes kindled and her hands clutched Amy nervously.

Related Characters: Josephine "Jo" March (speaker), Amy Curtis March (speaker)
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

Each of the March girls have one particular character flaw with which they struggle throughout the book. For Jo, this flaw is her temper, which can be immoderate and destructive. In this quote, Jo realizes that Amy, in an act of revenge for an earlier unkindness of Jo's, has burned a book that Jo has been writing. This chapter shows the ways in which unkindnesses escalate if we don't check our impulses and tempers. Jo and Amy are caught in a cyclical spat, and each sister's next act of revenge is worse than the last until it leads to Amy being put in mortal danger. This chapter is particularly important because it is such a difficult challenge for Jo to choose love and forgiveness in the face of her strong temper (and love for her own creative work). Her failure to control her temper results in near-catastrophe, and it is a difficult and lasting lesson for Jo to learn. 

Part 1, Chapter 14 Quotes

Jo’s breath gave out here, and wrapping her head in the paper, she bedewed her little story with a few natural tears, for to be independent and earn the praise of those she loved were the dearest wishes of her heart, and this seemed to be the first step toward that happy end.

Related Characters: Josephine "Jo" March (speaker)
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:

Jo is the character in Little Women who most boldly defies gender norms. Jo dresses like a tomboy, brushes aside romantic love, and harbors ambitions of becoming a writer. In this chapter, Jo is taking important steps to making this dream a reality. Alcott is, in some senses, very traditional; her values are explicitly Christian, and she frames her novel around The Pilgrim's Progress. However, in this chapter, Alcott demonstrates that her conception of Christian values is not at odds with feminism. Jo's family supports her ambitions and encourages them instead of trying to sway her towards more traditionally feminine pursuits. This trust and encouragement is rewarded, since Jo's success does not distort her values. Jo is pleased by her success in a way that is not egotistical; her family's opinion still means the most to her, and she feels empowered that her writing can help her gain financial independence, not fame. This quote shows the benefits of women stepping outside of their traditional spheres and pursuing the work that is personally meaningful to them.

Part 1, Chapter 15 Quotes

“My dear, where did you get it? Twenty-five dollars! Jo, I hope you haven’t done anything rash?”
“No, it’s mine honestly. I didn’t beg, borrow, or steal it. I earned it, and I don’t think you’ll blame me, for I only sold what was my own.”
As she spoke, Jo took off her bonnet, and a general outcry arose, for all her abundant hair was cut short.

Related Characters: Josephine "Jo" March (speaker), Margaret "Marmee" March (speaker)
Page Number: 167
Explanation and Analysis:
This passage occurs after the Marches have received a telegram that Mr. March is gravely ill. As everyone anxiously contemplates how they can help, Jo slips out without telling anyone and sells her hair, which is described as being her greatest beauty. This is one of Jo's most complex moments. Her willingness to make this sacrifice for her father shows the abundance of her love and her relative comfort with defying gender norms. For Jo to cut off her hair in 1860 would make her almost completely alone among women; the gesture is brave and defiant, and its severity cannot be understated. However, she also weeps after cutting her hair, which shows that even for Jo, whose commitment to defying gender norms is fundamental to her character, losing her hair leaves her vulnerable and uncertain. Alcott is here subtly showing the extent to which women were and are valued based on their appearances rather than their character. This is a moment of great triumph for Jo, though, since she has made a meaningful sacrifice for her family and is standing up for her values in the face of hardship.
Part 1, Chapter 18 Quotes

“…she can’t love Bethy as I do, and she won’t miss her as I shall. Beth is my conscience, and I can’t give her up. I can’t! I can’t!”

Related Characters: Josephine "Jo" March (speaker), Elizabeth "Beth" March
Page Number: 190
Explanation and Analysis:

Throughout the novel, Jo and Beth share a special closeness that transcends the depth of normal sisterhood. The intensity of this bond seems to be because the two are so opposite, and yet they love and respect one another so much. Beth is meek and sweet, while Jo is bold and often brash. When Jo says that Beth is her conscience, she means that almost literally. To Jo, Beth is the embodiment of goodness and virtue. Beth inspires Jo, checks Jo's excesses, and her love provides redemption when Jo errs. So this quote reveals Jo's panic when she believes that Beth is going to die. The sentiment expressed here is a mixed one, because, while it is clearly rooted in a deep love for Beth, it also seems quite selfish and immature. Jo is only considering what this loss would mean to her. For instance, Jo here diminishes Meg's potential grief, saying that she loves Beth more than Meg does.

Part 1, Chapter 20 Quotes

“I knew there was mischief brewing. I felt it, and now it’s worse than I imagined. I just wish I could marry Meg myself, and keep her safe in the famiy.”

Related Characters: Josephine "Jo" March (speaker), Margaret "Meg" March, John Brooke
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Jo has just learned that Meg is to marry Mr. Brooke, which marks the first engagement among the March girls. Jo alone is not happy for Meg, because she sees this as a threat to the closeness and love of their immediate family. Jo's reasons for this sentiment are complex, but it seems that, in general, Jo finds familial love to be superior to romantic love. Jo does not have a particularly nuanced understanding of romantic love (as shown in her plays), and her personal distaste for it seems to come from her perception that married women are beholden to their husbands, and, thus, romantic love contradicts Jo's values. Part of Jo's development as a person throughout the course of the book is learning that she can maintain her values and independence without rejecting romantic love outright. Jo must also learn that romantic love and familial love are tightly linked; the March family was founded on the romantic love between Marmee and Mr. March, for example. This quote, then, marks Jo's naive but well-meaning attitude about her family and about love.

Part 2, Chapter 27 Quotes

Wealth is certainly a most desirable thing, but poverty has its sunny side, and one of the sweet uses of adversity is the genuine satisfaction which comes from hearty work of head or hand, and to the inspiration of necessity, we owe half the wise, beautiful, and useful blessings of the world. Jo enjoyed a taste of this satisfaction, and ceased to envy richer girls, taking great comfort in the knowledge that she could supply her own wants, and need ask no one for a penny.

Related Characters: Josephine "Jo" March
Page Number: 276
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Jo has just won a handsome sum of money as a prize for one of her stories. She is ambivalent, though, about her success--while she likes feeling validated as a writer, the winning story was more pulp than literary and her father tells her not to be seduced by the money at the expense of aiming for writing better (but less marketable) stories. After using her money to send Beth and Marmee on a vacation, the narrator reflects on the role of money in Jo's life. For Jo, it is the act of writing itself that brings the biggest reward. Beyond that, Jo appreciates that writing for money can bring her some measure of independence, but she realizes that these two blessings are worth more than the advantages of having wealth. This is a radical statement coming from a young woman. Jo is satisfied with her writing career as an end in itself, and she likes the independence that money brings her, but she does not strive for anything more extravagant. Essentially, this passage is Alcott's thesis regarding poverty--one is that is inspirational, if not always realistic.

Part 2, Chapter 29 Quotes

“Women should learn to be agreeable, particularly poor ones, for they have no other way of repaying the kindnesses they receive. If you’d remember that, and practice it, you’d be better liked than I am, because there is more of you.”

Related Characters: Amy Curtis March (speaker), Josephine "Jo" March
Page Number: 304
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage comes after Jo and Amy pay a series of calls to acquaintances, and Jo embarrasses Amy by, among other behaviors, snubbing a man she finds distasteful. Jo argues that by snubbing him she might cause him to examine his behavior, but Amy, who is much more enamored with social graces, disagrees.

The quote here is Amy explaining to Jo that women, particularly poor ones, must be agreeable because it's the only way to repay kindness. This passage shows how deeply patriarchal Victorian society was, as Amy sees herself as having little value to acquaintances besides her ability to charm them. Jo, on the other hand, who refuses to be deferential and who is financially supporting herself, has a much more radical attitude. While Amy does not believe that it is her place as a poor woman to tell men that she disapproves of them, Jo thinks of letting her opinion be known as a way to influence people towards better behavior, and she thinks it inauthentic to be agreeable to someone just because he is a man and has higher social status. While Jo clearly comes out of this seeming more moral, the seriousness with which she takes Amy's argument shows how deeply ingrained these values were.

Part 2, Chapter 34 Quotes

[Jo] began to see that character is a better possession than money, rank, intellect, or beauty, and to feel that if greatness is what a wise man has defined it to be, “truth, reverence, and goodwill,” then her friend Friedrich Bhaer was not only good, but great.

Related Characters: Josephine "Jo" March , Professor Friedrich "Fritz" Bhaer
Page Number: 361
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point in the book, Jo is pursuing her writing career in New York and is starting to become slightly "corrupted" by the types of stories she is writing and the people she's around. She sees Professor Bhaer as unique because of his kindness and goodwill and his imperviousness to bad morals in their circles, and she's drawn to this in him. This quote comes after Professor Bhaer defends the existence of God to intellectuals who are doubtful. Jo is deeply moved by this, because Jo's own faith is something that she has felt has not been shared by others in New York. This is another instance of Alcott showing that money and status do not correlate with being a good person, and that it is often those of humble background who are most noble of character. (Of course, Alcott also sees goodness as inextricably tied to Christian belief.) Jo isn't impressed by literary luminaries or society people, but by Professor Bhaer, who is unassuming but also fiercely good and willing to stand up for his beliefs. 

Part 2, Chapter 35 Quotes

“I can’t love anyone else, and I’ll never forget you, Jo, never! Never!” with a stamp to emphasize his passionate words.
“What shall I do with him?” sighed Jo, finding that emotions were more unmanageable than she expected. “You haven’t heard what I wanted to tell you. Sit down and listen, for indeed I want to do right and make you happy,” she said, hoping to soothe him with a little reason, which proved that she knew nothing about love.

Related Characters: Josephine "Jo" March (speaker), Theodore "Laurie" Laurence (speaker)
Page Number: 371
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Laurie has finally proposed to Jo, and she says no. It's difficult for Jo to break Laurie's heart because she loves him as a friend, but she knows she is not in love with him and wants to do the right thing by not giving him hope. While Laurie and Jo are both good people who genuinely love one another, Alcott suggests that they would not complement each other as husband and wife because of their similarities, particularly their brash temperaments. Jo needs to surround herself with moderate people like Beth who check her worst impulses, and she seems to realize this while she is turning Laurie down. Jo has always spoken scathingly of romantic love, but in this chapter we get the sense that her attitude might be slowly changing. She doesn't protest much when Laurie accuses her of loving Professor Bhaer, which, for Jo, seems suspicious. However, we do know that she can't be in love with him yet because her handling of Laurie's emotions, as this quote states, proves that she doesn't quite know how to empathize with someone in love. This is something Jo needs to learn, but we get the sense that maybe she is about to.

Part 2, Chapter 46 Quotes

“Oh yes!” said Jo, and he was quite satisfied, for she folded both hands over his arm, and looked up at him with an expression that plainly showed how happy she would be to walk through life beside him, even though she had no better shelter than the old umbrella, if he carried it.

Related Characters: Josephine "Jo" March , Professor Friedrich "Fritz" Bhaer
Related Symbols: Umbrellas
Page Number: 482
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Jo has finally allowed herself to be open to romantic love. She realizes that Professor Bhaer is someone she genuinely loves and with whom she is compatible, and she wants someone to go through life with just as her mother has with Mr. March. After hunting down the professor and confessing that she is heartbroken that he is planning to take a job far away, Jo makes Professor Bhaer realize that his feelings for her are requited and he proposes. This is another example of the March girls striving to find husbands who are kind and virtuous and who complement their personalities, rather than trying to marry for status or wealth. Professor Bhaer has only a shabby umbrella with him, but Jo recognizes that the care with which he holds that umbrella over her head is all she needs in a marriage. It's also significant that the March girls have had so much agency in choosing their husbands. Jo and Amy both turn down proposals from wealthy men in order to be with better and poorer men, which is not a freedom that every Victorian family would have permitted their daughters. 

“Ah! Thou gifest me such hope and courage, and I haf nothing to gif back but a full heart and these empty hands,” cried the Professor, quite overcome.
Jo never, never would learn to be proper, for when he said that as they stood upon the steps, she just put both hands into his, whispering tenderly, “Not empty now,” and stooping down, kissed her Friedrich under the umbrella.

Related Characters: Josephine "Jo" March (speaker), Professor Friedrich "Fritz" Bhaer (speaker)
Related Symbols: Umbrellas
Page Number: 488
Explanation and Analysis:

Once Jo lets Professor Bhaer know that she loves him, the professor is overcome with joy. He had worried that he did not have enough to offer her because he didn't have much money, but Jo has never been someone particularly impressed with status. This exchange, in a sense, turns Victorian expectations for women on its head; Bhaer laments that all he has to give are "these empty hands" and Jo responds by putting her hands in his and telling him they are "not empty now." Instead of the man needing to offer material security to his bride-to-be, Jo is confident in her own ability to support herself and her ability to give love equal to his. Putting her hands in his symbolizes her assertion that she can equally contribute to the relationship and, while she appreciates the love and protection that Bhaer provides (as symbolized by the umbrella), she is choosing this marriage because it enriches her life, not because she needs it. 

Part 2, Chapter 47 Quotes

Touched to the heart, Mrs. March could only stretch out her arms, as if to gather children and grandchildren to herself, and say, with face and voice full of motherly love, gratitude, and humility…
“Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!”

Related Characters: Margaret "Marmee" March (speaker), Josephine "Jo" March , Margaret "Meg" March, Amy Curtis March
Page Number: 499
Explanation and Analysis:

In this closing passage to the novel, the March women have successfully devoted themselves to Christian values and hard work, and have thus established the full and happy lives that Mrs. March always imagined for them. Throughout the book, each of the women has struggled to overcome their personal flaws, maintain moral values, and support one another as they grew up. Now, this has all come to fruition with each of the girls having made happy and thriving families of their own. It's significant that each of the women has learned, with much difficulty, to never prioritize money in their lives. While none of them but Amy has much money, their joy is something that can't be bought, and Mrs. March couldn't "wish [them] a greater happiness than this." Alcott is driving home the point here that love is the greatest gift of all, and we should never let superficial concerns cloud our ability to give and receive genuine love, whether that is familial or romantic. This passage also emphasizes the importance of family. Despite everything that has happened to the Marches, their family is still the central force in their lives and it brings them great joy. 

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Josephine "Jo" March Character Timeline in Little Women

The timeline below shows where the character Josephine "Jo" March appears in Little Women. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1: Playing Pilgrims
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...a few days before Christmas in the year 1860. The four March girls – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy - are sitting in their sparsely furnished living room. The March family... (full context)
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...working. Sixteen-year-old Meg has been working hard as a governess for the King family, fifteen-year-old Jo serves as sour Aunt March’s companion, thirteen-year-old Beth does a good deal of housework, and... (full context)
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While they talk, Amy scolds Jo for using slang, citing that it’s boyish behavior. Jo scoffs at Amy, putting her hands... (full context)
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...is beautiful in the Victorian fashion: plump, pale, and blessed with lovely hair and hands. Jo is tall, thin, and tan, with her only beauty being her thick mane of brown... (full context)
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...about her” - comes home as the March girls are practicing their Christmas play, which Jo has written herself. Mrs. March reveals that she’s received a letter from Mr. March, and... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2: A Merry Christmas
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...neighborhood girls – a love story featuring a witch, a dashing male lead (played by Jo), and a longhaired maiden. After the play, the March sisters and their audience come down... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3: The Laurence Boy
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Meg and Jo are invited to a New Year’s Eve party thrown by the Gardiners, a well-to-do local... (full context)
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Meg warns Jo to refrain from dancing and keep her back to the wall during the party, so... (full context)
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Jo is somewhat nervous to run into Laurie, given that she’s only ever talked to him... (full context)
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Meg comes in search of Jo and reveals that she’s sprained her ankle thanks to her very pretty (but slightly too... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4: Burdens
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...how hard it does seem to take up our packs and go on,” Meg sighs. Jo and Meg trudge off to work. It’s revealed that the March family was once comfortably... (full context)
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Jo and Meg return home from work and rehash the day’s events. Jo tells of how... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5: Being Neighborly
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It’s a snowy day, and Jo decides to go out and dig paths in the snow. The Marches’ house – a... (full context)
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Jo arrives soon after with an armful of offerings for Laurie: a plate of blanc mange... (full context)
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...momentarily to see his doctor, and while he’s gone Mr. Laurence slips in and surprises Jo. Jo pluckily tells him that she feels Laurie needs to spend more time around kids... (full context)
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Jo reveals that Laurie said he’d been grateful for the “medicine” Mrs. March had sent over,... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6: Beth Finds the Palace Beautiful
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Meg and Amy soon join Jo in feeling welcome at Mr. Laurence’s house. The girls are initially worried that they can... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 8: Jo Meets Apollyon
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Amy spies Jo and Meg getting ready to leave the house one Saturday afternoon, and demands to know... (full context)
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The play is delightful, but Jo can’t banish her guilt at losing her temper with Amy. Jo and Meg return home... (full context)
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Amy at first begs for Jo’s forgiveness, but soon grows to resent Jo’s anger. The following day, Amy spies Jo and... (full context)
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Jo skates away from Amy. Amy skates out over the middle of the river and falls... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 11: Experiments
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...Kings and Aunt March are away on holiday for the next three months. To celebrate Jo and Meg’s newfound freedom, the March girls all decide to try doing absolutely no work... (full context)
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...the girls find that all idleness and no work leaves them feeling irritable and fidgety. Jo tires of reading books, Meg ruins some of her clothes in an attempt to fix... (full context)
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...home the lesson by giving Hannah and herself a day off from housework on Saturday. Jo is alarmed to come down to breakfast on Saturday morning to discover that there’s no... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 12: Camp Laurence
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...translation of a German song done by his tutor, Mr. Brooke. In a letter to Jo, Laurie invites the March girls to go for a gypsy camp-style lunch in Longmeadow with... (full context)
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A croquet game commences. Fred cheats during the match, testing Jo’s patience and temper. Jo takes the high ground, and manages to beat Fred anyway in... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 13: Castles in the Air
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...them at a distance, and spies them sitting in a forest glade. Meg is sewing, Jo is knitting, Beth is sorting pinecones, and Amy is sketching ferns. Laurie asks if he... (full context)
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Jo explains to Laurie that the society is part of the girls’ game of acting out... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 14: Secrets
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Jo sneaks out of the house in the middle of the day, having slipped a manuscript... (full context)
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Laurie tells Jo that he has a secret, and that he’ll tell her his secret if she tells... (full context)
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A fortnight passes, and the Marches think Jo is acting odd. She’s rude to Mr. Brooke, and she and Laurie seem to be... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 15: A Telegram
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...about how dull and full of drudgery her life is. Amy posits that she and Jo will someday make a fortune for the Marches through their art, but Meg remains skeptical.... (full context)
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The afternoon quickly passes as preparations are made for Mrs. March’s departure. Jo is gone all afternoon, and the Marches begin to worry about her. She returns, finally,... (full context)
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Addressing her stunned family, Jo tells the story of how she sold her hair. Mrs. March isn’t upset, but does... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 16: Letters
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...to console themselves with their work. Hannah gives the girls coffee as a treat, and Jo and Meg take their breakfast turnovers and head out to see to Aunt March and... (full context)
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...their letters, the March girls tell Mrs. March about how they haven’t forgotten her lessons. (Jo, for instance, tells Marmee that she recently battled with her temper in a quarrel with... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 17: Little Faithful
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...are exceedingly virtuous and industrious. After that, however, they become more lax in their efforts. Jo catches a cold and thereby gets a holiday from Aunt March, Amy drops her housework... (full context)
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...Hummels, as their baby is sick. Meg feigns fatigue and continues sewing. Beth then asks Jo if she’ll go, but Jo uses her cold as an excuse not to go (even... (full context)
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...no one notices her hide away in her mother’s room after she comes home. When Jo finds her, it’s apparent that Beth is ill. Beth informs Jo that the Hummels’ baby... (full context)
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...March about Beth’s sickness. They decide to wait and ask Mr. Laurence for his opinion. Jo and Laurie take a reluctant Amy to Aunt March’s house. (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 18: Dark Days
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Beth has become quite ill, and is under the constant care of Jo, Hannah, and the doctor. Meanwhile, Mrs. March has written to tell the girls that their... (full context)
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...doctor looks in on Beth and tells Hannah that Mrs. March must be sent for. Jo runs out the door to send a telegram. She bumps into Laurie when she returns,... (full context)
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...that he’s already contacted Mrs. March, and that she’s scheduled to arrive that very night. Jo throws herself into Laurie’s arms in relief and joy. Laurie, unsure of what to do,... (full context)
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The whole household stays up to keep watch over Beth that night. When midnight strikes, Jo sees Meg kneeling with her face hidden. Jo suddenly fears that Beth has died and... (full context)
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Dawn is breaking. Meg brings Jo the rose that they’d found in the garden. “I thought this would hardly be ready... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 19: Amy’s Will
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...Amy is holed up at Aunt March’s and having a rough time. Amy has taken Jo’s place in caring for Aunt March, and these chores, coupled with her schoolwork, leave her... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 20: Confidential
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That evening, Jo goes to Mrs. March and tells her what Laurie told her: that Mr. Brooke took... (full context)
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Jo is upset that her mother has taken Mr. Brooke’s side, and fears that Meg will... (full context)
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Jo asks her mother if she wouldn’t rather see Meg married to a rich man. Mrs.... (full context)
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...letter for Mrs. March to proofread. Mrs. March tells Meg to add a note to “John,” sending him Mrs. March’s love. Meg is surprised that her mother refers to Mr. Brooke... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 21: Laurie Makes Mischief, and Jo Makes Peace
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The next day, Jo brings a sealed letter for Meg from the P.O. Meg cries out in embarrassment when... (full context)
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Jo runs to fetch Laurie. While she’s gone, Mrs. March asks Meg if she loves Mr.... (full context)
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After Laurie has gone home, Jo feels ashamed that she wasn’t more forgiving. She goes to his house under the pretense... (full context)
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Jo tries to reason with Laurie, but he refuses to leave his room until his grandfather... (full context)
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Jo enters the library, where Mr. Laurence is fuming. She innocently tells him she’s there to... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 22: Pleasant Meadows
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...news of Mr. March’s return after the New Year fills the March girls with hope. Jo and Laurie surprise Beth with a snow maiden decorated with modest Christmas gifts, accompanied by... (full context)
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...gotten everything they could want on Christmas (Mr. Laurence gives Meg her first silk dress; Jo receives a long-desired book) until, that evening, Laurie brings Mr. March into the parlor. Mrs.... (full context)
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...that Meg’s hands, once spotless, are calloused from work. He’s also pleased to see that Jo is less tomboyish, that Amy is less selfish, and that Beth’s health is much improved.... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 23: Aunt March Settles the Question
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...feel like something is missing. Meg (who seems love-struck) is an object of scrutiny, and Jo shakes her fist at the umbrella Mr. Brooke happened to leave at their house. (full context)
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Jo mentions to Meg that she doesn’t seem like her old self, and asks her how... (full context)
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Mr. Brooke arrives to collect his umbrella just as Meg finishes her speech. Jo, flustered, tells Mr. Brook that she’ll fetch it and jumbles her words, mixing up her... (full context)
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...conversation. Meg forgets her coquetry and tells Mr. Brooke that he should stay with her. Jo enters and is dismayed to find Meg sitting in Mr. Brooke’s lap. Jo rushes upstairs... (full context)
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The Marches (with the exception of Jo), Mr. Laurence, and Laurie are overjoyed by the news that Mr. Brooke and Meg are... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 24: Gossip
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...life with the wealthy one Sallie now leads. Amy has become Aunt March’s confidante, leaving Jo free to write for the newspaper and to tend to Beth (who is still delicate).... (full context)
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...- arrives at the Dovecote with another silly present: a watchman’s rattle for Meg’s protection. Jo takes Laurie aside and warns him not to play any pranks at the wedding. Laurie... (full context)
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Laurie mentions that a friend from his at college is quite stricken with Amy, and Jo replies that she hopes there won’t be any more weddings in the family for years... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 26: Artistic Attempts
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...cold chicken and tongue, French chocolate, and ice cream. With the help of Meg and Jo (who wonders why Amy should go through such trouble for “a parcel of girls who... (full context)
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...and drives off to collect her guests. She returns home with just one girl – Jo spies them as they approach the house and bids Hannah to clear the table of... (full context)
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...of the Marches sit down to their second night of salad and ices for supper. Jo makes a joke about it, and Amy bursts out laughing. She bids that they take... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 27: Literary Lessons
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Meanwhile, Jo continues her literary aspirations. “Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room,... (full context)
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...Crocker to a lecture on the pyramids. A man there is reading a newspaper, and Jo’s eye is drawn to a scandalous illustration accompanying one of the stories. The man offers... (full context)
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Jo resolves to try her hand at a sensational story – in particular, she wishes to... (full context)
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Six weeks later, Jo learns that she’s won the prize. Her family is “electrified,” but Mr. March feels that... (full context)
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Jo continues to sell her stories, and she feels “genuine satisfaction” with her ability to support... (full context)
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Spurred by her successes, Jo sends out her novel manuscript. It’s accepted, but under the condition that Jo trims it... (full context)
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The book is published and Jo receives $300. She is disappointed and confused, however, when her book receives wildly mixed reviews... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 29: Calls
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Amy insists that Jo should go with her on a series of house calls one day. Jo is reluctant,... (full context)
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Before they arrive at the Chesters’ house, Amy instructs Jo to be “calm, cool, quiet,” behaviors that are “safe and ladylike.” Jo agrees to do... (full context)
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At the Chesters’, Jo horrifies Amy by sitting in icy silence as their hosts try to make conversation with... (full context)
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Before they reach the Lambs’ house, Amy instructs Jo to be more sociable. “Gossip as other girls do,” she says. Jo agrees to do... (full context)
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Amy gives up on Jo at the next house, bidding her to act however she likes. Jo is pleased, and... (full context)
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After they depart, Amy asks Jo why she paid no attention to Mr. Tudor, and yet was so kind to one... (full context)
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...the house, the girls have a conversation about how poor women should behave toward men. Jo argues that she should be allowed to snub men like Mr. Tudor, given that her... (full context)
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...to be held by the Chesters. Amy reveals that she’ll volunteer there, as a favor. Jo – riled up after her discussion with Amy, not to mention a day’s worth of... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 30: Consequences
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...sends word that she wishes to take Amy with her on a trip to Europe. Jo is devastated – she was sure that Aunt Carrol would pick her. Mrs. March explains... (full context)
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Amy packs her things and leaves for Europe soon after. Before she leaves, Amy reminds Jo that this isn’t “a pleasure trip” for her, given that she hopes to seriously study... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 32: Tender Troubles
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Something in Beth’s behavior worries Mrs. March. After observing Beth in secret, Jo concludes that she has fallen in love with Laurie. This leads Jo to daydream about... (full context)
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That night, Jo watches Laurie talk to Beth in the Marches’ parlor. Jo retreats to the sofa, so... (full context)
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Laurie and Jo banter about flirtation. Jo scolds Laurie for flirting with girls who don’t care “two pins”... (full context)
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Later that night, as she lies awake in bed, Jo overhears Beth weeping into her pillow. She assumes that Beth is crying about Laurie. (full context)
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Several days later, prompted by both Beth and Laurie’s behavior, Jo tells Mrs. March that she thinks it would be best if she left town for... (full context)
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On the day of her departure, Jo asks Beth to take care of Laurie for her while she’s away. As she says... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 33: Jo’s Journal
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Jo writes to Mrs. March and Beth about her adventures in New York. Mrs. Kirke is... (full context)
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Jo befriends Professor Bhaer – a jolly, bearded German man who has the custody of his... (full context)
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At Christmastime, Jo is pleased to discover that Professor Bhaer, in spite of being quite poor, has given... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 34: Friend
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In spite of keeping quite busy in her work as a governess, Jo still makes time to write stories for money. “She saw that money conferred power, money... (full context)
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Jo “dresses herself in her best” and goes to the offices of the Weekly Volcano with... (full context)
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In spite of her less than desirable welcome at the Weekly Volcano’s offices, Jo is pleased to learn, the following week, that the editor will pay her “twenty-five to... (full context)
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Jo continues to write stories, and soon she has made a tidy sum from her writing.... (full context)
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Meanwhile, Jo studies Professor Bhaer, trying to discern what it is that makes him so attractive to... (full context)
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A well-connected lady at the boarding house takes Jo to a symposium featuring a number of literary and philosophical luminaries. Jo is shocked to... (full context)
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...Bhaer is furious, and staunchly defends the existence of God. As she listens to him, Jo is relieved to find that “God was not a blind force, and immortality not a... (full context)
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Professor Bhaer has taken it upon himself to teach Jo German. One evening, he arrives to their lesson wearing a paper hat (a gift from... (full context)
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Jo returns to her room that night and, upon further reflection, realizes that she’s writing nothing... (full context)
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Jo attempts to write in other genres, but is unable to come up with anything good.... (full context)
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Winter and spring pass, and Jo readies herself to leave for home in June. Before she leaves, she invites Professor Bhaer... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 35: Heartache
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Laurie has worked hard during Jo’s absence, and he has graduated with honors. After his graduation ceremony, Laurie makes Jo promise... (full context)
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Jo meets with Laurie the following day. While they walk through the woods and fields near... (full context)
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Laurie bitterly speculates that Jo is in love with Professor Bhaer. Jo denies it, and then tells Laurie that he... (full context)
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Jo goes to Mr. Laurence and tells him about Laurie. Later that day, Mr. Laurence confronts... (full context)
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As Laurie says his goodbyes, he embraces Jo and begs her to reconsider. “Teddy, I wish I could!” Jo says. Laurie leaves, and... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 36: Beth’s Secret
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Jo realizes that Beth’s health has waned in her absence. Jo reveals to her family that... (full context)
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Jo and Beth go to the seaside. During their trip, Jo somehow senses that Beth is... (full context)
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Jo implores Beth to not give up on life just yet. Soon after, a small brown... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 39: Lazy Laurence
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...have no thorns. Laurie laughs as she says this – it makes him think of Jo. (full context)
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...says. She mocks the softness and whiteness of his hands, and wishes out loud that Jo were there to help her. Laurie agrees, and something in the tone of his voice... (full context)
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...bad for Laurie, but continues to scold him for being lazy. She tells him that Jo wouldn’t have wanted to see him this way. Amy then shows Laurie two sketches –... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 40: The Valley of the Shadow
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...house. The family gathers with her here (Daisy and Demi often visit, and Mrs. March, Jo, and Mr. March often do their work in the room), and for the first few... (full context)
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...she can no longer sew. One sleepless night, Beth comes across a poem written by Jo (“My Beth”) amongst the papers on her desk. She reads it and finds immense comfort... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 41: Learning to Forget
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Laurie works to forget Jo. At first, he tries to bury his sadness in music, attempting to compose a requiem... (full context)
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...subsiding far more quickly than he thought it would. He realizes that his love for Jo is subsiding into a “brotherly affection.” Glancing at a portrait of Mozart, Laurie thinks, “Well,... (full context)
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Laurie shakes himself from his growing contentment and writes one last letter to Jo, begging her one last time to marry him. Jo writes back and tells him that... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 42: All Alone
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Jo realizes she has to come to grips with life without Beth. She finds it difficult... (full context)
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One day, while sewing with Meg, Jo reflects on how good marriage has been for her sister. Meg suggests to Jo that... (full context)
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Mrs. March suggests to Jo that she start writing again. Jo takes her advice, and pens a short story that,... (full context)
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Amy writes to tell her family about her betrothal to Laurie. Jo is grave when she reads the news, but soon reveals that she’s happy. Jo retreats... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 43: Surprises
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The night before her birthday, Jo sits on the old sofa and reflects on her life. She’s turning twenty-five, and she... (full context)
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Jo awakens soon after to find Laurie standing before her. Laurie reveals that he and Amy... (full context)
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...by Mr. Laurence, enters the parlor. Amy’s European airs are noted by the Marches, and Jo notes that she and Laurie look wonderful together. The party goes upstairs, leaving Jo alone.... (full context)
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Jo invites him in and introduces him to her family. They welcome him as one of... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 44: My Lord and Lady
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...and Amy have a private conversation. Laurie exclaims that Professor Bhaer is going to marry Jo, and this precipitates a playful debate about how young women shouldn’t marry for money. Amy... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 46: Under the Umbrella
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Jo and Professor Bhaer begin to spend more and more time together, and by the second... (full context)
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Jo finds herself walking in the men’s district of town – the counting houses, banks, and... (full context)
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...the professor reveals that he’s been offered a position at a college in the West. Jo is shattered, but keeps her feelings to herself. She numbly accompanies him on a number... (full context)
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The professor reveals that he got the courage to court Jo from a poem of hers (“In the Garret” – detailing each of the March girls’... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 47: Harvest Time
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...West to work at the college and earn money for his nephews. Meanwhile, he and Jo keep up a brisk correspondence. Aunt March dies, and Jo is floored to learn that... (full context)
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The months fly by, and soon Jo finds herself married and living at Plumfield. They open the school, and after some trial... (full context)
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Five years after her marriage, at apple-picking time, Jo and Professor Bhaer host a harvest party at Plumfield. The Marches, the Laurences, and the... (full context)
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...daughters. They all reflect on their respective gains and losses, and Mrs. March proclaims that Jo’s “harvest will be a good one.” Jo swears that there can be no greater harvest... (full context)