Little Women

Little Women

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Father of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, and husband of Mrs. March. Mr. March is a minister. In Part I, Mr. March has volunteered to serve in the Civil War as a chaplain, leaving his wife and daughters to fend for themselves, and plunging them into a degree of poverty. After he returns he partners with Mrs. March to provide support and a moral example to his daughters.

Robert March Quotes in Little Women

The Little Women quotes below are all either spoken by Robert March or refer to Robert 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 22 Quotes

“I remember a time when this hand was white and smooth, and your first care was to keep it so. It was very pretty then, but to me it is much prettier now, for in these seeming blemishes I read a little history. A burnt offering has been made to vanity, this hardened palm has earned something better than blisters, and I’m sure the sewing done by these pricked fingers will last a long time, so much good will went into the stitches.”

Related Characters: Robert March (speaker), Margaret "Meg" March
Page Number: 227
Explanation and Analysis:

As many incidents in this book have illuminated, Meg's greatest vice is her vanity, and she has struggled against it frequently in her attempts to live a virtuous life. Meg is particularly vain about her pretty white hands, but the hardships she has faced since Mr. March went off to war have left her hands scarred. In this passage, Mr. March has just returned home and he praises Meg's hands, for their blemishes reveal the sacrifices she has made for her family and her progress in overcoming vanity in favor of more important concerns. This passage is another nod to the importance of work in the novel. Alcott sees work as the path to a good life, and idleness as courting vice. This quote is also important in that Mr. March, instead of encouraging Meg to protect her appearance (which some would have said was a woman's greatest asset), encourages Meg to work hard and help others, implicitly prioritizing her character over her appearance. This is another potentially feminist moment in the book. 

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Robert March Character Timeline in Little Women

The timeline below shows where the character Robert March appears in Little Women. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1: Playing Pilgrims
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...play, which Jo has written herself. Mrs. March reveals that she’s received a letter from Mr. March, and she reads it to the girls after supper. In the letter, Mr. March... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4: Burdens
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...off to work. It’s revealed that the March family was once comfortably well off until Mr. March “lost his property in trying to help an unfortunate friend.” After this happened, Jo... (full context)
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...Beth quietly chimes in with a pleasant story – earlier that day, she witnessed old Mr. Laurence buying a huge fish for a poor woman who was begging at the fish... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 15: A Telegram
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...news of a telegram. Mrs. March snatches the paper from Hannah’s hand. She learns that Mr. March is in a hospital in Washington, D.C. and is very ill. (full context)
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Mr. Laurence returns to the Marches’ house with Beth, who had gone to him for a... (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 one of Meg’s gloves, and that he likes Meg but worries that the... (full context)
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Jo is upset that her mother has taken Mr. Brooke’s side, and fears that Meg will be married off and taken away from the... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 21: Laurie Makes Mischief, and Jo Makes Peace
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...mopes in corners.” Meanwhile, after much teasing, Laurie soon learns Jo’s secret about Meg and Mr. Brooke. He feels slighted that he wasn’t taken into his tutor’s confidence, and resolves to... (full context)
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...hands Jo a different note from her pocket – it’s a fake love letter from Mr. Brooke to Meg, in which he declares his undying love. Jo knows instantly that this... (full context)
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Jo runs to fetch Laurie. While she’s gone, Mrs. March asks Meg if she loves Mr. Brooke. Meg responds that she wants nothing to do with love at the moment, given... (full context)
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...his room. Jo goes to him and finds that he’s furious with his grandfather. Earlier, Mr. Laurence had asked Laurie to tell him why he’d been in trouble with the Marches,... (full context)
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...before remembering that she must be rational. She resolves to go hash things out with Mr. Laurence. (full context)
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Jo enters the library, where Mr. Laurence is fuming. She innocently tells him she’s there to return a book. While she... (full context)
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After all is said and done, Meg begins to think about Mr. Brooke more than ever. Jo worries that “Laurie’s prank had hastened the evil day for... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 22: Pleasant Meadows
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...reigns at the March household as Beth’s health improves. Christmas Day arrives, and news of Mr. March’s return after the New Year fills the March girls with hope. Jo and Laurie... (full context)
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The March girls think they’ve gotten everything they could want on Christmas (Mr. Laurence gives Meg her first silk dress; Jo receives a long-desired book) until, that evening,... (full context)
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After supper, Mr. March observes how much his daughters have grown since he last saw them. He’s pleased... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 23: Aunt March Settles the Question
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The family seems complete now that Mr. March is home – still, they feel like something is missing. Meg (who seems love-struck)... (full context)
The Role of Women Theme Icon
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...her old self, and asks her how she’d respond to a proposal of marriage from Mr. Brooke. Meg coolly replies that she would calmly inform Mr. Brooke that she is too... (full context)
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Mr. Brooke arrives to collect his umbrella just as Meg finishes her speech. Jo, flustered, tells... (full context)
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Meg and Mr. Brooke are left alone. Mr. Brooke confesses his love to Meg, and asks her if... (full context)
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Aunt March suddenly enters the room, and Mr. Brooke slips away. Aunt March realizes that Mr. Brooke is Meg’s suitor, and decides to... (full context)
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Aunt March storms out. Mr. Brooke rushes in and confesses that he overheard the whole conversation. Meg forgets her coquetry... (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 in... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 24: Gossip
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Three years have passed. The war has ended, and Mr. March has returned to his work as a local minister. Although to outsiders the house... (full context)
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We’re informed that Mr. Brooke served in the Civil War for one year, and was discharged after being wounded.... (full context)
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We’re then told about the “Dovecote” – the house that “Mr. Brooke had prepared for Meg’s first home.” It is a small and simple house, but... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 25: The First Wedding
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...natural and homelike as possible.” Aunt March is upset by how simple the proceedings are. Mr. March marries the couple, and after she’s married Meg declares that the first kiss shall... (full context)
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...the newlyweds, and the single folk pairing off to dance around them. Sallie Moffat and Mr. Laurence each observe that it was a fine wedding, in spite of its simplicity. The... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 27: Literary Lessons
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Six weeks later, Jo learns that she’s won the prize. Her family is “electrified,” but Mr. March feels that Jo is capable of better. “Aim at the highest, and never mind... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 36: Beth’s Secret
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When they return home, Mr. and Mrs. March plainly see that Beth is not long for the world. Beth is... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 40: The Valley of the Shadow
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...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 months they... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 42: All Alone
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...(something Beth had asked her to do before she’d died). In despair, Jo goes to Mr. March and tells him her troubles. She finds comfort in confiding in him, and she... (full context)
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...on to garner quite a bit of praise. Jo is puzzled with her success, and Mr. March tells her it’s because “there is truth in it,” given that Jo wrote it... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 43: Surprises
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The whole family, accompanied by Mr. Laurence, enters the parlor. Amy’s European airs are noted by the Marches, and Jo notes... (full context)
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...“all the more friendly because he was poor.” Professor Bhaer falls into a conversation with Mr. March, and Jo considers how much her father would love to have the professor to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 47: Harvest Time
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...and error the place flourishes. Jo goes on to have two boys of her own, Rob and Teddy. (full context)