Little Women

Little Women

Elizabeth "Beth" March Character Analysis

Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. March, and sister of Jo, Meg, and Amy. Beth is sickly, shy, and utterly pious. Too anxious to attend school and too humble to attempt work outside of the home, Beth spends her days making herself useful around the March household. Beth seems to intuitively understand what is right and wrong (something Jo admires in her). Beth harbors musical ambitions, something that kindles a friendship between her and Mr. Laurence. Beth nearly dies of scarlet fever in Part I. Her health is weakened as a result, and she dies toward the end of Part II. Beth is thirteen when the story begins.

Elizabeth "Beth" March Quotes in Little Women

The Little Women quotes below are all either spoken by Elizabeth "Beth" March or refer to Elizabeth "Beth" 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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aLorem ipsum dolor sit amLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo conLorem ipsum dLorem ipsum dolor sit Lorem ipsum dolor sit Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad m

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia Lorem ipsum dLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, q

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Little Women quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Get the entire Little Women LitChart as a printable PDF.
Little women.pdf.medium

Elizabeth "Beth" March Character Timeline in Little Women

The timeline below shows where the character Elizabeth "Beth" March appears in Little Women. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1: Playing Pilgrims
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
...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 is... (full context)
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
...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 twelve-year-old Amy goes to school with tiresome girls... (full context)
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
...tall, thin, and tan, with her only beauty being her thick mane of brown hair. Beth is small, delicate, shy, and rosy – her serene nature has earned her the nickname... (full context)
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
The girls prepare for their mother’s return after a long day of work. Beth puts Mrs. March’s slippers by the fire to warm up, and the girls note how... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4: Burdens
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
Beth, meanwhile, is too shy to attend school, so she stays at home and helps the... (full context)
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
...Kings’ oldest son had been disgraced at school, which threw his family into an uproar. Beth quietly chimes in with a pleasant story – earlier that day, she witnessed old Mr.... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5: Being Neighborly
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...Laurie: a plate of blanc mange (a kind of custard) from Meg and kittens from Beth. Jo straightens up Laurie’s quarters, and offers to read out loud to Laurie. Laurie begs... (full context)
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...house, and she reminds Meg “that children should be children as long as they can.” Beth reflects on Pilgrim’s Progress, and how they may reach the Palace Beautiful if they are... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6: Beth Finds the Palace Beautiful
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
Beth, however, is terrified of Mr. Laurence, and doesn’t have the courage to go next door... (full context)
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
Beth thus begins to practice the piano at Mr. Laurence’s house. She’s so overcome with Mr.... (full context)
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Beth returns home one day to find that Mr. Laurence has replaced the March family’s old,... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 9: Meg Goes to Vanity Fair
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
...days), but Meg still worries that she will look shabby compared to the wealthy Moffats. Beth observes that Meg had previously said she would simply be happy to accompany the Moffats,... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 11: Experiments
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...some of her clothes in an attempt to fix them up like the Moffats’ clothing, Beth keeps forgetting not to work (and fights with her beloved dolls when she doesn’t), and... (full context)
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
...well over her head when she attempts to cook a fancy meal for him. Meanwhile, Beth discovers her canary has died due to her negligence. Laurie and surprise guest Mrs. Crocker... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 12: Camp Laurence
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Meg notices that she’s missing a glove. Beth brings in the mail from the P.O. Laurie has sent Meg a translation of a... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 13: Castles in the Air
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
...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 can join them,... (full context)
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...college. The girls advise Laurie to obey his grandfather. That night, as Laurie listens to Beth playing piano for his grandfather, he resolves to do the right thing. “I’ll let my... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 15: A Telegram
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Mr. Laurence returns to the Marches’ house with Beth, who had gone to him for a couple bottles of wine for Mr. March. Mr.... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 17: Little Faithful
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
...play with clay, and Meg forgets her sewing in lieu of writing letters to Marmee. Beth, however, continues to be industrious (although she does grieve). (full context)
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Beth goes to Meg and asks her to see the Hummels, as their baby is sick.... (full context)
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Beth arrives quite late, and no one notices her hide away in her mother’s room after... (full context)
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Laurie and Meg wonder if Mrs. March should be told of Beth’s illness. Hannah (who has experience with scarlet fever) has told the children that she thinks... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 18: Dark Days
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Beth has become quite ill, and is under the constant care of Jo, Hannah, and the... (full context)
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
On the first of December, the doctor looks in on Beth and tells Hannah that Mrs. March must be sent for. Jo runs out the door... (full context)
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
News of Mrs. March’s imminent arrival spreads throughout the house, and hope is renewed. Beth’s pet bird begins chirping again, and a half-blown rose is discovered outside, which are seen... (full context)
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...they’d found in the garden. “I thought this would hardly be ready to lay in Beth’s hand tomorrow if she – went away from us. But it has blossomed in the... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 19: Amy’s Will
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...as witnesses. Laurie reads the document and asks Amy if she got the idea from Beth. Amy is confused, and Laurie goes on to explain that one day, when she felt... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 21: Laurie Makes Mischief, and Jo Makes Peace
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...she wants nothing to do with love at the moment, given the recent trauma of Beth’s illness. Laurie arrives, and he apologizes profusely. Meg and Mrs. March forgive him, but Jo... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 22: Pleasant Meadows
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Peace reigns at the March household as Beth’s health improves. Christmas Day arrives, and news of Mr. March’s return after the New Year... (full context)
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...pleased to see that Jo is less tomboyish, that Amy is less selfish, and that Beth’s health is much improved. Jo asks Beth what she’s thinking, and Beth replies that she... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 23: Aunt March Settles the Question
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...reliving” the early days of their love through Meg, Amy draws the new couple, and Beth sits chatting with Mr. Laurence. Meanwhile, Jo and Laurie sit on the couch together, and... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 24: Gossip
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...Aunt March’s confidante, leaving Jo free to write for the newspaper and to tend to Beth (who is still delicate). Laurie, meanwhile, is in college, and has become a bit of... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 27: Literary Lessons
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
...and never mind the money,” he cautions. Jo resolves to use her earnings to send Beth and Mrs. March on a seaside holiday. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 32: Tender Troubles
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Something in Beth’s behavior worries Mrs. March. After observing Beth in secret, Jo concludes that she has fallen... (full context)
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
That night, Jo watches Laurie talk to Beth in the Marches’ parlor. Jo retreats to the sofa, so as to give the two... (full context)
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
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)
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Several days later, prompted by both Beth and Laurie’s behavior, Jo tells Mrs. March that she thinks it would be best if... (full context)
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
On the day of her departure, Jo asks Beth to take care of Laurie for her while she’s away. As she says goodbye to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 33: Jo’s Journal
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Jo writes to Mrs. March and Beth about her adventures in New York. Mrs. Kirke is the proprietor of a large boarding... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 36: Beth’s Secret
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Jo realizes that Beth’s health has waned in her absence. Jo reveals to her family that she has made... (full context)
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Jo and Beth go to the seaside. During their trip, Jo somehow senses that Beth is going to... (full context)
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Jo implores Beth to not give up on life just yet. Soon after, a small brown sandpiper sits... (full context)
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
When they return home, Mr. and Mrs. March plainly see that Beth is not long for the world. Beth is tired from the journey and immediately goes... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 40: The Valley of the Shadow
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Back in the March household, the family is coming to grips with Beth’s imminent death. Beth is given a special room in the house. The family gathers with... (full context)
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Beth eventually becomes weaker and weaker, to the point where she can no longer sew. One... (full context)
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Spring arrives. Lying asleep on her mother’s chest, Beth dies one day at the break of dawn. Sunlight streams onto Beth’s face, and snowdrops... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 41: Learning to Forget
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
A letter about Beth’s failing health is lost in the mail, and by the time Amy hears about her... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 42: All Alone
The Role of Women Theme Icon
Christianity, Morality, and Goodness Theme Icon
Work and Social Class Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Jo realizes she has to come to grips with life without Beth. She finds it difficult to act virtuous without her sister’s pious influence, and she realizes... (full context)