“Birds in their little nests agree,” sings Beth in the opening chapter of Little Women. Although birds are sometimes used to refer to her sisters (Meg lives in the Dovecote; Jo is referred to as a wild gull), birds in Little Women are most often associated with Beth. Similar to Little Women’s use of flowers to symbolize natural beauty, birds not only symbolize Beth’s natural beauty, but also her timid, gentle, musical nature.
Birds Quotes in Little Women
The Little Women quotes below all refer to the symbol of Birds. 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: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet Classics edition of Little Women published in 2012.).
Birds Symbol Timeline in Little Women
The timeline below shows where the symbol Birds appears in Little Women. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 18: Dark Days
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 as good... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 36: Beth’s Secret