“I don’t like fuss and feathers,” Laurie remarks when he sees Meg dolled up in borrowed finery at a dance thrown by one of her wealthy friends. Simplicity and genuineness are touted as values of the highest order in Little Women, and they’re often seen as an antidote to the difficulties of poverty. Similar to a number of other late 19th century thinkers (the doctor and cereal tycoon John Harvey Kellogg, for instance), Alcott is a proponent of natural beauty. The March girls discover that corsets and dainty slippers often cause fainting and sprained ankles, and they receive far more praise, pleasure, and moral good from wearing their simple hand-me-down dresses and adorning themselves with a few hot house flowers from Mr. Laurence’s conservatory.
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty ThemeTracker
Genuineness, Simplicity, and Natural Beauty Quotes in Little Women
“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.”
“Work is wholesome, and there is plenty for everyone. It keeps us from ennui and mischief, is good for health and spirits, and gives us a sense of power and independence better than money or fashion.”
“Meg and John begin humbly, but I have a feeling that there will be quite as much happiness in the little house as in the big one. It’s a great mistake for young girls like Meg to leave themselves nothing to do but dress, give orders, and gossip.”
Meg looked very like a rose herself, for all that was best and sweetest in heart and soul seemed to bloom into her face that day, making it fair and tender, with a charm more beautiful than beauty.
Neither silk, lace, nor orange flowers would she have. “I don’t want a fashionable wedding, but only those about me whom I love, and to them I wish to look and be my familiar self.”
[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.
“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.