9 of our favourite quotes from Little Women

We reflect on some of our favourite quotes from Louisa May Alcott's timeless coming-of-age story about four sisters growing up in Civil War New England.

Seen to some as a simple story, Alcott uncovers the hardship behind a women’s development through adolescence; centring on domestic obligations and personal growth. Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy, explore the boundaries of their culture under the guidance and watchful eye of Marmee, as they come to realise that life is not what they once thought.

The book still remains popular with readers today, as women still strive to find their rightful place; making these quotes as insightful now as they were so many years ago. 

'I’ll try and be what he loves to call me, “a little woman,” and not be rough and wild; but do my duty here instead of wanting to be somewhere else'

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'Watch and pray, dear, never get tired of trying, and never think it is impossible to conquer your fault'

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'Don't try to make me grow up before my time'

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'I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship'

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'I've got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen'

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'There are many Beth’s in the world, shy and quiet, sitting in corners till needed, and living for others so cheerfully that no one sees the sacrifices till the little cricket on the hearth stops chirping, and the sweet, sunshiny presence vanishes, leaving silence and shadow behind'

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'Be worthy love, and love will come'

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'You are the gull, Jo, strong and wild, fond of the storm and the wind, flying far out to sea, and happy all alone'

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'I never wanted to go away, and the hard part now is leaving you all. I’m not afraid, but it seems as if I should be homesick for you even in heaven'

Watch the BBC One series trailer

More about the book

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott

Curl up with the classic novel that inspired the BBC series

Loved by generations around the world, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is a truly universal coming-of-age story, as relevant and engaging today as it was when originally published in 1868. Set against the backdrop of a country divided, the story follows the four March sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, on their journey from childhood to adulthood. With the help of their mother, the girls navigate what it means to be a young woman - from gender roles to sibling rivalry, first love, loss and marriage.

This three-part adaptation has been written by Call the Midwife and Cranford creator Heidi Thomas and directed by Vanessa Caswill (Thirteen, My Mad Fat Diary). It features a stellar cast including Academy award-winner Dame Angela Lansbury (Murder, She Wrote, The Manchurian Candidate) as the girls’ wealthy relative - the cantankerous Aunt March. Bafta-winner Michael Gambon (Harry Potter, Churchill’s Secret) takes the role of their benevolent neighbour Mr. Laurence, and Jonah Hauer-King (Howards End) will play Laurie, the charming boy next door.

Newcomer Maya Hawke takes the role of wilful and adventurous Jo, Willa Fitzgerald will play the eldest daughter Meg, Annes Elwy will play Beth, and Kathryn Newton takes the role of the youngest sister Amy.

This is a combined edition of the original text of Little Women and the second novel in the series, Good Wives.

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