• Nataša V. Ninčetović Faculty of Philosophy, University of Priština in Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbia




Little Women, marriage, Louisa May Alcott, “castle in the air”, self-actualisation


This paper aims to demonstrate that beneath the apparently conventional plot of Little Women (1868) lurks a rather progressive concept of marriage. The initial hypothesis is that the role model for the March girls is their unconventional mother, whose ideas they eventually adopt and put into practice. Marmee is an ardent opponent of the marriage of convenience. In her view, the chief prerequisite for choosing a life companion is love. Mrs March’s vision of marriage is seemingly contradictory – she concurrently considers marriage a sacred relation and adopts the position that it should not be the only and ultimate end of a woman’s life. The coveted aim should be self-actualisation, whereas matrimony is an integral and significant, but not absolutely necessary stage of a girl’s blossoming into womanhood. Each of the sisters, in her way and to a certain extent, fulfils her mother’s high expectations. All the sisters but Beth (who dies prematurely) learn how to conquer their greatest flaws and choose husbands who match both their virtues and weaknesses. Contrary to the views of certain critics that the marriage of the March sisters testifies to their conformity and submission, both to society and their husbands, this paper argues that marriage is an important aspect of their maturation. During their development, the sisters realise that they ought to renounce their childish dreams, the so-called “castles in the air” to strike a balance between individualism and the family’s (in particular, their mother’s) expectations. Admittedly, the marriages of Meg, Jo, and Amy do imply a compromise, but compromise, mutual helpfulness, and self-sacrifice are prerequisites necessary for the creation of the proper marital union in the fictional world of Louisa May Alcott. Moreover, this paper argues that concessions are expected not only from the March girls but also from their husbands, who likewise compromise and mature in marriage.


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How to Cite

V. Ninčetović, N. (2024). LOUISA MAY ALCOTT’S VISION OF MARRIAGE IN LITTLE WOMEN. SCIENCE International Journal, 3(2), 81–87. https://doi.org/10.35120/sciencej0302081n