Little Women

How is the theme of pride/vanity brought out in this novel

Theme of pride and vanity only

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The March sisters that seem most susceptible to vanity are Meg and Amy. Meg is often mentioned to be proud of her plump white hands which her father comments on when he returns- that they have been changed for the better by the hard work that the callouses represent.

Meg also allows herself to be dressed up- crimped and curled and make to look like a doll- while staying at a richer friends' house. She quickly realises that she appreciates the respect of Laurie and her friend's sensible parents much more than the insipid flatteries of the younger men.

Amy shows her vanity by her constant efforts to show off in different ways- her vanity is said to be quashed by having to wear unfashionable hand-me-downs, she is humbled by being humiliated in front of her classmates. She also spends her free time doing things like sitting on a rock in her best frock, hoping someone would come by to notice her. Her vocabulary that she doesn't quite understand and pegging her unGrecian nose add to her appearance of vanity. I think pride comes through in several themes rather than a theme of its own. Consider the rights of women which this book is famous for addressing. For many characters, independence is linked to women’s rights implicitly through the book, particularly when it is considered in historical context. Compared to other girls’ novels at the time, the female characters in Little Women are opinionated, well educated, and accomplished girls who are treated with great respect in their homes. Marmee encourages her girls to take an interest in current events. The limitations society places on them because they are girls are most strongly expressed by Jo. In addition to her wishes to run, skate, and ride as boys do, she is tempted to run away with Laurie to have adventures, but rejects the idea because she is a girl. Jo also insists on helping to contribute to the household as a condition of her marriage to Mr. Bhaer.