A House Without Love (Is Not a Home) College
According to Nina Baym, the heroine of woman’s fiction “brings into being a new kind of family life, organized around love rather than money. Money subsides into its adjunct function of ensuring domestic comfort” (39-40). Little Women is the epitome of this idea, and the character that champions this is Marmee. Marnee is the moral standard in Little Women, and this women’s fiction ideology is what she wants her daughters to internalize and embody. Marmee’s ideology can be summed up in this one quote: “I want my daughters to be beautiful, accomplished, and good; to be admired, loved, and respected, to have a happy youth, to be well and wisely married, and to lead useful, pleasant lives…My dear girls, I am ambitious for you, but not to have you make a dash in the world, — marry rich men merely because they are rich, or have splendid houses, which are not homes because love is wanting” (152-3). She imparts her wisdom with Meg, Amy, and Jo whenever one of her daughters strays from this idea. Each daughter’s individual transformation is often subtle until a climatic moment happens that invariably leads to marriage. By the end of the book, each Meg, Amy, and Jo gained what Alcott believed a “Little Woman” should have — a caring...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 1025 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 7911 literature essays, 2224 sample college application essays, 341 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in