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Little Women is one of the classics of American childrens literature It is a Sentimentalist and domestic novel For a description of Sentimentalism please see Context domestic novels are simply those that revolve around the home focusing on marriage child-rearing and family affections Alcotts novel centers on four girls growing up and starting families of their own Furthermore the novel is didactic As characters in the book try to teach each other helpful lessons about life virtue and morality so is the book trying to teach the reader Each of the mistakes that the girls in the novel make is intended to provide some instruction for the audience Little Women has also been made famous by its value as regional literature As Alcott weaves a tale about four young women growing up she also paints a picture of Massachusetts in the nineteenth century Society is explained the harsh winters are described and perhaps most importantly the profound work ethic of its inhabitants is revealed Perhaps what has made this novel so appealing to generations of young readers is its coming-of-age stories The novel depicts many different rites of passage As Meg Jo Beth Amy and Laurie grow up their adventures and mishaps provide examples for almost any child Their mistakes are intended to make them sympathetic and instructive characters Thus the novel can be seen as a story of children growing into adults As the children grow up they struggle with many ideas First they are constantly troubled by the necessity of being good even when they want to be bad Their weaknesses or burdens are one theme of their rites of passage Second as they grow they necessarily confront different types of interaction between boys and girls Friendship turns into love and vice versa making another theme out of gender relations Third the theme of poverty is always among the Marches There is their own and that of the Hummels as well as the
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