The Wisdom of Little Women

Little Women was first published in October 1868. Louisa's publisher, Mr. Niles, had urged her to write a book for girls. She wrote:

“I plod away, through I don't enjoy this sort of thing. Never liked girls, or knew many, except my sisters, but our queer plays and experiences may prove interesting, though I doubt it. ... Sent twelve chapters to Mr. N. He thought it dull; so do I. But I work away and mean to try the experiment; for lively, simple books are very much needed for girls, and perhaps I can supply the need.”

~Journals of Louisa May Alcott, 1868

Seventeen years later, Louisa was able to write:
“The copyright made her fortune, and the “dull book” was the first golden egg of the ugly duckling.”

~Journals of Louisa May Alcott, 1885


 

The quotes below are taken from Little Women. See more such nuggets in the book, The Wisdom of Little Women, with dozens of topically arranged quotes. (For ordering information, see our Shop Page.)

FAMILY
“ Rich or poor, we will keep together and be happy in one another.” --
The Marches

GROWING UP
“I'll try to be what Father 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.”
--
Jo

ANGER
“Don't let the sun go down upon your anger; forgive each other, help each other, and begin again tomorrow.”
--
Marmee

MONEY
Money is a needful and precious thing--and when well used, a noble thing--but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for. I'd rather see you poor men's wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self-respect and peace.” --
Marmee

RIGHT AND WRONG
“Jo valued goodness highly, but she also possessed a most feminine respect for intelligence.”

GIVING CREDIT
“Amy's lecture did Laurie good, though, of course, he did not own it till long afterwards. Men seldom do, for when women are the advisers, the lords of creation don't take the advice till they have persuaded themselves that it is just what they intended to do; then they act upon it, and, if it succeeds, they give the weaker vessel half the credit of it; if it fails, they generously give her the whole.”



 

More Wit and Wisdom from the Alcotts

January The New Year
February Valentine's Day
Black History Month
March Women's History Month
April The Promise of Spring
May / June Wedding Blessings, Wedded Bliss
July / August Nature and Gardens
September Education and Schools
October The Wisdom of Little Women
November Birthdays
December Christmas
 

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