The novel follows the lives of four sisters-Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March-detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters.[
Four sisters live with their mother, facing Christmas without their father as the American Civil War is underway. The family is settled in a new neighborhood, living in genteel poverty after the father lost their money. Meg and Jo March, the elder sisters, both work outside the home for money to support the family. Meg teaches four children in a nearby family, while Jo aids her grand-aunt March, a wealthy widow whose strength is failing. Beth helps with housework, and Amy attends school.
Louisa May Alcott also wrote two sequels to Little Women, both of which also featured the March sisters: Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886).
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