Before I read this book, I had watched a cartoon movie made by Japan. So I have a strong interest on it.
It all begins in the dead of winter; The Christmas Season. The coldest one of all, were the war has made fuel for heating very scarce. While her husband is off at war, Marmee is left alone to raise their four daughters: Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy.
On Christmas Eve, Marmee has just arrived home from passing out food to the less fortunate with a letter from her husband, the girls' father. The all gather together around the fire to read the letter. Afterwards, the girls are teary eyed. Marmee kisses them and they are off to be.
Jo is longing to become a writer. So, every night she stays up late writing the script for soap operas. As morning comes she is the last one awake. The table is set, and food prepared for their Christmas feast.
As dusk falls, the girls are all up in the attic acting out Jo's play, which she reads from the local (fake) newspaper. As they are performing, their rich, next-door neighbors grandson watches from the window.
The 2 oldest girls: Jo and Meg, get ready to attend the Christmas Ball. While Jo is curling Meg's hair, there is a strange smell to the air. Amy screams, Megs hair is being singed. They continue digging through the old clothes bin for a pair of white gloves.
One of the prominent themes in Little Women is the coming of age or maturation of the girls. During the course of the novel we see them grow in many ways -- physically, intellectually, and especially emotionally. One question which readers must ask themselves is whether the views the characters have on the coming of age process are shared by Alcott. If they aren't, what are Alcott's views and how do they differ from those of the women in her story?
It is interesting to examine the last half of Chapter 20, "Confidential." Jo addresses the maturation issue as she speaks with Marmee of the situation between Meg and Mr. Brooke. The possible love between these two represents one of the very important aspects in coming of age for a teenage girl. Jo treats this natural process as if it were some sort of disease, however. Jo cannot understand why Meg would want to stop behaving "like a sensible creature" , and refers to love as "such nonsense."