Theme Of Conflict In Little Women

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The majority of society views conflict as a negative aspect of life, but authors love to use it to benefit their writing. Conflict is common in writing as it is essential to the plot and often numerous other aspects. In Louisa May Alcott's novel, Little Women, the main characters experience a variety of conflicts. In this book, the author uses conflict to develop the characters and show their growth. The four main characters, sisters Amy, Beth, Jo, and Meg, experience Person vs. Self, Person vs. Person, and Person vs. Society conflict which leads them to whom they have become at the end of the novel.
Amy is the youngest of the sisters and she experiences conflict often. Her vanity is a large component of who she is and a major Person vs Self
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She spent her time as a teenager trying to control her harsh temper as to not hurt the ones she loves. The author depicts this internal struggle when Jo goes to her mother for help saying, “It’s my dreadful temper! I try to cure it; I think I have and then it breaks out worse than ever” (Alcott 100). As the story progresses, both her and her mother notice improvements and are quite proud. Later in the story she fights with Laurie on the grounds that at this point in her life, she is independent and feels as if she doesn’t need or want love whatsoever. As the two fight, she says, “I don’t [drive men crazy for fun]. I never wanted to make you care for me so, and I went away to keep you from it if I could” (Alcott 447). This is her mentality for quite a few years until she loses Beth and realizes she is lonely until being reunited with Mr. Bhaer and falling for him. Her lack of the need for love relates to her Person vs. Society conflict of being very boyish when she is supposed to be a proper young lady. Jill Williamson emphasizes this by stating that “Jo is very much of a tomboy, who often wishes in the story that she had been born a boy” (Williamson). As Jo gets older, her sisters press her more and more to be ladylike because the want her to fit in with society, but Jo never truly lets go of her “inner boy.” Meg is only a bit older than Jo and at a glance they may seem…show more content…
Although every one of the girls is different, their Person vs. Self, Person vs. Person, and Person vs. Society conflicts helped them learn and grow. It is important while reading and writing to not only view conflict as part of the story’s plot, but also as a tool for characterization. The next time you sit down to read a book, pay attention to the devices that shape the characters throughout the story.
Works Cited
Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2009.
“Margaret March.” Edited by Lawrence Yee, Little Women Wiki, Wikia, 9 Dec. 2017. 15 Dec. 2017. littlewomen.wikia.com/wiki/Margaret_March. *Wikia is a trusted online encyclopedia (with connections to wikipedia) and a staff of editors to review content before it’s published.
Shmoop Editorial Team. “Tools of Characterization in Little Women.” Shmoop, Shmoop University, 11 Nov. 2008. 15 Dec. 2017. www.shmoop.com/little-women/characterization.html. *Shmoop is an educational site focused on helping high schoolers.
Williamson, Jill. “A Characterization Study on Little Women.” Go Teen Writers, Blogger.com, 26 Aug. 2015. 15 Dec. 2017. http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/2015/08/a-characterization-study-on-little-women.html *Jill Williamson is an award winning author of books for all
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