Transcendentalists held progressive views of women, and they believed that people should consult their own consciences in making moral decisions. Both of those aspects of transcendental thought appear in Little Women.
Part of Little Women's enduring popularity comes from the way the March sisters, especially Jo, earn their own living and pursue their own paths. Their father, away as an army chaplain in the Civil War, doesn't earn much money, so Marmee, Meg, and Jo go out to work. Jo might complain about her hours as a companion to the grouchy Aunt March, but she is contributing to the family livelihood. More importantly, Jo has inspired generations of women writers in her unabashed pursuit of a writing career, publishing pot boilers and Gothics. Professor Bhaer might not like what she writes, but Jo is a young woman who, like Margaret Fuller, can earn her own way in the world through her pen.
Meg initially earns a living as a governess, and Amy pursues a vocation as an artist. The book...
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