Little Women Chapter 13 Summary
by Louisa May Alcott

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Chapter 13 Summary

Laurie is brilliant and talented, but he has a tendency to be lazy and moody. One afternoon he sits brooding on his front porch, and he sees the March girls emerge from their house carrying bundles. As he watches them walk away, he wishes they had invited him along. A few minutes later, he decides to follow them. He finds them in the woods, each working on a different project.

When the girls see Laurie, Jo explains that they are playing a girl’s game and did not know if he would like it. They call themselves the Busy Bee Society, and they all sit around working on useful tasks in keeping with their Pilgrim’s Progress goals. They say Laurie is welcome to join them as long as he keeps busy as the rest of them do.

As the children work, they admire the beauty of their woods. After that, the conversation turns to a place that is supposed to be even more beautiful—the Celestial City, or heaven. Laurie seems uncertain about whether he will ever deserve to go to heaven, but the girls say he can make it there if he tries.

After that, the conversation turns to the future. The characters all share their greatest dreams, which they call “castles in the sky.” Laurie wants to travel and become a famous musician. Meg wants a rich home with beautiful possessions and servants to do all the work. Laurie presses her to talk about the husband she would have in that home, but Meg refuses to say anything about him. Jo rescues her sister by sharing her goal to become rich and famous, maybe as an author. Amy wants to become a famous artist in Rome. Only Beth has a modest goal: she wants to stay at home and take care of Father and Mother.

Laurie, who has not quite forgotten his bad mood, comments that he hopes he will work hard enough to accomplish something valuable in his life. He is afraid that his tendency to laziness will prevent him from doing anything useful. He longs to leave home right away and have a few adventures, but he does not want to hurt his grandfather. Meg gives him a stern lecture, advising him to stay home, be dutiful, and go to college. Laurie finds her words annoying at first, but she says she thinks of him as a brother and wants him to succeed. To Laurie, who admires the March family, this is a great compliment. He thinks about her advice and eventually decides to do as she asks.