Student Question

What is the resolution in Little Women?

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The resolution in a novel gives a sense of closure. The reader sees this closure at the end of Little Women. Amy marries Laurie and Jo marries Professor Bhaer. Aunt March dies, and Jo inherits her large home. Jo and the professor decide to turn the house into a school.

Earlier in the story, Jo had turned down Laurie's marriage proposal. This had left him devastated. It appears at this point in the novel that Jo may remain single. Later, she meets Professor Bhaer. They have much in common, and they become close friends. Meanwhile, Laurie goes to Europe. He meets Amy there and they fall in love.

Amy and Laurie get married. Jo is happy for Laurie and her sister. Professor Bhaer visits, and he proposes to Jo.

Aunt March passes away. The March family grieves her death. They are soon filled with gladness when they find out that Aunt March had "left Plumfield to Jo, which [makes] all sorts of joyful things possible" (Little Women, Chapter 47). Jo has no need for such a large house, so she and the professor decide to transform it into a school.

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What is the resolution and denouement in the novel Little Women?

After turning Laurie's marriage proposal down, it seems as if Jo has confirmed her independence.  That act did come with a price though.  It also seems as if Jo is destined to live a single, solitary life and never marry.  The depressed feelings continue as Laurie leaves and Beth also dies.  

I would consider all of the above the climax to the novel.  From there, a novel will move into the denouement.  I haven't seen a student use that word in quite some time, so I'm proud of you for knowing that it means falling action.  Most teachers that I know no longer use that term.  I would say that the denouement of Little Women follows a few characters.  One piece of the story's falling action is what happens to Laurie.  After Jo turns him down, he still manages to marry one of the March sisters.  He marries Amy.  Jo isn't left out of the wedding game either.  She realizes that she isn't going to die a spinster, because she realizes her true feelings for Professor Bhaer.  Their conversations are comical and full of miscommunication, but they both eventually manage to convey their true feelings to each other and get engaged.  

From that point, I feel that everything else that happens is firmly final resolution.  Jo and Professor Bhaer get married, she inherits a mansion, and starts a boarding school.  

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