We recently sponsored a contest in which we honored Louisa May Alcott’s sister characters from “Little Women” by asking our newsletter subscribers to tell us which of the March sisters inspires them most.  Although we didn’t ask for more than a name, the impact of the author’s story and characters in this novel was more than obvious. Many of our respondents offered how the sister they chose inspires them 150 years after it was written.

Louisa May Alcott’s birthday was on November 29th. Today we celebrate it (a little belatedly) by sharing some of the inspiration our readers find in these beloved characters.

Amy

It wasn’t until lately, now that I’m grown up, that I’ve come to appreciate her and be inspired by the youngest of the March sisters. She yearns to be an artist, but after studying the masters abroad, she begins to realize she’s not going to be one of them. Her talent isn’t genius, and she realizes no amount of work will make it that, and rather than mope about her lot, she accepts who she is, limitations and all. – Andrea L.

Amy inspires me the most because of her change of heart. – Kathy R.

I pick Amy.  Amy is really a modern woman.  She has a career AND a husband.  She knows what she wants and works towards her goal.  She saw an opportunity and went for it.  Gotta respect that out of a character from the mid-1800’s! – Carol O.

Beth

My Favorite sister is kind sweet Beth, who thinks of others before herself. – Glory K.

… upon first reading the story as a young child, I adored tomboyish and outspoken Jo the most.

However, as I have grown into a young adult, I have become more inclined to turn to introverted activities like sewing and reading…  although Beth may be quiet and reserved, she has a huge heart and is devoted to being generous, which is something that I try to do every single day.

Even though the March sisters of Little Women might have lived in an entirely different time period than us, we can still relate to the common human virtues that are apparent in the lives of these beloved set of characters. This is what makes Louisa May Alcott’s story so memorable and timeless. – Samantha A.

The March sister who inspires me the most is Beth; I’ve always related to her (not just because I have the same name!). I’m also very introverted and I love helping others as much as I can! – Elizabeth K.

I’m most inspired by Beth, because of her talent and courage. – Lynn A.

Beth is the peacemaker of the family being kind, gentle and shy.  When she becomes ill, she realizes she is about to die.  Even then she is knitting for others and has a strong effect on her sisters, who resolve to live their lives with greater consideration and care for others. – Karen D.

I find Beth the most inspiring. She is very kind and loving and does everything that she can to help other people.  – Gayla F.

Beth inspires me to be kind and giving! – Tammy L.

My pick of the four sisters would be Beth.  Even though she was shy and introverted, I perceive that she was content.  Music and playing the piano is a great way to release any kind of emotion.  It is very apparent that she was a kind and loving person giving of herself, which ended up in the loss of her own life. A person such as this leaves a long lasting impression on others. – Judy D.

Beth is the sister who most inspires me. I also am a lover of music, playing both the piano and the violin, as well as the flute. Yet, I am shy and hesitant about playing for an audience beyond the family. – Brittany B.

Jo

I am most inspired by Jo. I love Little Women and have read the story and watched the movie many times.  I am similar to Jo, in that as a young adult, I set out to conquer the world, and moved to Massachusetts.  While there, I visited Orchard House in Concord on several occasions and imagined walking in their shoes.  Jo is so smart and tries so hard to be published and successful.  So, I too tried in my career and published work.  Jo seeks to share her wisdom and strength, and finally captures the heart of a gentleman.  Although she did not even realize it at first until her gentleman admits, that he came seeking her.  I have worked very hard to share in my concerns and still seek my perfect gentleman.  He is out there, and I may not believe it when I find him. – Tiffany R.

…even as a little girl, much younger than Jo March, I found that she was the sister I looked up to. Jo loved to read and write and act—all three of which I loved to do as a child, and even now as an adult. For me, Jo set the tone for what I could do with my life. If a woman during the 1800s could strike out on her own and become a writer, surely a liberated woman of the modern age like myself could do the same—and I was right.

Jo will always represent to me the dawning of a dream and the realization of that dream. Not only did she chase after what she wanted, she did so in the face of so many who did not believe that she could…or should. Down deep, I believe I will always share a kinship with Jo March. – Abigail F.

I am most inspired by Jo March. I relate to her on so many levels. I often find myself going against societal norms, and follow my heart over what is expected of me. Her creative drive and unapologetic love for her work is something I connect to, and I think she is a great role model for modern-day girls! – Abby D.

Jo inspires me the most because she doesn’t let the ‘perfect woman’ picture that everyone wants keep her from her dream.  She is willing to be the odd one to get what she wants. – Esther S.

Many years ago, I played Jo in a school play and I had to read up on the character and learnt a lot about her. Like me, she also liked to read. – Daphne L.

I have to choose Jo. I believe I relate more to her strong will than the others as I am also a sort of strong-willed person and independent, too. – Rita B.

I think Jo inspires me the most because of her free sprite and love of writing. – Jamie C.

JO is my favorite, I identify with her the most – especially since I am also the oldest of four sisters and I am very independent and can be bossy at times!! – Claudie P.

Jo inspires me the most; we both have an independent streak! – Cheryl S.

… I was a tomboy and socially awkward – and also an introvert, which I imagined Jo to be as well.  The things and people I loved, I loved fiercely and deeply.  Those I did not care for, ran from a mild indifference to a fierce cold dislike – but most simply didn’t exist in my world.

My inner world was rich with people and lives and stories which were different from my own – but which held a deeper symmetry with my life, an identification, an attunement. I had no place for social games, but all the room in my heart for deep imaginings and bosom friends.

Like Jo, I had to learn the social games in order to survive – but my heart always leapt to identify and bond with those people whose unadorned directness matched my inner self.

“Bookish” was always an apt description for me – and still is.  Books were more my friends than most people.

Jo represented, for me, a woman whose life would be lived on her terms.  One whose place in her time was far ahead of her peers – she always belonged in a more free and equal environment, where women are able to choose the direction of their lives and loves.  I was grateful to her parents for allowing her more freedom than most girls of her time, just as I was grateful to mine. – Heather S.

Josephine March inspires me the most.  She was ahead of her time, she was passionate and she knew what she wanted.  It takes strength for a woman to move away from home, especially to New York and live alone.  She was conquering the working women role and living without a male to take care of her.  She was on her own and cherished every minute of it.  When she wanted something she fought for it but had a kind heart and spirit.  She befriended a boy and enjoyed having him around.  She did not fall trapped to all of the social graces that she should have followed, especially around boys/men.  She loved her family.  She sold her hair, which was a huge sacrifice at that time so that her mother could go to her father, who was injured in the war.

Jo encourages me to be better and more loving person that what I truly am.  At this day and age, I think about giving up my Christmas breakfast and balk at the idea.  She and her family gave theirs up without much thought.  She is encouraging to single women who live alone and work.  Times were so much harder back then and if she and others like her can do it, then why can’t you or I.  She was an author at a time when it was almost impossible for a woman to be published, but she took that on with grace and courage.  She spoke her mind and she spoke freely.  This leaves no room for misunderstandings.  She was an awesome character in a GREAT book.

Women could go much further if we all took on Jo’s character and pushed our way through this world with determination, grace, and courage, all of which I believe Jo embodied. – Denise R.

Definitely, Jo is my Little Woman!  I grew up a tomboy with only brothers, and am as headstrong as they come – Just ask my husband!  LOL – Diane S.

Jo is my favorite because she’s the strongest and most adventurous, nothing stops her. – Shawn Y.

Jo, because she’s a strong person and that inspires me greatly. I’m rather a meek person and would like to have someone like her to have as a friend. – Carole R.

I pick Jo.  The fact that she is strong-willed inspires me.  So many women forget they don’t need to depend on other people to survive. – April G.

Jo is the sister closest to my heart. She tacks back and forth between joy and despair; her plans rarely go the way she wants them to, but she always keeps trying. – Susan C.

I’m inspired most by Jo.  She was so independent especially at that time in history.  She spoke her mind.  She knew there was more to life than marriage and keeping house.  Yet she was so independent.  She loved her family and would do anything for them.  She was so full of life.  Jo is definitely my inspiration. – Norma M.

Meg

My character who inspires me the most is Meg because she is a true lady! – Denise M.

Meg is my pick.  To be a woman in this day and age is something our society misses out on. I am so grateful for the clothing of Recollections.   Years ago, I had decided if I was going to dress modestly here in California, I was going to stand out anyway.   So why not enjoy looking like a lady.   Ever since then I have only gotten compliments whenever I go out.   Being a true woman and looking like one has been a real joy. I do own my own business, but that does not stop me from being a lady.  In fact, it enhances it. – Cheryl M.

Meg inspires me the most. She is the eldest March sister who gathers the younger ones under her wing and always treats them with such love and kindness. She is the elder sister I wish I could be more like. My favourite scene of Meg in the movie is her face when Laurie rolls out of attic cabinet after overhearing the silliness that goes on between sisters. I also like the part where the girls dress her up for her evening out. She looked so beautiful in both the blue gown she was going to wear and also the gown the girls changed her into after declaring the blue gown a “day dress”. I will always like the blue one a little bit more though. – Grace. W.

My most inspirational March sister is Meg.  By critics, she is often shunned as the least successful at reaching Alcott’s ideal of womanhood because she is conforming and settles into a little life isolated from much of the world in her cottage with her family.  Yet I see Meg as being the anchor that lets her more aspiring sisters soar aloft with the knowledge there is always their eldest there to help bring them back about.

Meg, while conforming to tradition, also learns to stand firm against peer pressure and the values of so-called “betters” when she does not share them.  She also stood against wealth and power (in the form of her aunt) in the name of love and loyalty.  Meg makes mistakes but reflects and learns from them.  And she loves her sister Jo even when their characters and ideals differ.

Meg is inspiring for the power of the “little life” of Alcott’s Little Women.  Without Jo or Amy’s ambition, she knew what she most wanted -a happy home, a loving husband, and the joy of being Marmee to children of her own.  These were her goals and she fought to achieve them.  Perhaps they were simple ones, and perhaps her fight was quiet and subtle, but that also makes it more impactful.  Meg inspires to the quality of the life well lived, quiet strength, and the endearing value of family. – Therese M.

We hope the March sisters inspire you as much as they inspire us! Want to look like Amy, Beth, Jo, or Meg? Take a look at our Little Women Civil War Fashions.

– Donna