Jo March - “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

A Comprehensive Analysis of Literary Protagonists - Sykalo Evgen 2023

Jo March - “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott

A Thorough Character Analysis of Jo March in Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women"

Determine the Type of Character

The main character of "Little Women," Jo March, is a vibrant figure. Over the book, she experiences a great deal of growth and change. She begins as an energetic and tomboyish young child and develops into a mature, self-reliant lady as a result of her relationships, experiences, and goals in life.

Examine the Character's Position in the Narrative

Jo March is the protagonist and main character in "Little Women." She plays a crucial part in the story as the second oldest of the March sisters. The majority of the emotional and thematic resonance of the plot is driven by Jo's journey, which is at the center of the book. Her goals, setbacks, and development all add to the broader examination of subjects like love, family, and pursuing personal goals.

Look Into the Past of the Character

Jo March is a low-income woman who lives with her mother and three sisters while her father is away fighting in the Civil War. Although the family is struggling financially, Jo has had a loving, creative, and values-filled upbringing. Her upbringing, which is characterized by the lack of a father figure and the strong sisterly bond, has a big impact on her personality.

Examine Personality Traits of the Character

Jo has a strong sense of independence, ambition, and self-determination. She defies the expectations that society placed on women in her era and is passionate about writing. Jo has many good qualities, such as her sense of fairness, inventiveness, and devotion to her family. She also battles having a short fuse and making snap decisions, which can occasionally result in confrontations.

Alcott provides a detailed description of Jo's appearance in Chapter 1, stating, "Jo was a tall, brown girl, with a decided mouth, a comical nose, and sharp, gray eyes, which appeared to see everything, and were by turns fierce, funny, or thoughtful."

Assess the Character's Interactions

Jo's development is significantly influenced by her connections. The story revolves around her relationship with her sisters, particularly the older Meg and the younger Amy. Jo develops through her relationships with Laurie, the affluent boy next door, and with her future love interest. These partnerships' dynamics both reveal something about Jo's personality and shape her decisions.

For instance, Jo's friendship with Laurie develops into a deeper emotional bond, illustrating her conflict between her own goals and marriage-related social norms.

Examine the Behavior of the Character

Jo is motivated by feelings, ideals, and goals in her acts. Despite her love for Laurie, her choice to turn down his proposal shows how determined she is to follow her own goals. Jo's devotion and love for her family are further demonstrated by the fact that she gave up her long hair to help her mother get to her father's bedside.

Determine the Conflicts the Character Faces

Jo is dealing with both internal and external issues. She struggles inside with what society expects of women and her need for autonomy. Obstacles come from the outside, such as her father's absence, financial difficulties, and the difficulties of puberty. These tensions shape Jo's personality and aid in the novel's examination of personal agency and society standards.

Evaluate Character Development or Shift

Jo goes through a significant change, evolving from a carefree, tomboyish youngster to a confident, mature adult. Her journey entails balancing her personal goals with those of society. The choice Jo made to pursue her literary career in New York and her subsequent marriage to Professor Bhaer, which stands for striking a balance between one's own needs and those of society, are clear examples of her maturation.

Provide Proof to Back Up Your Analysis

"I can't say 'yes' truly, so I won't say it at all," Alcott writes in Chapter 23, after Jo turns down Laurie's proposal. In due course, you'll see that I'm correct, and for that, I'm grateful." Jo's will to be loyal to herself, even if it means defying social expectations, is summed up in this phrase.

In a similar vein, Chapter 42's dialogue between Jo and Professor Bhaer demonstrates her growth. Before I enter my castle, I want to accomplish something magnificent, something amazing or heroic that people will remember long after I'm gone. I have no idea what it is, but I'm keeping an eye out for it and want to surprise you all one day." This is indicative of Jo's ongoing quest for personal fulfillment and her wish to leave a lasting legacy.

Determine the Significance of the Character

Jo March embodies the essence and core of "Little Women." Alcott uses her transition from youth to adulthood as a prism to examine issues of identity, social expectations, and pursuing one's own goals. Jo's relevance resides in her ageless appeal and relatability, as readers are drawn to her experiences and successes as well as the common pursuit of self-discovery.

Background Information about the Character

Jo March's upbringing is based in the hardships of the Civil War era, when their father's absence and financial limitations led to a close-knit family dynamic. Jo's perseverance, inventiveness, and will to surpass the constraints placed on women by society are shaped by her upbringing in such an atmosphere.

Her mother's encouragement helped to foster her love of writing and literature from a young age. Jo's past as a budding author serves as a catalyst for her character development.

Personality Attributes

Jo's staunch independence, love of writing, fidelity to her family, and sense of justice are some of her most distinctive qualities. But her impetuous disposition and short fuse also add to her character's depth. Because of her tomboyish attitude, which subverts gender norms, Jo is a literary pathfinder for women's independence.

Purposes and Objectives

Jo's main driving force is her desire to become a writer, despite social norms that restrict women to home duties. She wants to use her writing to become financially independent and change the world in a significant way. Throughout the story, Jo's decisions and actions are guided by her aspirations.

Disagreement and Difficulties

Jo has a lot of obstacles to overcome, both personal and external. Conflict arises from the internal conflict between one's own goals and social standards, as evidenced by her rejection of Laurie's proposition. Jo is put to the test by outside obstacles including financial hardships and her father's absence. She is resilient and determined.


Jo's character is greatly influenced by her interactions with Laurie, her mother, and her sisters. While Jo's contacts with Laurie and Professor Bhaer shape her romantic and personal growth, the sisterly relationships offer emotional support. These links serve as a reminder of how significant love, friendship, and ties to Jo's family are in her life.

Archetypes and Symbols

Jo March is a prime example of the self-reliant, aspirational woman who defies social expectations. Her path serves as a metaphor for the battle for uniqueness and the pursuit of goals. Jo's symbolic significance is further enhanced by the novel's main premise of "Little Women" serving as a moral and educational manual for girls.

Arc of Characters

Jo's path from an ambitious, rebellious girl to a mature, confident woman is a remarkable one. This arc is shaped by her experiences, relationships, and personal development, and it ends with a sophisticated comprehension of how to strike a balance between one's own goals and those of society.

Words and Conversation

Jo has a direct and gregarious attitude, which is reflected in her speech patterns and discourse. Her use of words reflects her love of creating stories and her need to communicate being who she truly is. Jo is a fascinating and unforgettable character because of her humor, eloquence, and tenacity.

Historical and Cultural Background

"Little Women" examines the gender roles and social mores of the Civil War era while taking place against this historical background. Jo's disobedience of these expectations is a reflection of the evolving status of women in the 19th century. The cultural and historical background of the book gives Jo's trials and victories additional dimension and places her journey within the larger story of women's rights and societal expectations.

Analytical Viewpoints

Scholarly interpretations of "Little Women" frequently highlight Jo March as a symbol of women's changing positions in the 19th century and as a feminist icon. Jo's relevance in refuting gender stereotypes and influencing the feminist discourse in literature is examined by critics. Comprehending these crucial viewpoints enhances the understanding of Jo's persona and her wider cultural influence.

Arrange Your Examination

The analysis might be arranged thematically or chronologically. Following Jo's growth from birth to maturity offers a coherent story for a chronological perspective. A thematic approach might provide a more focused analysis of Jo's character by focusing on particular elements like her connections, goals, and societal concerns.

Present Proof

Citing specific passages from the text, such Jo's rejection of Laurie or her talks with Professor Bhaer, gives the analysis hard data to work with. Character interactions and descriptive passages are useful tools for highlighting Jo's characteristics, drives, and development.

In summary, readers of all ages can relate to Jo March's character in "Little Women" since she is a dynamic, multifaceted protagonist. Because Louisa May Alcott crafted Jo as a strong-willed, independent woman who defies social rules, Jo has become a beloved and enduring figure in literature. A thorough examination of Jo's upbringing, character, interpersonal interactions, and development provides us with a greater comprehension of her relevance and continuing appeal within the literary canon.