Get the most heartwarming quotes from Little Women, the book by Louisa May Alcott to transport you back to the life of the March family in Civil War-era New England.

little women by louisa may alcott on a tray with flowers and candles.

Little Women is one of my all-time favorite books, and it’s stood the test of time for over one hundred and fifty years due, in great part, to its treasure trove of quotable passages.

The 2019 adaptation is also my favorite book adaptation of all-time, though I know some people prefer the earlier adaptation.

(AND…It’s also on the list of books mentioned on Gilmore Girls!)

Little Women is the classic story of the March family, living in Massachusetts during the Civil War. While the father is off at War, the mother, Marmee, tends to their four daughters at home: Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy. She encourages their creative endeavors, personal growth, and self-actualization over the years as they develop into adulthood, get married, have children, and even cope with tragedy.

Along for the ride is Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, their best childhood friend and neighbor who lives and grows alongside them, even developing romantic feelings.

Each unique character in Little Women imparted memorable sentiments that ranged from the depths of sadness to the peaks of joy in his or her own unique ways:

  • Jo: the independent writer
  • Meg: the loving provider
  • Beth: the quiet musician
  • Amy: the extroverted artist
  • Marmee: their wise and supportive mother and
  • Laurie: their truest friend

The below quotes from Little Women convey the novel’s themes of family, self-realization, love, creativity, and more.

The Best Quotes from Little Women

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about Little Women quotes, followed by the best quotes from Little Women, separated by character.

What are the opening words of Little Women?

The first sentence in the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is: “‘Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,’ grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.”

What is the last sentence in Little Women?

The final sentence in the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is: “Oh, my girls, however long you may live, I never can wish you a greater happiness than this!”

Read More: Popular Opening Sentences in Books | Popular Last Sentences in Books

Beloved Quotes from Little Women by Character

Below are the best Little Women quotes by each character, as well as the narrator.

Jo March

“I’ll try and be what he loves to call me, ‘a little woman,’ and not be rough and wild; but do my duty here instead of wanting to be somewhere else.”

I’d have a stable full of Arabian steeds, rooms piled with books, and I’d write out of a magic inkstand, so that my works should be as famous as Laurie’s music. I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle—something heroic, or wonderful—that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all, some day. I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous; that would suit me, so that is my favorite dream.”

I do think that families are the most beautiful things in all the world!”

“I don’t like to doze by the fire. I like adventures, and I’m going to find some.”

“I like good strong words that mean something.” 

“Don’t try to make me grow up before my time.” 

“I am lonely, sometimes, but I dare say it’s good for me…”

“I’m happy as I am, and love my liberty too well to be in a hurry to give it up for any mortal man.”

“I’ve got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen.”

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Meg March

“Tomorrow I shall put away my ‘fuss and feathers’ and be desperately good again.”

“‘What shall you do all your vacation?’, asked Amy. ‘I shall lie abed and do nothing,’ replied Meg.”

“Jo began to dance a jig, … Amy nearly fell out of the window in her surprise, and Meg exclaimed, with uplifted hands, ‘Well I do believe the world is coming to an end!'”

“‘It’s so dreadful to be poor!’ sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.”

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Beth March

“You are the gull, Jo, strong and wild, fond of the storm and the wind, flying far out to sea, and happy all alone. Meg is the turtle-dove, and Amy is like the lark she write about, trying to get up among the clouds, but always dropping down into its nest again. Dear little girl! She’s so ambitious, but her heart is good and tender, and no matter how high she flies, she never will forget home. I hope I shall see her again…”

“We’ve got Father and Mother, and each other[.]”

“Why does everyone want to go away? I love being home, but I don’t like being left behind. Now I’m the one going ahead, No one can stop God if He wants me, But I’m afraid I shall be homesick for you… even in heaven.”

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Amy March

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

“I don’t think it’s fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all[.]”

“I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.”

“You don’t need scores of suitors. You only need one, if he’s the right one.”

“People have been very kind to me, and whenever I see girls struggling along, as we used to do, I want to put out my hand and help them, as I was helped.”

“We’ll all grow up someday, Meg, we might as well know what we want.”

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Marmee March

“I am angry nearly every day of my life.”

“Money is a needful and precious thing,—and, when well used, a noble thing,—but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for. I’d rather see you poor men’s wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self-respect and peace.”

“When you feel discontented, think over your blessings, and be grateful.”

“Watch and pray, dear, never get tired of trying, and never think it is impossible to conquer your fault.” 

“Go out more, keep cheerful as well as busy, for you the sunshine-maker of the family, and if you get dismal there is no fair weather.”

“Don’t cry so bitterly, but remember this day, and resolve with all your soul that you will never know another like it.” 

“The love, respect, and confidence of my children was the sweetest reward I could receive for my efforts to be the woman I would have them copy.” 

“Conceit spoils the finest genius.”

“The sincere wish to be good is half the battle.”

“Time erodes such beauty, but what it cannot diminish is the wonderful workings of your mind: your humor, your kindness, and your moral courage.”

“Go on with your work as usual, for work is a blessed solace.”

“We can’t give up our girls for a dozen fortunes. Rich or poor, we will keep together and be happy in one another.”

“You have had the bitter, now comes the sweet. Do your best, and grow as happy as we are in your success.”

“I want my daughters to be beautiful, accomplished, and good. To be admired, loved, and respected. To have a happy youth, to be well and wisely married, and to lead useful, pleasant lives, with as little care and sorrow to try them as God sees fit to send. To be loved and chosen by a good man is the best and sweetest thing which can happen to a woman, and I sincerely hope my girls may know this beautiful experience.”

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Theodore “Laurie” Laurence

“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end.”

“Girls are so queer you never know what they mean. They say no when they mean yes, and drive a man out of his wits just for the fun of it.”

“I’ve loved you ever since I’ve known you, Jo, – couldn’t help it, you’ve been so good to me, – I’ve tried to show it, but you wouldn’t let me; now I’m going to make you hear, and give me an answer, for I can’t go on so any longer.”

“‘How beautiful that is!’ said Laurie softly, for he was quick to see and feel beauty of any kind.”

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More Quotes from Little Women

“Be worthy, love, and love will come.”

“Now and then, in this workaday world, things do happen in the delightful storybook fashion, and what a comfort it is.”

“Let us be elegant or die!”

“The humblest tasks get beautified if loving hands do them.”

“Love is a great beautifier.”

“She preferred imaginary heroes to real ones, because when tired of them, the former could be shut up in the tin kitchen till called for, and the latter were less manageable.” 

“Love casts out fear, and gratitude can conquer pride.”

“The moment Aunt March took her nap, or was busy with company, Jo hurried to this quiet place, and curling herself up in the easy chair, devoured poetry, romance, history, travels, and pictures like a regular bookworm.”

“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well.”

“There are many Beths in the world, shy and quiet, sitting in corners till needed, and living for others so cheerfully that no one sees the sacrifices till the little cricket on the hearth stops chirping, and the sweet, sunshiny presence vanishes, leaving silence and shadow behind.”

“Laurie felt just then that his heart was entirely broken and the world a howling wilderness.”

“For with eyes made clear by many tears, and a heart softened by the tenderest sorrow, she recognized the beauty of her sister’s life–uneventful, unambitious, yet full of the genuine virtues which ‘smell sweet, and blossom in the dust’, the self-forgetfulness that makes the humblest on earth remembered soonest in heaven, the true success which is possible to all.”

“Be comforted, dear soul! There is always light behind the clouds.”

“Jo’s breath gave out here, and wrapping her head in the paper, she bedewed her little story with a few natural tears, for to be independent and earn the praise of those she loved were the dearest wishes of her heart, and this seemed to be the first step toward that happy end.”

“The girls gave their hearts into their mother’s keeping, their souls into their father’s; and to both parents, who lived and labored so faithfully for them, they gave a love that grew with their growth, and bound them tenderly together by the sweetest tie which blesses life and outlives death.”

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Those are all the best quotes from Little Women.

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