Little Women takes place in New England. It is primarily in Boston, Massachusetts area during the American Civil War. The novel tells the story of how the March family lives; the four girls and their mother are left to survive after their father has left to fight for his country. They struggle on their own even during the toughest of times throughout the story. .
The story starts with the four March girls. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are sitting in their living room, mournful about their poverty. Christmas is coming soon and they decide to buy each other gifts to cheer themselves up. Then instead they decide to buy gifts for the lonely mother. Marmee, their mother, comes home with a letter from Mr. March, the girls' father, who is serving as a Union chaplain in the Civil War. This letter inspires the girls to bear their burdens more cheerfully and not to complain about their poverty. While Mr. March is off serving as a chaplain in the Civil War, his wife and four daughters are left behind to fend for themselves. Mr. March becomes weak and is seriously sick. Marmee does not have much of a choice and must go to see her ill husband in Washington D.C. During the time Marmee is absent; Beth develops scarlet fever and is brutally ill. During this time Jo and Meg do their best to take care of their ill sister. The only problem is that the doctors call for Marmee for the reason that they knew she may not live much longer. Amy the youngest was not the strongest and had to be sent to Aunt March just so that she won't catch Beth's disease. The fever had finally broken, yet Beth was never able to return to the same state of mind and remains weak. Jo is very worried about her sister and losing a family member and friend in this tribulation. Jo never really shows her emotions because she is much like a tomboy and not many of her emotions are shown. .
The second part of this novel begins when the girls embark on going their own separate paths.