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Little Men
LittleMen

Status

Novel

Author

Louisa May Alcott

Publisher

Roberts Brothers

Date of publication

1871

Preceded by

Good Wives

Followed by

Jo's Boys

Little Men is generally regarded as the third book in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women series.

The novel recounts six months in the life of the students at Plumfield, a school run by Professor Friedrich and Mrs. Josephine Bhaer. The idea of the school is first suggested at the very end of Good Wives, when Jo inherited the estate from her Aunt March.

Plot SynopsisEdit

The story begins with the arrival of Nathaniel Blake, a shy young orphan who used to earn a living playing the violin. We are introduced to the majority of the characters through his eyes. There are ten boys at the school already; Nat, and later his friend Daniel Kean joins them, and soon after Nan Harding arrives as companion for Daisy Brooke, the only girl. Jo's sons Rob and Teddy are younger than the others and are not counted among the pupils, nor are the two girls, Daisy and Nan.

The school is not run on conventional lines. All the children have their own gardens and their own pets, and are encouraged to experiment with running businesses. Pillow fights are permitted on Saturdays, subject to a time limit. Children are treated as individuals, with a strong emphasis on gently molding their characters.

Daisy Brooke (Meg's daughter), is at the school with her twin brother Demi Brooke, but is somewhat isolated with no other girls her age, until Nan's arrival. Nan is even more of a tomboy than Jo was as a child, while Daisy is interested mainly in dolls and in her own mini kitchen, which purchased by Jo's brother-in-law, Laurie.
The other new student, Dan, is introduced by Nat. Dan originally decides the other boys are "molly-coddles" and leads them in experiments with fighting, drinking, smoking, swearing and playing cards, which results in his being temporarily removed from the school. He returns eventually with an injured foot, and redeems himself by standing up for Nat when the latter is falsely accused of theft by the other boys. He also becomes curator of the school's natural history museum.

Personal relationships are central to the school, and diversity is celebrated. Daisy is deeply attached to her twin brother, to shy Nat, and to tomboy Nan. Nan and Tommy are also close and the latter intends to marry Nan when they grow up. Dan, already friends with Nat, is unexpectedly drawn to the pious Demi and the toddler Teddy. While Franz Hoffmann, Emil Hoffmann, Daisy and Demi are all related to the Bhaers, they are not treated with favouritism and are encouraged to overcome their faults just the same as the other pupils.

Out-of-universe InformationEdit

Little Men

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