Marmee’s Maxims


Louisa May Alcott published Little Women in 1868-69, together with Good Wives (part 2) in 1880. Mrs. March is endearingly called “Marmee” by her four daughters. She gives excellent advice in Alcott’s classic novel.


  • “To be loved and chosen by a good man is the best and sweetest thing which can happen to a woman.” (Ch. 9)
  • “Poverty seldom daunts a sincere lover.” (Ch. 9)
  • “I’d rather see you poor men’s wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self-respect and peace.” (Ch. 9)
  • “Make [your] home happy, so that you may be fit for homes of your own, if they are offered you, and contented here if they are not.” (Ch. 9)


  • “The troubles and temptations of your life are beginning and may be many, but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength. … Go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother.” (Ch. 8)

Time / Work

  • “Work is wholesome, and there is plenty for everyone. It keeps us from ennui and mischief, is good for health and spirits, and gives us a sense of power and independence better than money or fashion.” (Ch. 11)
  • “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. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success, in spite of poverty.” (Ch. 11)

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