Excerpt from Little Women

- By Louisa May Alcott
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Louisa May Alcott (/ˈɔːlkət, -kɒt/; November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) was an American novelist, short story writer, and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women (1868) and its sequels Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886).[1] Raised in New England by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.[2] Alcott's family suffered from financial difficulties, and while she worked to help support the family from an early age, she also sought an outlet in writing. She began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860s. Early in her career, she sometimes used pen names such as A. M. Barnard, under which she wrote lurid short stories and sensation novels for adults that focused on passion and revenge.[3]

Excerpt from Little Women

PLAYING PILGRIMS
 
1) “It’s so dreadful to be poor!” sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress. “I don’t think it’s fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things, and other girls nothing at all,” added little Amy, with an injured sniff. “We’ve got Father and Mother, and each other,” said Beth contentedly from her corner.
 
2) The four young faces on which the firelight shone brightened at the cheerful words, but darkened again as Jo said sadly, “We haven’t got Father, and shall not have him for a long time.” She didn’t say “perhaps never,” but each silently added it, thinking of Father far away, where the fighting was. Nobody spoke for a minute; then Meg said in an altered tone, “You know the reason Mother proposed not having any presents this Christmas was because it is going to be a hard winter for everyone; and she thinks we ought not to spend money for pleasure, when our men are suffering so in the army. We can’t do much, but we can make our little sacrifices, and ought to do it gladly. But I am afraid I don’t,” and Meg shook her head, as she thought regretfully of all the pretty things she wanted.
 
3) “But I don’t think the little we should spend would do any good. We’ve each got a dollar, and the army wouldn’t be much helped by our giving that. I agree not to expect anything from Mother or you, but I do want to buy Undine and Sintran for myself. I’ve wanted it so long,” said Jo, who was a bookworm. “I planned to spend mine on new music,” said Beth, with a little sigh, which no one heard but the hearth brush and kettle-holder. “I shall get a nice box of Faber’s drawing pencils; I really need them,” said Amy decidedly.
 
4) “Mother didn’t say anything about our money, and she won’t wish us to give up everything. Let’s each buy what we want, and have a little fun; I’m sure we work hard enough to earn it,” cried Jo, examining the heels of her shoes in a gentle manly manner. “I know I do--teaching those tiresome children nearly all day, when I’m longing to enjoy myself at home,” began Meg, in the complaining tone again. “You don’t have half such a hard time as I do,” said Jo. “How would you like to be shut up for hours with a nervous, fussy old lady, who keeps you trotting, is never satisfied, and worries you till you're ready to fly out the window or cry?”
 
5) “It’s naughty to fret, but I do think washing dishes and keeping things tidy is the worst work in the world. It makes me cross, and my hands get so stiff, I can’t practice well at all.” And Beth looked at her rough hands with a sigh that anyone could hear that time. “I don’t believe any of you suffer as I do,” cried Amy, “for you don’t have to go to school with impertinent girls, who plague you if you don’t know your lessons, and laugh at your dresses, and label your father if he isn’t rich, and insult you when your nose isn’t nice.”
 
6) “Don’t peck at one another, children. Don’t you wish we had the money Papa lost when we were little, Jo? Dear me! How happy and good we’d be, if we had no worries!” said Meg, who could remember better times. “You said the other day you thought we were a deal happier than the King children, for they were fighting and fretting all the time, in spite of their money.” “So I did, Beth. Well, I think we are. For though we do have to work, we make fun of ourselves, and are a pretty jolly set, as Jo would say.”

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GRADE:8

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Word Lists:

Text : a book or other written or printed work, regarded in terms of its content rather than its physical form

Fussy : (of a person) fastidious about one's needs or requirements; hard to please

Regretfully : in a regretful manner

Fret : be constantly or visibly worried or anxious

Tiresome : causing one to feel bored or annoyed

Naughty : (especially of children) disobedient; badly behaved

Tidy : arranged neatly and in order

Impertinent : not showing proper respect; rude

Sniff : draw in air audibly through the nose to detect a smell, to stop it from running, or to express contempt

Hearth : the floor of a fireplace

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Additional Information:

Rating: C

Words: 713

Unique Words : 296

Sentences : 34

Reading Time : 3:10

Noun : 253

Conjunction : 66

Adverb : 32

Interjection : 0

Adjective : 44

Pronoun : 102

Verb : 128

Preposition : 52

Letter Count : 2,896

Sentiment : Positive

Tone : Conversational

Difficult Words : 117

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