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Little Women - Are you Jo, Amy, Beth, or Meg?

Which March sister are you: Jo, Amy Meg or Beth? We look at Greta Gerwig’s new adaptation of Little Women to figure out the personality and life path each character represents, and how we can still take inspiration from them today.

TRANSCRIPT

If you’ve read Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women or seen one of the adaptations, no doubt you wondered at some point… which March sister you’d be. Until recently, audiences would have overwhelmingly wanted to be Jo.

She’s been far and away the most popular March sister since the story was written, cast in a favorable light in both the novel and the 1994 film. But Greta Gerwig’s 2019 adaptation Little Women makes a conscious effort to do justice to all four of the March sister’s personalities and choices.

Meg March: “Just because my dreams are different than yours, doesn’t mean they’re unimportant.” - Little Women (2019)

According to Saoirse Ronan, who plays Jo, these four very different characters “all allow a young girl to see themselves.” So there’s no better time to look at how each of these four impressive little women represents a path in life that modern audiences can still take inspiration from. Here’s our Take on Which March Sister You’d Be.

Are You a Jo? The Creative Nonconformist

We know you came to find out whether you’re still a Jo, right? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

You’re a Jo if:

You’re a nonconformist.

Jo March: “But I want to do something different. I don’t know what it is yet but I’m on the watch for it.” - Little Women (1994)

You might be a tomboy and are probably not interested in presenting a traditionally feminine appearance. As Gerwig told Vanity Fair, “Jo is a girl with a boy’s name, Laurie is a boy with a girl’s name. In some ways, they are each other’s twins… they find each other before they’ve committed to a gender,” and “it wouldn’t be wrong to call Saoirse handsome and Timothée beautiful. Both have a slightly androgynous quality that makes them perfect for these characters.”

Whether you’re a writer or another creative of some kind, you’re consumed with a desire to express yourself and have a voice.

You’re hardworking, ambitious, and willing to give up everything else for your dreams. Jo wants to be a writer more than anything in the world—even if that means sacrificing a good deal of other happiness.

Jo March: “You oughta be the happiest boy in the world.”

Laurie Laurence: “Oh a fellow cannot live on books alone.”

Jo March: “I could.” - Little Women (2019)

You have a temper and might say things you regret when you’re mad.

Jo March: “When I get into passion, I get so savage I could hurt anyone and I’d enjoy it.” - Little Women (2019)

You’re a feminist—your ambitions aren’t just for yourself. It matters to you that other women also get the chance to live out their full potential.

Jo March: “And I’m so sick of people saying that love is just all a woman is fit for is so sick of it.” - Little Women (2019)

You’re determined, to the point of appearing fearless to others, but privately you sometimes have doubts.

You might not be interested in getting married at all. Louisa May Alcott never married herself, but became a rich and famous author who didn’t need a man to support her. This is also the fate Alcott wanted for the character who stands in for her in this semi-autobiographical story. And that’s why she refused to marry Jo to fan-favorite Laurie.

Jo March: “I’d hate elegant society, you’d hate my scribbling and we would be unhappy and we’d wish we hadn’t done it and everything would be horrid.” - Little Women (2019)

But Alcott’s publisher pressured Alcott to give Jo a husband, and the author compromised with a less conventional match, the older Professor Bhaer. Gerwig’s movie nods to this meta-story by having Jo face the same pressure for her fictional alter ego:

Mr. Dashwood: “And if the main character is a girl, make sure she’s married by the end.” - Little Women (2019)

Alcott later regretted her ending; She wrote, “Jo should have remained a literary spinster,”

If you’re a Jo today, you might be queer. Some believe Alcott herself was gay. She once said in an interview, “I am more than half-persuaded that I am a man’s soul, put by some freak of nature into a woman’s body. I have fallen in love in my life with so many pretty girls and never once the least bit with any man.”

So you’re a Jo if you’re willing to totally flout convention to prioritize what you want to achieve. As compelling as we might find Little Women‘s heroine, most of us don’t fit that description of the totally uncompromising rebel who doesn’t care what society thinks of her. So now let’s talk about Amy.

Are You an Amy? The Romantic Realist

Little Women fans through the years have traditionally looked down on the youngest March sister, writing her off as a vain, shallow little brat. In the book and the 1994 film, beginning the story when Amy is a young, immature girl biases many people against her.

But Gerwig’s film undoes this partiality by starting with these women as adults and intercutting with flashbacks to their childhood identities. So even though we do see Florence Pugh’s Amy acting self-indulgent as a girl, we get more time with developed, adult Amy, and this helps us respect and relate more to the character’s point of view.

Amy March: “I want to be great or nothing.” - Little Women (2019)

Amy is actually a lot like Jo in key ways:

Both are assertive and uncompromising.

Both can be impulsive and hot-headed…

Both are very ambitious artists.

And both are seriously talented—apparently the Alcott sister Amy was based on even exhibited her paintings in Paris and London.

The main thing that truly distinguishes these two sisters… is that Amy is pragmatic. After beginning as a dreamy romantic, Amy grows up into a realist.

Amy March: “Well, I’m not a poet. I’m just a woman.” - Little Women (2019)

Jo and Amy want the same thing—to make art and live a beautiful, stimulating life. The key difference is how they go after this goal: Jo is determined to make her living as a writer, while Amy plans to make a life through marrying someone with money.

In Amy’s eyes, this practical strategy is a far more effective way to provide for her family and continue her art. So whereas Jo willfully ignores her society’s rules, Amy believes it’s smarter to play within them.

Amy March: So don’t sit there and tell me that marriage isn’t an economic proposition because it is. It may not be for you, but it most certainly is for me.” - Little Women (2019)

A Slytherin to Jo’s Gryffindor, she does what it takes to get the things that were initially promised to Jo - the trip to Europe, a life with Laurie, and (the audience’s) wish-fulfillment. She’s the only March sister to end up rich, happily in love, and practicing her art. Frankly, many of us might readily choose Amy’s life over Jo’s.

So, to sum up, you’re an Amy if:

You’re successful, and always knew you would be.

Amy March: “I’ve always known I would marry rich, why should I be ashamed of that?” - Little Women (2019)

You enjoy girly stuff like dressing up. You’re more traditionally feminine than your sister—and there’s nothing wrong with that. Jo may not care about the perfect wedding with the perfect guy, but Amy does want that (just like countless viewers and readers).

As a young person, you might be a little spoiled… but for the most part, you grow out of this.

You’re moved by aesthetics. Amy’s most typically maligned qualities—her vanity and desire for nice things—come from her artist’s love of beauty. As Alcott wrote of her real-life sister in 1854, “She is so graceful and pretty and loves beauty so much, it is hard for her to be poor and wear other people’s ugly things”.

You’re cosmopolitan, cultured, and you take pleasure in the luxuries your lifestyle has to offer you.

You understand how the world works and make the most of it. You know what you want and demand a life that lives up to your dreams. True, most women can’t “have it all,” but you see yourself as the exception.

Are You a Beth? The Selfless Good Citizen

You’re a Beth if:

You’re a total sweetheart.

You’re a good citizen. You get your life purpose from giving help to those who need it. Your job probably involves caring for people, and maybe a modern Beth would even embrace activism (but nothing too confrontational).

You’re selfless.

Meg March: “Beth, what’s your Christmas wish?” Beth March: “I’d like the war to end, so Father can come home.” - Little Women (1994)

This Beth’s greatest strength—and her fatal flaw. She always puts others’ needs first, as we see when she goes to help the poor family that has Scarlet Fever. But Beth’s altruism gets her sick, and when this happens she doesn’t even want to bother Amy, for fear her sister would come home to see her. This extreme self-sacrifice can be detrimental. Even in Little Women‘s time, this character took submissiveness a little too far.

Beth March: “I never saw myself as anything much.” - Little Women (1994)

So if you’re a Beth, it’s important to make things about yourself every once in a while.

You’re the peacekeeper… you don’t care about being right or winning an argument.

You stay out of the spotlight, and you’re shy with people you don’t know. You sometimes wish you were braver but you have a close-knit group of loved ones you open up to.

All you need is your family… and your piano. You’re content without pushing for a lot more than you have. Maybe you should be more assertive and ask for more—but this total inner peace is also what makes you an angel on Earth.

Are You a Meg? The Proud Mama and Homemaker

You’re a Meg if…

You feel your life’s purpose is to be a wife and mother.

Meg March: “I want a home and a family.” - Little Women (2019)

The ideal “little woman” of her times, Meg dreams of being a homemaker, which is exactly what her society encourages. But for Meg, getting married and being a mom is being true to her authentic self. Many women to this day feel exactly the same. And Gerwig’s film sends the message that—even if the popular narrative has shifted toward glorifying Jo’s independence over Meg’s family life—neither choice is better than the other. The point is about owning whatever you really want.

You’re pretty, and this may have gone to your head a little. Meg is vain.

You don’t have the backbone of a Jo or an Amy. Meg can be too easily swayed by others’ opinions or external pressures.

You long for a materially comfortable lifestyle. Like Amy, Meg is attracted to luxury and elite circumstances. This is partly because, as the eldest sister, she can remember a time when the family wasn’t poor and has seen the difference money makes.

Meg March: “I shouldn’t mind living in such a fine house and having nice things. Ah, It doesn’t seem like Christmas this year without presents.” - Little Women (1994)

But unlike Amy, Meg still puts her heart above these concerns when she falls for a man who’s not rich.

In our modern times, Meg would probably want to be a Stay-at-Home Mom, but she might have to work to bring in enough income. So If you’re a Meg, you might sometimes crave more excitement and money in the bank, but overall you’re fulfilled by being a domestic goddess.

So, Which One Are You?

Gerwig has said she wanted to emphasize that all of the March sisters are very impressive - so really being like any of these characters is a worthy goal. All four are staunchly feminist, love each other dearly, and complement each other to create a harmonious family. The world needs Jos, Amys, Megs and Beths—and more. No matter who you are, Little Women teaches you to love yourself, live your truth, and follow whichever dream is yours.

Saorise Ronan: “I think that what’s really special about this is that everyone has their moment to go like, ‘This is who I am, this is why I am the way I am—I am this March sister.’” - Access Hollywood