* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: Great Aunt March is a bitter old lady, and the girls have very little love for her. But after she dies, Marmee implies that she was really just very lonely - "her blessings became a burden because she had none to share them with" - and the girls acting as her companions could be just because the old lady wants ''some'' company and attention since she never had children of her own.
* DieForOurShip: Poor Amy. To this day there are still people invested in demonising her for preventing Jo/Laurie. [[DoubleStandard While conveniently letting Laurie off the hook, despite him pushing his feelings on Jo to the point of getting rejected twice]].
* FairForItsDay:
** The series was actually comparatively feminist by the standards of the time - especially ''Jo's Boys'', which is set in a co-ed college, struggles openly with the concepts of gender equality, and comes to some surprisingly modern conclusions. Nan in particular is portrayed as a capable and independent young woman who treats Tommy Bangs' insistence on their ChildhoodMarriagePromise with amusement, choosing to pursue her medical studies instead and becoming a successful single doctor. Daisy's own choice to marry her ChildhoodFriendRomance Nat and become a {{Housewife}} is ''also'' seen as valid and worthy of respect.
** Josie puts it to Mr March directly:
--->"Grandpa, must women always obey men and say they are the wisest, just because they are the strongest?" she cried, looking fiercely at her cousin, who came stalking up with a provoking smile on the boyish face that was always very comical atop of that tall figure.

--->"Well, my dear, that is the old-fashioned belief, and it will take some time to change it. But I think the woman's hour has struck; and it looks to me as if the boys must do their best, for the girls are abreast now, and may reach the goal first," answered Mr March, surveying with paternal satisfaction the bright faces of the young women, who were among the best students in the college.
* FanPreferredCouple: Jo and Laurie. The original 19th century fandom also shipped them. Alcott put him with Amy partly out of annoyance at their focus on the romance.
* FirstInstallmentWins: The first book has been adapted many times - including five films. The sequels get less adaptations love.
* HilariousInHindsight:
** An out-of-universe example in Alcott's journal about her publisher's request to write a book for girls (info in brackets added by troper):
--->Marmee, Anna (Meg's real-life counterpart), and May (Amy's real-life counterpart) all approve my plan. So I plod away, though I donít enjoy this sort of thing. Never liked girls or knew many, except my sisters, but our queer plays and experiences may prove interesting, though I doubt it.
---> (Added later after the novel's publication and success) [[LampshadeHanging Good joke.]]
** At the end of ''Little Women'' one of the students at the Bhaers' school is [[ModelMinority "a merry little quadroon, who could not be taken in elsewhere"]]. By the time Ms Alcott wrote ''Little Men'' this character had been replaced with [[BadButt (mixed-race) Dan]]. Now imagine Dan with "the sweetest voice of all.".
* HollywoodHomely: All the movie adaptations have cast very beautiful actresses to interpret the self-described "plain" Jo March, leading to the unintentionally hilarious moment when Jo has her hair cut off and a very shocked Amy cries: "Jo, your one beauty!". The Winona Ryder version even has her declare that she is "ugly and awkward". At least Creator/KatharineHepburn in the most famous earlier adaptation isn't a classic beauty, and manages to make young Jo coltish and a bit clumsy.
* ItWasHisSled: Beth dies, and you can thank ''{{Series/Friends}}'' for giving it away. Although it happens earlier, it's also widely known that Jo and Laurie don't end up together.
* MisaimedFandom: Alcott was upset to see her female readers focus less on Jo's struggle to be a writer and live her life the way she wanted to, and much more on whether she and Laurie would or not end up married. Hence why her ShipSinking was so determined.
-->"Girls write to ask who the Little Women will marry, as if that were the only aim of a woman's life. I won't marry Jo to Laurie to please anyone."
* {{Moe}}: Beth, as she's an IllGirl but still very sweet. Margaret O'Brien proved to be such in the 1949 film, reducing her co-star June Allyson to tears during one emotional scene.
* {{Narm}}: The "Jo, your one beauty!" line from Amy after the former cuts off her hair tends to come off like this on film, as it's missing the narrator's careful buildup re: Jo's appearance. Without it, the line reads as Amy [[BrutalHonesty being rather blunt about how bad your sister looks now, aren't you dear?]]
* NarmCharm: ''Literature/LittleWomen'' plots a course through [[PurpleProse wildly extravagant and sentimental prose]], {{A|nAesop}}esops (some of them [[FamilyUnfriendlyAesop rather questionable]]) in [[OncePerEpisode nearly every chapter]]... and comes out as a gripping romantic drama with a deserved place in the highest pantheon of American literature.
* RonTheDeathEater: Some people go overboard with bashing the Hummels for getting Beth sick - as if it was part of some evil plot.
* TheScrappy: Amy is widely disliked among fans, and not just for DieForOurShip. As a child, she's a bratty little thing, and burns Jo's manuscript just because she doesn't get taken to the theatre. And when she grows up, she becomes so annoyingly perfect that it feels like CharacterShilling
* ShippingGoggles: Jo puts on her Beth/Laurie shipping goggles in the chapter "Tender Troubles".
* TastesLikeDiabetes:
** Can come across as such to a modern reader unused to the straight-forwardly sentimental tone and earnest moralising very typical of children's literature of the time.
** Beth in the 1949 film version is so cloyingly cute that her scenes lose their poignancy.
* UnintentionallySympathetic: Jo, when Amy [[DisproportionateRetribution burns her manuscript]] because Jo doesn't take her on an outing to the theatre. As per the moral imperative, the intended focus of the chapter (actually called "Jo Meets Apollyon") is clearly Jo's recognition of and resolve to control her violent temper. The modern reader is much more likely to hone in on the fact that it was the only copy of the manuscript that Jo had spent years pouring her heart into. Adding to which Amy, however genuinely remorseful at first, quickly starts to get petulant when she isn't forgiven right away. And when Jo goes out skating with Laurie, leading Amy to whine about missing another outing, [[UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom Meg]] doesn't help matters at all by blithely suggesting that the little girl tag along where she clearly isn't wanted.
* ValuesDissonance: Unavoidable, given the books were written circa 1870.
** The initial relationship between Jo and Bhaer seems [[NoSparks weirdly unromantic]] by modern standards, especially compared to what one might expect for [[SpiritedYoungLady young, spirited, independent Jo]]. The 1994 film goes out of its way to give them a more romantic love story.
** Jo's, [[AuthorAppeal and the author's]], open fangirling over German thought and culture, while very much in keeping with the fashions of the time (yes, there was a period during which Germans were stereotyped as sentimental philosophers) eventually got a little awkward given German-American relations in the first half of the 20th century. Things have improved dramatically since, of course, but it's still faintly bemusing to the modern reader.
** In ''Little Men'' [[EducationMama Billy Ward's father]] is illustrated as having pushed his son's education far too hard by "keeping him at his books six hours a day". Nowadays six-hour school days are the bare minimum (not counting homework). Internationally some school days go as long as sixteen hours. (Although odds are Billy was doing the same reading and writing the whole time, without any of the breaks for recess, liberal arts, etc. that are considered healthy today.)
*** This shows up again more explicitly in one of Alcott's non-March novels, ''Jack and Jill''. Near the end of which Jack's mother - portrayed throughout as a cultured and thoughtful woman - informs her sons she's going to cut back their study hours drastically, for their own good. This is taken to the extent of deliberately delaying the older brother's entry into college. Hilariously to the modern reader, the boys protest loudly at this, to no avail.
** The opening chapter of ''Jo's Boys'' unceremoniously informs us that [[BuryYourDisabled physically disabled Dick and mentally disabled Billy]] are [[KilledOffscreen dead now]]. And "no one could mourn for them, since life would never be happy, afflicted as they were in mind and body". While the idea that [[FateWorseThanDeath death is preferable to disability]] is still around, [[FamilyUnfriendlyAesop it's far less acceptable]], let alone charitable or sympathetic.
** Right after John Brooke's death, Professor Bhaer tells his students he "died as he has lived, so cheerfully, so peacefully, that it seems a sin to mar the beauty of it with any violent or selfish grief." [[EmotionsVsStoicism Getting upset about the unexpected death of a close friend and relative as "selfish" and "a sin" would be an extremely hard sell in a children's book today.]]
** Interestingly, the different film versions of ''Little Women'' all echo the values of the time in which they were made, to the point of contradicting each other:
--->[[http://www.womenwriters.net/domesticgoddess/thesis5.htm When we view the 1933 version, we are reminded of a nation during the Depression that needed to see the March girls' benign poverty and nostalgic family togetherness. The 1949 version, with its two shopping trips, reinforces how important it is for a woman to be a consumer, and the 1994 version supports strong, unconventional, feminist women.]]
** While LittleWomen is usually very FairForItsDay, there are still plenty of moments where we're reminded that girls should hold AcceptableFeminineGoalsAndTraits above all others. Even {{Tomboy}} Jo says:
--->"My girls shall learn all I can teach them about [needlework], even if they give up the Latin, Algebra, and half-a-dozen ologies it is considered necessary for girls to muddle their poor brains over now-a-days."
** In ''Jo's Boys'', 24-year-old Dan is secretly in love with [[JailBait 15-year-old Bess]]. Jo tells him it can never happen (because of the [[UptownGirl class difference]], not the age difference) but [[HerosMuse encourages him to keep carrying a torch for her because it will inspire him to be a good person]].
* TheWoobie: [[IllGirl Beth.]] Jo definitely has her moments as well.
** Nat Blake the HeartwarmingOrphan.
** InspirationallyDisabled Dick Brown and Billy Ward.
----