YMMV: Little Women

  • Die for Our Ship: Poor Amy. To this day there are still people invested in demonising her (and apparently Professor Bhaer) for preventing Jo/Laurie. While conveniently letting *Laurie* off the hook, despite him pushing his feelings on Jo to the point of getting rejected twice.
  • Fair for Its Day: 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. In particular, Annie aka Nan is portrayed as a capable and independent young woman who treats Tommy Bangs' insistence on their Childhood Marriage Promise with open amusement, choosing to pursue her medical studies instead and ending up a successful single doctor. All the while Daisy's own choice to marry her Victorious Childhood Friend Nat and become a House Wife 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.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Jo and Laurie. The original 19th century fandom also shipped them.
  • First Installment Wins
  • Fridge Horror: Mr. Laurence gives Beth his dead granddaughter's piano. So...Laurie had a sister or cousin?
    • According to some versions of the book, Laurie had an older sister who died when both of them were little kids. It's not said how she died, but it may have been an illness since Laurie himself was kind of an Ill Boy as a child.
  • Heartwarming Moment: The very end of the 1994 film:
    Bhaer: But I have nothing to give you! My hands are empty!
    Jo: (taking his hand) Not empty now.
    • "I know I shall be homesick for you, even in Heaven."
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: 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) Good joke
  • Hollywood Homely: Most, if not all, of the movie adaptations 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 Katharine Hepburn in the most famous earlier adaptation isn't a classic beauty, and manages to make young Jo coltish and a bit clumsy.
    • This could also be said of the latest incarnation of Professor Bhaer, aka Gabriel Byrne.
  • It Was His Sled: Beth's fate.
  • Misaimed Fandom: 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 Ship Sinking 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.
  • Narm Charm: Little Women plots a course through Mary Sues, wildly extravagant and sentimental prose, Aesops (some of them rather questionable) in nearly every chapter... and comes out as a gripping romantic drama with a deserved place in the highest pantheon of American literature.
  • Purity Sue: Amy grows from a vain, spoiled, pretentious, tantrum-throwing little girl into the unabashed epitome of tact, taste, beauty and gentility as a woman, with next-to-no warning. Partly understandable when you realise she was based on Alcott's own younger sister May, who died after the book was published and left her daughter Louisa to be raised by Alcott. Also, Amy is kept deliberately in the background of the sequels, and is described as someone who doesn't seem to age — as a way for Alcott to remember her dead sister and cope with her absence.
    • Beth is so sweet and kind and is the only sister with no apparent flaws, aside from shyness and low self esteem. She always had elements of Sympathetic Sue as well, even before she became an Ill Girl. Her real life counterpart died, too.
    • Daisy is described as Beth incarnate in the end of Little Women and reminds Jo of Beth again in Little Men. Arguable, since while she has Sue-ish qualities she doesn't seal the spotlight.
    • The "Princess" Bess in Jo's Boys, which none of her fellow characters would ever try to deny.
  • Shipping Goggles: Jo puts on her Beth/Laurie shipping goggles in the chapter "Tender Troubles."
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: 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.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Jo, when Amy burns her manuscript when the latter doesn't take her on an outing to the theatre. As per the moral imperative mentioned in Tastes Like Diabetes above, the intended focus of the chapter (actually called "Jo Meets Apollyon", ie. her ultimate failing) is clearly Jo's recognition of and resolve to control her violent temper. The modern reader is much more likely to home 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, Meg doesn't help matters at all by blithely suggesting that the little girl tag along where she clearly isn't wanted.
  • Values Dissonance: Unavoidable, given the books were written circa 1870.
  • The Woobie: Beth. Jo definitely has her moments as well.