This story of four sisters living in New England during the Civil War is one of the most loved books in literature, particularly with young girls. It is based on timeless concerns, those of females who are just becoming "little" or young women. Louisa May Alcott followed the maxim that one should write about familiar things and infused her tale with autobiographical elements. Her biography states that she lived in New England as a girl and did have three sisters. It is unknown whether the true personalities of the Alcott sisters match that of the March sisters. Mother March, known as "Marmee" holds the family together while her husband is serving as a soldier. Marmee seems to be a relatively minor character in the novel. The sisters are the focus. Jo is Alcott herself. Strong-willed and independent, Jo (short for Josephine) hopes to become a writer. Beth, the most maternal of the girls, tends to the home. Unfortunately, she contracts scarlet fever after tending to another family's child. This character's death may be the first experience a young reader may have with loss. Meg, the oldest daughter, also deals with the loss of the financial stability the family once had. Amy seems to be a character who would be comfortable in the 21st Century. Her self-absorption and vanity appear traits shared with many teens today. Amy and the young gentleman, Theodore "Laurie" Lawrence eventually marry, although Jo and Laurie might have been a better match. Despite Jo's independent nature, she also finds love with Professor Bhaer, a German scholar older than the aspiring writer. Jo's future is set as she inherits a manor from an aunt. At the end of the novel, she and her husband open a school for boys.