Little Women: Novel Summary: Chapter 38- Chapter 40

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Chapter 38: As Meg began her life with her children, she made the mistake of forgetting life with her husband.  She neglected John and her housework to take care of the babies, and after a while John began spending his evenings away from home at the Scott's house.  Six months went by and nothing seemed to improve.  Finally, Marmee came over one day to find Meg crying.  She asked what was the matter and Meg told her that John never spent any time at home or with her anymore.  Marmee made her see that it was partly her fault for neglecting him, and told her eldest daughter to let John help more with the kids.  She also offered Hannah's services as a nurse so Meg could get a break from the babies.  Meg consented and when John came home, he found a prettily dressed and attentive wife.  Demi, however, made the evening difficult by refusing to go bed.  John stepped in however, and used his authority as father and made him go to bed.  Meg was thankful for the help, and that evening she tried discussing politics with him, which he was passionate about, and he was grateful for her interest.  She then told him about her conversation with her mother, and after that, the house became a much happier place for the both of them. 
Chapter 39: Laurie spent a few months with Amy in Europe and through all that time, Amy began to like him less and less.  Because she was a lady however, she did not show her annoyance and spent the majority of her time with him.  One day they took a drive together so Amy could draw, and she brought up her problems with him.  She told him he was lazy, and that he was wasting his life away.  He shrugged her comments off for a moment until they actually started hurting him, and he realized then that the way he was living his life was wrong.  Amy discerned that his problems stemmed from a broken heart, and finally realized Jo was the one who had broken it.  They talked about it, and Laurie, still unhappy with but grateful to Amy for her comments, said he would change.  The next morning Amy found a note from him, saying he had neglected his duties long enough and he had gone back to his grandfather.  Amy was happy he was getting his life back on track, but sad to lose his company.
Chapter 40: The family gave the brightest room in the house to Beth and filled with the things she loved.  Beth spent her last happy days giving away her things to little children who walked by the house, and in the warmth and love of her family.  Finally, however, she lost the strength to even sew and took to her bed.  Jo never left her side after this point, and slept on the couch or on the carpet of her room.  While Jo was sleeping there on evening, Beth opened a book by her bedside, and out fell a poem that Jo had written about her.  Beth read it, astonished that she meant so much to her sister, and that her life helped someone.  Jo awoke, and Beth asked her about it.  Jo told her that everything she said in the poem was true, and this more than anything, touched Beth.  Early in the morning, Beth drew her last breath, and died peacefully in her mother's arms. 

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