Y9 – 04/05/16

Due: 09/05 (Issued: 04/05)


  • How does the writer use language to compare and contrast the four sisters in Little Women?
  • Complete two RACERS paragraphs


  • Full sentences.
  • Two RACERS paragraphs – 5/8 sentences per paragraph.

Sentence Starters

Use this phrase to begin your answer: “In Little Women, Alcott presents the reader with a sketch of the four sisters, focusing on how they each look…”

Remember to structure your response to the question using RACERS!

You must ALSO include the following phrases:

  • “The writer portrays _____________ as…”
  • “In the same way…”“Likewise…”
  • “However…”“In contrast…”
  • “By describing _____________ as _____________ the writer suggests that…”
  • “From this I can infer…”


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

First published 1868. Chapter 1, p.7-8

  1. As young readers like to know ‘how people look’, we will take this moment to give them a little sketch of the four sisters, who sat knitting away in the twilight, while the December snow fell quietly without, and the fire crackled cheerfully within. It was a comfortable room, though the carpet was faded and the furniture very plain, for a good picture or two hung on the walls, books filled the recesses, chrysanthemums and Christmas roses bloomed in the windows, and a pleasant atmosphere of home peace pervaded it.

  2. Margaret, the eldest of the four, was sixteen, and very pretty, being plump and fair, with large eyes, plenty of soft brown hair, a sweet mouth, and white hands, of which she was rather vain.

  3. Fifteen-year-old Jo was very tall, thin, and brown, and reminded one of a colt, for she never seemed to know what to do with her long limbs, which were very much in her way. She had a decided mouth, a comical nose, and sharp, gray eyes, which appeared to see everything, and were by turns fierce, funny, or thoughtful. Her long, thick hair was her one beauty, but it was usually bundled into a net, to be out of her way. Round shoulders had Jo, big hands and feet, a flyaway look to her clothes, and the uncomfortable appearance of a girl who was rapidly shooting up into a woman and didn’t like it.

  4. Elizabeth, or Beth, as everyone called her, was a rosy, smooth- haired, bright-eyed girl of thirteen, with a shy manner, a timid voice, and a peaceful expression which was seldom disturbed. Her father called her ‘Little Miss Tranquility’, and the name suited her excellently, for she seemed to live in a happy world of her own, only venturing out to meet the few whom she trusted and loved.

  5. Amy, though the youngest, was a most important person, in her own opinion at least. A regular snow maiden, with blue eyes, and yellow hair curling on her shoulders, pale and slender, and always carrying herself like a young lady mindful of her manners. What the characters of the four sisters were we will leave to be found out.