The first wedding

Words: 701-800

Skills: Context Clues Summary

Grades: 4th 5th 6th

Topics: Realistic Fiction

Genres: Prose

Lexile Range:

Lexile Measure:

CCSS: Reading: Literature

Themes:

The First Wedding


by Louisa May Alcott from Little Women

Chapter XXV passage: Wedding bells are chiming in the March household as Meg marries John Brooke. This scene from "Little Women" shows the March girls true to form: Jo upsetting the cake, Meg dignified at this important moment, Beth shy as always, and Amy pretty and poised. Students will read the passage and answer questions on the language and the details.

Reading Comprehension Passage

The First Wedding

by Louisa May Alcott from Little Women
Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March are the main characters in the book Little Women. These sisters are growing up during the Civil War. In this passage, Meg, the oldest, has grown up and is marrying John Brooke. Meg's father, Mr. March, is a minister and preforms the ceremony at home. Aunt March is Mr. March's aunt. Laurie is the boy next door, and Hannah is the family servant.

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There were to be no ceremonious performances, everything was to be as natural and homelike as possible; so when Aunt March arrived, she was scandalized to see the bride come running to welcome and lead her in, to find the bridegroom fastening up a garland that had fallen down, and to catch a glimpse of the paternal minister marching upstairs with a grave countenance, and a wine-bottle under each arm.

"Upon my word, here's a state of things!" cried the old lady, taking the seat of honor prepared for her, and settling the folds of her lavender moire with a great rustle. "You oughtn't to be seen till the last minute, child."

"I'm not a show, aunty, and no one is coming to stare at me, to criticise my dress, or count the cost of my luncheon. I'm too happy to care what any one says or thinks, and I'm going to have my little wedding just as I like it. John, dear, here's your hammer;" and away went Meg to help "that man" in his highly improper employment.

Mr. Brooke didn't even say "Thank you," but as he stooped for the unromantic tool, he kissed his little bride behind the folding-door, with a look that made Aunt March whisk out her pocket-handkerchief, with a sudden dew in her sharp old eyes.

A crash, a cry, and a laugh from Laurie, accompanied by the indecorous exclamation, "Jupiter Ammon! Jo's upset the cake again!" caused a momentary flurry, which was hardly over when a flock of cousins arrived, and "the party came in," as Beth used to say when a child.

"Don't let that young giant come near me; he worries me worse than mosquitoes," whispered the old lady to Amy, as the rooms filled, and Laurie's black head towered above the rest.

"He has promised to be very good to-day, and he can be perfectly elegant if he likes," returned Amy, gliding away to warn Hercules to beware of the dragon, which warning caused him to haunt the old lady with a devotion that nearly distracted her.

There was no bridal procession, but a sudden silence fell upon the room as Mr. March and the young pair took their places under the green arch. Mother and sisters gathered close, as if loath to give Meg up; the fatherly voice broke more than once, which only seemed to make the service more beautiful and solemn; the bridegroom's hand trembled visibly, and no one heard his replies; but Meg looked straight up in her husband's eyes, and said, "I will!" with such tender trust in her own face and voice that her mother's heart rejoiced, and Aunt March sniffed audibly.

Jo did not cry, though she was very near it once, and was only saved from a demonstration by the consciousness that Laurie was staring fixedly at her, with a comical mixture of merriment and emotion in his wicked black eyes. Beth kept her face hidden on her mother's shoulder, but Amy stood like a graceful statue, with a most becoming ray of sunshine touching her white forehead and the flower in her hair.

It wasn't at all the thing, I'm afraid, but the minute she was fairly married, Meg cried, "The first kiss for Marmee!" and, turning, gave it with her heart on her lips. During the next fifteen minutes she looked more like a rose than ever, for every one availed themselves of their privileges to the fullest extent, from Mr. Laurence to old Hannah, who, adorned with a head-dress fearfully and wonderfully made, fell upon her in the hall, crying, with a sob and a chuckle, "Bless you, deary, a hundred times! The cake ain't hurt a mite, and everything looks lovely."

Passage Only

Reading Comprehension Questions

1.  What does whisk mean here: "a look that made Aunt March whisk out her pocket-handkerchief"?



2. Who is the "young giant" that Aunt March refers to?



3. Why didn't Jo cry?



4. Find one simile in the passage and name the two things that are compared.