Little Women: Louisa May Alcott Essay

2694 words - 11 pages

ISU PHASE II:Uncovering the Women of the mid-1800sSze YinnOctober 2, 2014.ENG3UMiss Frei.Authors are often inspired by what they see, think and fear before they can write a noble book. Through writing, authors express what they feel about the things that happen around the world. By writing their feelings, thoughts and experiences on paper, authors express their emotions and convey a message to the readers. The Little Women by Louisa May Alcott addressed how women had to deal with social expectations in the 19th century. The book was first published in 1868 and was considered by many critics as a paradigmatic text for young women of the era. The book shows how women had to live with the social expectancies of the century and depicts how it changes throughout the years. In fact, in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, the author's life, the environment where she lived in, and the world at the time have influenced the production of the novel. The absence of Alcott's father and the death of her beloved sister left a deep wound in Alcott's life. The state that she grew up in, New England, gave her a view on the social expectations of women and Boston, the place where she pursued her career emphasized on the importance of gender equality. Lastly, the world in the late 1860's impacted Alcott to make connections with her award-winning novel. Therefore, the author's life experiences, the world she lived in, and the world in general do impact how Louisa May Alcott conveys her views through The Little Women.To begin with, most authors' life experiences affect how they write. The Little Women is a reflection of Alcott's personal life. Firstly, Alcott was brought up in the Northeastern part of the United States and grew up with three other sisters, Anna, Elizabeth and Abigail. (Louisa May Alcott) Elizabeth, Alcott's younger sister contracted scarlet fever from a poor family she was helping out with. Eventually she recovers but dies two years later caused by her weakened state from the scarlet fever. (Elizabeth Sewall Alcott) Similar to the characters in Alcott's book, Jo March grows up with three other sisters, Meg, Beth and Amy. The third sister of the March family, Beth, caught scarlet fever but recovers from it. Due to the effects of the Scarlet fever, Beth dies two years later before reaching adulthood. In Chapter 40 of the novel, Alcott mentioned how she felt about the departure of her sister with the following quote:"With tears and prayers and tender hands, Mother and sisters made her ready for the long sleep that pain would never mar again, seeing with grateful eyes the beautiful serenity that soon replaced the pathetic patience that had wrung their hearts so long… a face so full of painless peace that those who loved it best smiled through their tears, and thanked God that Beth was well at last." (Alcott, 736)The passage is a part of Jo March's mixed feelings towards the departure of her younger sister, Beth. Jo expressed her feelings about being...

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