“I am not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” (Alcott) This quotation is from a famous American author Louisa May Alcott who wrote the classic American novel Little women. This paper aims to discuss Louisa May Alcott’s life and her accomplishments.
Louisa May Alcott is an American novelist and poet. She was born on November 29, 1832, in Germantown, Pennsylvania on her father’s 33rd birthday. Her father Bronson Alcott, an educator, transcendentalist and philosopher. Her mother Abigail May Alcott is a social worker. She was the second of the four Alcott sisters”,: Anna Bronson Alcott was the eldest; Elizabeth Sewall Alcott and Abigail May Alcott were the two youngest.(Li)
The Alcott family had moved to many places. The family moved to Boston in 1834. Moving twenty two times in thirty years, the Alcotts returned to Concord once again in 1857 and moved into Orchard House, a two-story clapboard farmhouse, in the spring of 1858.( “Louisa May Alcott’s life”)
Alcott’s early education included lessons from the naturalist Henry David Thoreau. He inspired her to write Thoreau’s Flute based on her time at Walden’s Pond. Most of the education she received though, came from her father who was strict and believed in “the sweetness of self-denial.” She also received some instruction from many writers and educators such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, and Julia Ward Howe, all of whom were family friends. (“Louisa May Alcott ”)
In her later life, she has never married. After her youngest sister May died in 1879, Louisa took over for the care of niece, Lulu, who was named after Louisa.
Alcott suffered chronic health issues in her later years, as well as vertigo.
She died of a stroke at age 55 in Boston, on March 6, 1888, two days after her father’s death. Lulu, her niece was only eight years when Louisa died. (“Louisa May Alcott’s biography”)
Alcott had to work as a teacher, seamstress, governess, domestic helper and writer at an early age to help her family. Due to all of those pressures, writing became a creative and emotional outlet for Alcott. Her first novel was Flower Fables (1849), a selection of tales originally written for Ellen Emerson, daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Her most well known novel is the Little Women series. Little Women was well received, it is suitable for many age groups.( Suzanne)
Louisa May Alcott’s accomplishments have a lot to do with her life. Her childhood and family background make her an independent person with a unique personality.
The March family lives in an old house. Mr. March went to join the army, leaving his wife and four teenage daughters at home. Meg March，The oldest March sister. She is conventional and good.
Jo is the second March sister. she is an outspoken tomboy with a passion for writing, dreams to become a writer. Beth is gentle and quiet, likes to play the piano. Amy is the youngest, she is artistic and good at manipulating other people. Mrs. March is kind and helpful. Although she is not wealthy, she often helps the poor.
Under the influence of the mother, the four sisters with good intentions also often help the poor. They even gave the long-awaited Christmas breakfast to a poor German. After hearing about the incident, their neighbor, Mr. Lawrence, appreciated the little girls and prepared a sumptuous meal as a Christmas gift for them. Joe and his Mr. Lawrence’s grandson Laurie were in love and became good friends. Meg was at the sight of Laurie’s tutor, John.
Amy, who loves all things, sometimes has a friction with her second sister Jo, but they will return to it soon. A telegram brought an unfortunate news: Mr. March was seriously hospitalized. Mrs. March immediately rushed to Washington. When the mother just left, Beth was infected with scarlet fever while caring for the poor family. The March family was shrouded in a layer of gloom.
The four sisters passed the storm with great courage. Soon, the mother and the father who recovered from the illness returned home, and Beth began to recover. The March family was happily reunited.
Four years later, Meg and John have a good relationship and are married. Laurie, who had graduated from college, told Joe about his love, but he was rejected. Laurie left home in Europe with anger. In France, he met Amy, who was sent to Europe to study painting by her aunt. They talked very speculatively and had a deeper understanding of each other. At this time, Joe had been a female teacher in New York and met an amiable German tutor, Mr. Bhaer.
After receiving news that her sister Bain was in danger, Jo did not have time to say goodbye to Bhaer but to rushed back home. Beth is dead. With great grief, Jo write down a novel based on the real life of her family. Soon, Meg gave birth to a pair of twins, and Laurie returned to Concord with his newly married wife Amy. The March family was busy again.
Jo inherits her aunt’s house and adopted the advice of her mother and converted it into a school. One day, Bhaer appeared again in front of Jo. Jo asked Bhaer to stay and teach at her school. He kissed her and accepted the suggestion. They soon get married.
The novel ends with the family happily gathered together, each sister thankful for her blessings and for each other.
She is beautiful and well-mannered, not enticed by the money. She becomes the household when her mother is absent. Meg also guards Amy from Josephine when the two quarrels, just as Josephine protects Beth. Meg is employed as a governess for the Kings, a wealthy local family. Because of the genteel social standing of her family, Meg is allowed into society. However, after a few disappointing experiences, Meg learns that true worth does not lie with money. She marries Mr. Josephinehn Brooke, Laurie’s tutor, whom she falls in love with, and bears two kids.
She is the protagonist of the novel. She is outspoken and has a passion for writing. Her nature often gets her into trouble, but her heart often pushes her into acts of kindness. She writes articles for the newspaper to gain the payment to increase the daily necessities to the family. When Beth comes down with scarlet fever, she cuts off her long hair and sells it to earn money for her mother to visit their sick father. Jo receives a marriage proposal from her girlhood friend and neighbor Laurie, but she refuses him. Later, she moves to New York, and meets Professor Bhaer and marries him.
Beth is a quiet, kind, considerate and shy young woman, she does anything without complain. She also helps her mother with the housework. She is a sweet girl with a round young face and brown hair. Beth helps her mother nurture poor families at the beginning of the novel. Later, when her mother is in Washington caring for their father, Beth comes down with scarlet fever, while looking after a family with sick children. Before Mrs. March arrives, Beth recovers but she is left permanently weakened by the illness. In her final illness, she overcomes her quietness when she discusses the spiritual significance of her death to Jo.
The youngest sister—Amy, she is interested in arts. She is also very kind and she regards supporting the poor people as her own faith. She has curly golden hair and blue eyes. When Beth is sick, Amy is sent to stay with Aunt March as a safety precaution. Amy’s natural grace and docility makes Aunt March grows fond of her. Amy is invited to accompany Uncle and Aunt Carrol and cousin Flo’s as a companion on a European trip. In Europe, she meets Laurie. After Beth dies, they marry. Later, Amy gives birth to daughter Elizabeth.
Because the March girls can’t afford jewels and silks on their working class budget, they often adorn themselves with flowers. It seems that, in the world of Little Women at any rate, ideal beauty is natural, simple, and wholesome. The blooms that the March girls adorn themselves with therefore become symbolic of ideal beauty, as well as a commentary on the less ideal beauty valued by those with wealth.
The Turquoise Ring
When Amy goes to live with Aunt March during Beth’s bout of scarlet fever, it is revealed that Aunt March plans to give her a turquoise ring as a reward for her “good behavior and charming manners.” It’s during her time at Aunt March’s house that Amy becomes a more religious and pious person. This ring can be seen as symbolizing the reward of Heaven after a life of earthly toil. It can also be seen as symbolizing the worldly riches that Amy will inherit as her life unfolds, given that she is able to cross class boundaries and enter the upper class.
Family duty and personal growth
At the time when the author wrote the novel, progress toward gender equality was made slowly in America. The author explores four possible ways to deal with being a woman bound by the constraints of nineteenth-century social expectations through the four different sisters: marry young and create a new family, as Meg does; be subservient and dutiful to one’s parents and immediate family, as Beth is; focus on one’s art, pleasure, and person, as Amy does at first; or struggle to live both a dutiful family life and a meaningful professional life, as Jo does.
Importance of work
Over the course of little women, the March sisters attempt to find happiness through daily activities, their dreams, and each other; however once they don’t interact in any productive work, they end up guilty and remorseful. When they enjoys selfishness by dressing up in attire, hoarding limes, neglecting chores, or getting revenge, the girls find themselves sad. The only method they find meaningful happiness is when they are working, either for a living or for the benefit of their families. The novel demonstrates the importance of the work ethic, that dictates that it is holy to work.