According to “Louisa May Alcott Biography.com (1832–1888), Louisa May Alcott was
one of the America’s best-known writers of young people fiction. Alcott showed
the lives of four sisters and their dreams Louisa May Alcott’s in Little Women
showed the difficulties that are communicated with the gender roles between
women and men during the Civil War in America. The civil war was a clear
metaphor for internal conflict of four little women girls. The story was based
on the childhood experiences Alcott shared with her real-life sisters, Anna,
May, and Elizabeth.
According to “Nicola Watson” the publication of little women in 1868
that talks about a founding myth of American girlhood. The story of a family of
four girls and how they grow up during the American Civil War. (Louisa May
Alcott, little women (1868-9)”p.13-17″.
This essay will talk about the difference between four sisters and their
dreams but the difference in the character of Jo and Laurie because they want
to reach to their dreams but the society at that time refused the working woman
like jo s character as well as Laurie wanted to work as a musician but the
society refused this job and his father wants him to work as a businessman. The
second point will talk about Louisa May Alcott that defense the individual
rights of men in the character of Laurie. The third point talks about the articles
that support the idea. The final point whether agreeing or disagree with the
quote and then conclusion of the essay.
According to “Little
Women”: Alcott’s Civil War” by Judith Fetterley, The overt
messages of Little Women are clearly presented in the first two chapters Which
are called “Playing Pilgrims” and “A Merry Christmas.” The
book opens on Christmas Eve with the four girls-Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth- around
the fire awaiting the return of “Marmee.” Remembering the joys of
Christmas past when they were rich, for example, when said “Christmas won’t be
Christmas without any presents”; “It’s so dreadful to be poor!”;
“I don’t think it’s fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things,
and other girls nothing at all” (p.11). They recall their mother’s
suggestion that they not be self-indulgent when others are suffering but they
rationalized their determination to please themselves by arguing that these
“others” will not be helped by their sacrifice and by protesting that
they have worked hard and deserve some fun. In the logic of the true style,
such Commitment to self can lead to a critical debate on the question of who
works hardest and who suffers most.
The girls experience a change of
heart and decide to devote their little money to presents for their mother.
Such behavior is in imitation of the “tall, motherly lady, with a
‘can-I-help-you’ look about her,” for unselfish devotion to others is the
keynote to Marmee’s character. The importance and value of renouncing the self
and thinking of others are further dramatized in the second chapter. Armed with
their presents to Marmee, evidence of their little effort to forget themselves,
they arrive at the breakfast table only to find that Marmme has been visiting
the Hummel’s, a poor family in the neighborhood, and wants her girls to give
them their breakfast as a Christmas present. After a moment’s hesitation before
the new level of sacrifice required, the girls enter into the project
wholeheartedly, deliver up their breakfast to the poor, and discover that bread
and milk and the sense of having helped others make the best breakfast. Early
in Little Women, there was a chapter entitled “Castles in the Air” in
which each girl described her lives ambition. The final chapter of the book
called “Harvest time,” makes reference to this earlier chapter, comparing
what each of them dreamed of what each is now doing.
The Meg’s dream focused on domestic life, for example, she said “I
should like a lovely house, full of all sorts of luxurious things-nice food,
pretty clothes, handsome furniture, pleasant people, and heaps of money. I am
to be mistress of it, and manage it as I like, with plenty of servants, so I
never need work a bit” (p. 164). All that time and maturity need adapt for
Meg is her overvaluation of wealth and her desire to have a lot of servants.
Meg must learn that love is better than the luxury; she must learn to put a man
in the center of her picture; and she must learn that without domestic chores
to keep them busy, women will be idle, bored, and prone to folly. These are but
minor adjustments, however, for Meg’s dream centered on a home is very
acceptable. After that, she said at the end, “My castle was the most
nearly realized of all” (p. 541). After marriage, Meg was “on the shelf,”
still waiting. Only when she gets rid of her servants and makes work for
herself can she settle down, give up the foolish expenditures which are as much
the result of boredom as vanity, and become a good wife. “Making
work” is the implicit subject of the chapter which deals with Meg’s
relation to her children. Much of what she does for them is unnecessary; the
rest could be done in half the time and could indeed be done better by John:
“Darling respected the man who conquered him and loved the father whose
grave ‘No, no,’ was more impressive than all Mamma’s love pats”; thus,
“the children throve under the paternal rule, for accurate, steadfast John
brought order and obedience to Babydom” (pp. 433, 440). The perception
that women’s work is made work generates the encounter between Meg and John
over her dress and his coat. In protest against the limitations imposed by
John’s modest salary and desiring to impress a wealthy friend, Meg orders a
fifty-dollar silk dress. Meg has been warned by her mother about John and she discovered
one of the sources of this warning. John “was very kind, forgave her
readily, and did not utter one reproach” (p. 317).
According to “Little Women”: Alcott’s Civil War” by Judith
Fetterley) showed that the lives of Amy and Jo are very different from their
castles. Amy wants to be an artist and went to Rome, and made fine pictures
because she wants to be the best artist in the whole world,” In Rome Amy
makes a real bid to realize her ambition, she comes to see that there is a
difference between talent and genius and that she has only the former. Through
her experience with Laurie, she learns the truth of her mother’s that “to
be loved and chosen by a good man is the best and sweetest thing which can
happen to a woman” (p. 116), far better than being a famous artist.
Although Amy never completely gives up her art she places it in the service of
home and family. In the final chapter, she remarks that she has “begun to
model a figure of a baby, and Laurie says it is the best thing I’ve ever done.
I think so myself, and mean to do it in marble, so that, whatever happens, I
may at least keep the image of my little angel” (p. 541). Amy’s motivation
has shifted ground. No longer working for fame or fortune, she is inspired by
love for her child. Her figure is not intended for public exhibition, for Amy
works not to produce great art or to define herself as an artist, but to create
a private memorial to her dying child.
According to the article, “Little Women”: Alcott’s Civil War” by
Judith Fetterley) Alcott’s fiction provides an important part that focused on the sexual
politics with German professor Bhaer. Jo wants to write and get rich and
famous. p. 300). As Maree’s worried and refused the writing job but Jo was in tracking
her writing and getting it published, the worse it was the more anxious that Marmee gets. But Jo is finally brought to
the point of saying, “I’ve no heart to write, and if I had, nobody cares
for my things,” then Marmee is all encouragement: “We do. Write
something for us, and never mind the rest of the world” (p. 481). Jo does
what her mother wishes and writes a story which her father sends, “much
against her will,” to a popular magazine and which becomes, “for a
small thing,” a great success.
Jo was confused by this turn of events and when her father explains it
to her, she cries, “If there is anything good or true in what I write, it
isn’t mine; I owe it all to you and Mother and to Beth” (p. 482). When Jo
discovered Professor Bhaer, she was upset: “think of the poor man having
to mend his own clothes. The German gentlemen embroider, I know, but the
darning hose is another thing and not so pretty” (p.374). Jo can sell her
hair. Selling one’s hair is a form of selling one’s body and well buried within
this minor detail is the perception that women’s capital is their flesh and
that they had better get the best price for it. Jo discovered a source of
income in her stories but the economics of her relation to writing reveals.
then, Louisa May Alcott defense
also about the individual rights that appeared in the character of Laurie,
according to the article “”Wake up, and be a man”: Little
Women, Laurie, and the Ethic of Submission, Ken Parille and other critics
described Laurie as the ethics of submission. Boys are always jolly. Only
Elizabeth Keyser and Anne Dalke have noted that Little Women dramatizes
Laurie’s struggle with patriarchal expectations. Keyser observes that Laurie
“exemplifies the masculine plight but she does not explore at any length
what “the masculine plight” is, how Laurie represents this plight,
and what cultural beliefs shape it (Whispers 66-67)3.
But in little women, Laurie’s story showed us that Alcott’s ideas about
the lives of boys are complex.
Laurie wanted to be a musician but Laurie grandfather wants him to work
as a businessman because of money.
In my opinion, I agree with the quote because she makes Jo married at
the end because the society at that time refused the working women and Jo gave
up her dreams. She defense also the
individual rights in the case of Laurie did not talk a lot in the novel but
talks a lot about four little women. His grandfather forces him to work as
businessmen because of the society and not work as a musician.
At the end of the essay talks about four little women and their dreams.
Secondly, the different roles of men and women in American society at that
time. Women did not equal with men and women try to demands the women rights to
be equal with men. For example in little women showed the character of Jo that
was against women attitude and tried to demand the rights of equality to fight
with her father during the civil war in addition to she wants to be a writer
but the society at that time refused the working women and women must be
married according to the rules of American society.