Introduction

louisa may alcottBorn on November 29, 1832 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, Louisa May Alcott was an American novelist, most known for her works of Little Women, Little Men, Eight Cousins, and An Old-Fashioned Girl. She was the seconds daughter of Abigail May, a famous women's suffrage advocate and abolitionist and Amos Alcott, a philosopher and education and social reformer.

 

Life

louisa may alcott houseAlcott's father educated Louisa until 1848, and also studied with family friends like Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Theodore Parker. She lived her life in many places, including Boston and Concord, Maryland and worked as a domestic servant, a teacher, and countless other jobs to support her family from 1850 to 1862. During the Civil War, Alcott also went to Washington, DC to become a nurse.

Most people, however, do not know that Alcott had been publishing poems, short stories, thirllers, and juvenile tales since 1851 under the name Flora Fairfield. However, it was her account of her experiences in the Civil War, published by the name Hospital Sketches, that made her truly discover that she wished to become an author.

Not long after, Alcott began to publish stories under her real name in moagazines, and took a short trip to Europe in 1865. Later, she became editor of a girls' magazine called Merry's Museum in 1868. her most famous work, Little Women, finally gave Alcott financial independence and allowed her to spend the rest of her life writing a steady stream of novels and short stories for young people to read. She did try her hand at publishing adult books, but those works her not quite so popular.

On March 6, 1888, Louisa May Alcott died, just two days after her father. Unfortunately, she did not find much personal happiness throughout her life, having to be a caretaker for her impractical father and being frequently beset by personal ailments.

 

Famous Works

little womenLittle Women: This books tells of the march sisters as they struggle to improve their different flaws as they become adults. For example, Jo dreams of becoming a great writer and does not want to turn into a conventional, "normal" woman. It takes place during and after the Civil War, around 1861 to 1876 in a small New England town.

Little Men: This novel is considered to be the second book of the Little Women trilogy, and follows the life of Jo Bhaer and the students who reside at the Plumfied Estate School that Jo runs with her husband, Professor Bhaer. The children learn valuable lessons as they become proper gentlemen and ladies.

Eight Cousins: This novel, published in 1875, tells of Rose Campbell, a lonely and sickly girl who has been recently orphaned. She must now reside with heraunts, the matriarchs of her wealthy Boston family. Rose is unhappy until her guardian, Uncle Alec, returns home to take care of her and teach her how to live with her seven cousins, all an old-fashioned girlof whom are boys.

An Old-Fashioned Girl: This book is about a 14-year old country girl called Polly Milton, who visits Fanny Shaw (her friend) and her wealthy family in the city. Fanny's friends first reject Polly, but eventually learn from her old-fashioned ways. Six years later, the Milton family is on the brink of bankruptcy, and polly must show the family that a wholesome family life is all they need, not money or decoration.