Louisa May Alcott the “Little Women”

The book the Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, was based on the life of her and her family. Her family was trying to overcome the terrible things that had happened because of the war. Alcott wrote this book to inspire women, to let them know that things will get

better, and that women can overcome. The main character Jo was a lot like Alcott. She wasn’t interested in the girly things she wanted nothing more than to be like a boy and to be a writer.

There were four main characters, all sisters who lived together with their mother. Meg, the oldest, is wise and very concerned with class and the styles of the times. Beth is a kind gentle soul who is always contented with what she has. Amy, the youngest, is very conceited. She is always concerned with her looks and who she will marry. Jo was the least like any of her sisters, she longed to be a boy and not have to worry about such petty things as her hair and what she was wearing. Jo seemed to stand out among her sisters. She is more worried about how her family will get along with out their father than a dress she may have to wear.

In the 1800’s their was a stereotype about women. The traditional view of women in society was to stay at home, clean, raise children, and to help with the family farm. Jo was a women and she needed to follow this stereotype. But Jo refused. She wanted to be like a man. She wanted to do the more manly things such as work and take care of the family as her father would have. “It’s bad enough to be a girl, anyways, when I like boy’s games and work and manners! I can’t get over the disappointment in not being a boy..” (p. 948) .

Jo was like Alcott. Alcott had to make money to help support her family because her father also wasn’t around a lot. Jo tried to take on as many chores and duties as she could so to help out her mother. She even taught her little sister Amy when she needed to be home schooled. Also like Alcott’s family their fathers taught them so much. They were taught to be who they wanted to be even if it was different from any one else. I believe this is what gave Jo as well as Alcott the idea to be writers. To be the one to help hold the family together and to try to be more like men. This is what the family needed the most. And because their fathers told them to be what and who they wanted to be, they most likely wanted to be more like him.

Jo felt that she was now the man of the house. “I’m the man of the family now papa is away…for he told me to take special care of mother while he was gone.” (p. 949)
She felt this is what her father wanted. She felt she needed to play this role in order for her family to be happy and to get along with out their father.

During this time women didn’t have any where near as many rights as men if even any at all. Women were to be at home caring for the children and cleaning. Jo didn’t want anything to do with that. She wanted to write stories and be more like the average man. She wanted to share her ideas and dreams with others through her writing. She knew she would one day make a difference in the world of women, she felt she would become one of the best women writers ever.

Jo didn’t think about marriage like her sisters did. She didn’t want a man holding her back or telling her what to do. She wanted to be free. Her sisters were constantly worrying about their looks, and their clothes. Meg always wanted nothing more than to be beautiful but she felt that she couldn‘t because they weren‘t rich, “It’s so dreadful to be poor!” (p.335) She wanted the extravagant things that rich people had. But Jo she just wanted to make sure her family had what they needed. Jo even convinced the family to give their Christmas dinner to the poor family down the street. She felt they needed more than her and her sisters did.

Most writers write stories about their own lives even if they don’t mean to. This is a story that Alcott chose to write. She wanted to show that families can live the best of lives then fall onto hard times. But they can always try to get out of it. She wanted girls to see that their lives can get better. They can strive to be whatever they want. Even if its to be more of a boy than a woman.

I believe this book was mostly about Alcott, and Jo. They are so similar. But it mostly tells how Jo took on the role of the man to make her family get through the tough times of war, until their father returned.