Louisa May Alcott – The woman who wrote the epic novel ‘Little Women’

                                                         Louisa May Alcott

Preface – Reading Louisa’s novels is like having a sip of refreshing espresso coffee, mixed with cream of compassion and sugar of love. I was blessed to meet this great author through her novel – Little Women in the year 2005.  There is a exceptional simplicity and warmth in writings of Louisa which not only entertains the reader, but also gives a clear approach towards life. Today when I write the articles with refinement, I truly give the credit to Louisa May Alcott’s writing style which gave me the guidance to understand American literature and its culture. It’s a great opportunity for me to showcase on the life and works of Louisa May Alcott, the great author who bought a smile on the face of million readers through her cheerful writing.

Introduction and Works – Born in Germantown, Louisa May Alcott was the second daughter of Bronson Alcott and Abigail May Alcott. Seeing how hard her parents  had to struggle to meet the daily needs, Louisa resolved to take the job of a teacher, seamstress, governess or any noble job which would ease their financial problems. Although poverty had stricken their family, Louisa and her three sisters cheerfully endured every adversity of life. It was her imagination and penchant for writing that succeeded in making her an established writer in the literary field. “Flower Fables”, “Moods” and “Hospital Sketches” were some of the literary masterpieces which were poured from the imagination of Louisa. When Civil War was at its peak, Louisa volunteered in many causes such as serving wounded soldiers in the hospital. As Louisa’s works were getting popular, one of the publishers requested Louisa to write a full length novel targeting towards children. Thus came the great novel “Little Women” in the year 1868 which was based on her childhood experiences. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy – the characters of the novel became a household name and were loved by the readers all over the world.

                           A rare photograph of young Louisa at age of 25

The character ‘Jo March’ in the novel “Little Women” was exactly what Louisa really was.  Louisa was a dashing young girl who always dared to obey her heart and never spared any effort to support her family in terms of finance. Every character in this novel is not ficitious as one reads in the books. So whether it is the tomboyish Jo, introvert Beth, charming Laurie or the gentle Old Laurence, every character is larger than life. Louisa May Alcott had the knack and expertise to write sensational as well as heart warming novels. “Eight Cousins” and “An Old Fashioned girl” are other successful novels which were equally loved by the readers. Though her writings bought her fame and  monetary prosperity, Louisa was bit weakened by chronic health problems. Louisa May Alcott breathed her last on March 6th 1888 at age of 55. The literary world became void after the demise of Louisa May Alcott and there was no other cheerful author who could bring a smile on the face of readers as Louisa did.

                               Poster from the  1994 movie “Little WOmen”

Adaptations – Little Women was adapted into motion pictures several times and latest of them all was the 1994 movie – Little Women starring Winona Ryder, Claire Danes and Susan Sarandon. Even the movie was equally entertaining and captured the spirit of novel successfully.

Influence of Louisa May Alcott’s writings on the next generation writers – Susan Coolidge was one of the authors who was highly influenced by Louisa May Alcott. Her novels “What Katy did” and “What Katy did at school” were heart warming, fully filled with feminine spirit and joy. “Secret garden”, “Anna of green gables”, “Pollyanna”, “The railway children”, “Daddy long legs” and “Rebecca of Sunnybrookfarm” are some of the novels which carried the feel of “Little Women”. Let’s take a glance at the list of novels written by Louisa May Alcott.

1) The Inheritance
2) Flower Fables
3) Hospital Sketches
4) The Rose Family: A Fairy tale
5) Moods
6) Morning glories and other stories
7) Little Women
8) Good Wives – Sequel to the novel “Little Women”
9) Perilous Play
10) Little Men
11) Eight Cousins
12) An Old Fashioned girl
13) Rose in Bloom
14) Under the lilacs
15) Jack and Jill : A village story
16) Jo’s Boys

I personally consider Louisa May Alcott as beautiful person who showed countless readers a refreshing view of life through her writings. By reading her works, a reader will learn the most valuable thing in life – the joy of giving happiness to a needful and bringing a smile on a face of troubled person. Hope, this blog post will serve as a useful medium to throw light on the life and works of America’s great author and make the readers acquainted with American literature.

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