Louisa May Alcott's Little Women And Eight Cousins

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Louisa May Alcott was an exceedingly popular writer during the late 1800’s, which is unique because she is still a major icon in today’s literature. Many readers have come to the conclusion that her major outlook in most of her work is the individual growth from girlhood to womanhood. An examination of her works Little Women and Eight Cousins uses characterization, setting, and plot to reveal the overall theme. First, Alcott uses direct characterization in Little Women. She directly states how each character is portrayed and doesn’t leave the reader guessing about any hidden details. “Margaret, the eldest of the four, was sixteen, and very pretty, being plump and fair, large eyes, plenty of soft, brown hair…of which she was rather vain” (7).…show more content…
Little Women takes place in New England during the American Civil War, and this plays a vital role on the women of New England. Women during this time period worried if they would ever get married because all the men were quickly dying on the battlefield (ncbi). During this time period Nancy Cott argued, “the assumption that every woman would be a wife…questionable, perhaps untenable” (ncbi). In Little Women, Alcott does an astounding job with the marriage of each daughter. She makes readers believe the daughters have their heart set on one person, though later reveals they were simply love-struck. I believe Alcott portrays it this way because she is trying to show what the women had to deal with in that time period, they could be lined up to marry someone and then him be killed in battle. Women simply had to adjust to reality. The setting in Eight Cousins also plays a role on the adjustments that Rose has to partake in. Eight Cousins is set in Boston during the 1800’s. Rose is an orphaned child that ends up living with her Uncle Alec in Boston. The setting is pertinent because, “...it’s showing girls in an unusually liberated late 1800’s setting where they may make their own decision given the proper support” (allreaders). The characters in Little Women and Eight Cousins were both heavily influenced by proper support because of their 1800, New England

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