Gender Stereotyping: Independence of Women in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women

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Louisa May Alcott was a Victorian age American novelist and short story writer. Her education served to foster her love and dedication to writing, acting, education and women's rights. This essay will focus on how Alcott represents women and independence. The novel is viewed as a book that values the experiences of women and empowers women to see past socially approved gender roles. It is about women living on equal terms with men and not pushed down by law or by culture into a meek role. The practices of 1880’s dictated that women stay in the home, marry, have children and find happiness in doing so. In many ways Alcott battles this convention by creating strong female role models and male characters that support this free will of women. Although some of the characters like Beth may not have shown independence, Meg, Amy and especially Jo showed independence throughout the novel. She is an independent woman who could never be restricted to the household. In this essay I am going to show how each character was portrayed and how it relates to independence or the lack of it. Meg showed her independence severally by not conforming to the peer pressure, and Amy shows independence by not going back to school after her incidence with Mr. Davis. Jo on the other hand showed her independence by declaring that she wants to be famous and also be an author which goes against the values that were prominent in that period. "A Feminist Study of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women" 09 2012. 09 2012 . Daveen, Collen. Feminism and little women Women in History. Louisa May Alcott biography. Last Updated: 3/31/2012. Lakewood Public Library. Date accessed 10/11/2012 .

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