Louisa May Alcott; Writing from Personal Experience
|Louisa May Alcott is most famously known as the author of the award-winning book Little Women. What many people do not know about her is that Louisa May Alcott disguised herself, her family, and her own rich cultural experiences in her literary works. In the book, Little Women, the main character Jo March; the eldest and most outspoken of all sisters was based wholly on Louisa May Alcott's life experiences while she was growing up during the Civil War. The sisters in the book were based on her real life sisters as well.|
Louisa May was born November 29, 1932 in a town that is now part of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She grew up as the second of four daughters born to her parents Abigail and Amos Bronson Alcott. Her mother was very much involved in the early fight for women's rights during a period in history that was strictly patriarchal. Louisa's father too was interested in social reform and played a large role in Louisa's education and passion for writing. He was an abolitionist and helped Louisa May break through many boundaries that existed for women during this period of history.
Growing up, Louisa was schooled and introduced to the ideas of "American Transcendence" and was part of a culture that was referred to themselves as transcendentalists. Essentially, this group of people was interested in bringing change, otherwise known as social reform - to early American life. Her father was a leader in this reform movement and empowered his daughters to share his views. Later in her life, Louisa May Alcott also became a crusader in the equal rights movement.
Louisa May Alcott grew up in New England and spent most of her life near Concord Massachusetts. One of Alcott's books titled Transcendental Wild Oats was based on her life at communal Fruitland's farm that she and her family lived on for a while. During this time, she befriended a man named Ralph Waldo, and it was his expanse library that sparked her passion and interest in the literary arts. Not only did she write books, but from the age of 15 - she wrote plays, poems and drew sketches about her life experiences. Some of her poems were published under the false name A.N Barnard while others were published anonymously.
Every book that Louisa Alcott wrote was inspired by her real life trials and tribulations. The setting for the infamous Little Women was the heavily shaded apple farm that she grew up on in Massachusetts. She used her experiences working as a tailor, servant, and teacher to write a lesser-known book called Work: The Story of Experience in 1873. When the Civil War broke out, Louisa May Alcott enlisted as nurse at the Union Hospital in Washington DC. A collection of works and sketches named Hospital Sketches resulted in her personal experiences there and is responsible for launching her into the public eye to become one of the most well respected authors of all time.
Louisa May Alcott wrote books that even today are inspiring for people of all ages and gender. While Little Women may be her most famous works, others included The Rose Family: A Fairy Tale, Moods, A Long Fatal Love Chase, Good Wives, An Old Fashioned
Girl, Little Men, Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom. She also wrote A Modern Mephistopheles, Under the Lilacs and Jack and Jill. While she was a nurse in the army hospital, she contracted Typhoid Fever which caused her to be very ill during much of her adult life. However, she did manage to write Jo's Boys, Lulu's Library (for her niece Lulu), and Garland for Girls. The last book was written in 1888, completed just months before Louisa May Alcott died.
Still today, her most famous book has been Little Women. It has been turned into a motion picture movie and is also played out in plays across the world. Louisa May Alcott's lively, interesting, and dramatic life is always at the background of her stories and those that read them truly get to know Alcott on a personal level.
More Information On Influence of Louisa May Alcott
- Orchard House/Home of the Alcotts- A virtual tour of where Louisa May Alcott wrote, Little Women.