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"Nothing is impossible to a determined woman" : Louisa May Alcott and nineteenth-century gender roles
Louisa May Alcott and nineteenth-century gender roles
Wion, Caitlin Beth
De Vos, PaulaFeres, Angela
Not everyone has heard of Louisa May Alcott, but most people have heard of her most famous literary work, Little Women. While people have read about Jo March for almost 150 years, there are not many people who know the real Jo. Alcott wrote her work of fiction based on her own life and experiences. The novel is ripe with her beliefs, experiences, and thoughts. Alcott truly was a woman of the nineteenth century. Like most time periods, being a woman in the nineteenth century was not easy, nor was it simple. Many women, like Alcott, were searching for a place to belong. These women faced a struggle where they tried to balance their lives in the domestic sphere, while searching for a place in the public sphere. Alcott is a prime example of this struggle. Further, Alcott is seen by many historians as a radical feminist who broke down gender norms and questioned her role as a woman. While this is accurate, it is more complex than most scholars believe. When Alcott abandoned her womanly roles, she accepted manly roles in their place. This thesis seeks to understand the problems that women of the nineteenth century faced, using Alcott as a lens. By looking at Alcott's life and literature, this thesis shows how one woman dealt with the problems of many.
Arts and Letters
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2015
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