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Book Report on Little Women

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The author of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott, was born on 29th November 1832 at Germantown, Pennsylvanian, America and died in 1888 at the age of 56. Under the influence of her writer father, she gained interest on writing at an early age. In 1860, her novel and poetry were published on The Atlantic for the first time. 8 years later her most famous book, Little Women, got published and quickly became a best seller. Her other novels published later were Little Men, Jo's Boys, Good Wives and so on. Louisa May Alcott made marvelous contribution to Feminism. She also joined the army as a surgeon and was the editor of Robert Merry's Museum.

The late 19th century saw the first-wave of feminism. The focus was the demand for all equality between genders. One important aim of the first-wave was to fight for the same rights with men on domestic labor, social works and political position. As a female writer at that time, Louisa May Alcott promoted the development of feminism. Her novels reflected the actuality of feminism at that time and showed a potential trend in development of it. However, although her works emphasized rights for women, they were still narrowly limited and on some levels showed compromise. (Yang, 511) But the effects on promoting women's liberation overwhelmed the deficiency.

The masterpiece, Little Women, is one of the most agreeable juvenile novels in America history and has been popular for over 100 years. There are dozens of versions of this book in different languages all around the world. It has been filmized into movies, TV series, and cartoons in many countries. The book is highly praised as a counterpart of the famous English novel Pride and Prejudice, and the author herself was regarded as the counterpart of Jane Austen, the author of Pride and Prejudice. The book mainly talks about lives of four girls in the March family during the Civil War. The four girls are: Meg who takes care of her three little sisters maternally and chooses to live a poor life with her beloved one; boyish Jo who is brave and decisive and has her own dream; Beth who is angelic and sweet but unfortunately dies of scarlet fever; Amy who is delicate and tender and later becomes a true lady. Their lives are not so easy as they face crisis and roughness. But they manage to make life meaningful and beautiful. And through all the difficulties they build themselves up as perfect, elegant ladies.

As stated above, Little Women had made an inspiring and directive effort on the development of feminism. The characters in this book presented the feminist spirit and thinking of the author. All the four girls in the book were more optimistic and independent than other characters appearing in the book. But among the four girls, the second daughter of the family, Jo, represented the thought most intensively. She was superior to the other women on being much closer to fighting with sexism. Very close, but not there yet.

The reason why Jo stood out can be best illustrated by her characteristic. It was her characteristic that made her different from all the other girls in the family. Unlike other girls who behaved like quiet water, Jo was neither soft nor gentle. She was just like a vigorous flame giving endless happiness and energy. And she was always optimistic and brave to share the burden of the family. She acted like a boy and determined to be like a man. In the beginning of the book, she claimed that:

"I hate to think I've got to grow up and be Miss March, and wear long gowns, and look as prim as a China Aster. It's bad enough to be a girl, any way, when I like boy's games and work and manners. I can't get over my disappointment in not being a boy, and it's worse than ever now, for I'm dying to go and fight with papa, and I can only stay at home and knit like a poky old woman." (7; ch.1)

This speech perfectly delivered the nature of a complete woman who was not willing to bend over men but meant to stand with them, while her sisters were all dreaming about a bright and comfortable life as a pretty wife. At this early age, the wish and belief of Jo was so strong that she showed no compromise to the so-called men's world. When this spirit was shown on a little girl, it symbolized the bud of feminism which was just reaching the peak of the first-wave at those days.

There were many significant moments in the book in which Jo acted with a strong will like a man inside that presented what a feminist would do and what a feminist required. One of the moments happened in chapter 15: A Telegram. When a telegram reached the family with a scary news that their father got very ill during the war, all the other girls got worried and did nothing but worrying and shedding tears. Only Jo actually set out trying to help the family. As little could she do, she heroically cut off her hair in order to sell it and raise money for her father. Jo's action of cutting her hair was out of the purpose of helping the family,

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