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Little Women

             Douglas tells readers that, "Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on 1832"(i). Soon after her birth, the family moved and settled in Concord, Massachusetts, where Alcott was inspired by fellow authors and neighbors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry Thoreau (i). Early in her life Louisa took on a large chunk of the family's financial burden through teaching and her writing. Parton found that due to Alcott's father's repeated failures in various trades, Alcott found it economically productive to create stories drawn from her own life experiences (78-82). Her experiences as a teacher, a volunteer nurse for the military hospitals, and simply as an American girl living in a communal environment were all elements that made up some of her most famous stories (86). Perhaps the most famous of all her works was the children's novel Little Women. This particular novel was created partially as an autobiography of the life of herself and her three sisters. Sheryl A. Englund states in her article that Alcott has told and stated that the material in her book was autobiographical (4). Her mother and father educated their children and urged them to keep journals documenting their moral decisions and struggles. Louisa, the most gifted of the four sisters, compiled this history of her life and used it to establish herself as one of the greatest woman authors in America.
             Elaine Showalter states that "In the eyes of many readers and critics, Louisa May Alcott's Little Women is "the American female myth," and Alcott's heroine Jo March has become the most influential figure of the independent and creative American woman" (42). Little Women is the story of four sisters as they learn and eventually grow to be women. Meg, as the eldest of the four sisters, takes her role as big sister very seriously. She is the proper, ladylike and watchful sister, and the epitome of what a woman of her day should be.

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