She was the daughter of transcendentalist and educator Amos Bronson Alcott and social worker Abby May and the second of four daughters:
The real Louisa May Alcott was a much more complex and interesting figure. In addition, she wrote serious novels for adults.
Perhaps the least well-known aspect of her surprising career is that she volunteered to serve as a nurse in the Civil War. When the war broke out, the Alcotts, like many other New England families, regarded the sectional conflict as a glorious crusade to end slavery.
Unlike the fictional Mr. But his second daughter—who was by then approaching 30 and already accustomed to thinking of herself as a spinster, destined to become the breadwinner of their family—burned with desire to help the Union cause.
The only nursing care was provided by convalescent soldiers. Women began traveling to the battlefields and hospitals to try to aid their loved ones. In early Decemberjust after the disastrous defeat of Union forces at Fredericksburg, she reported for duty at the ramshackle Union Hotel in Washington, which had been hastily converted into a hospital.
One can only imagine how shocking this introduction to the brutal aftermath of combat was for Alcott. But she quickly settled into hospital routines—washing and feeding the wounded, and following the surgeons on their rounds to change dressings and administer what few medicines were available.
In hospitals as well as in the field, the greatest danger to soldiers and caregivers alike was disease. Less than one month after she took up her duties in Washington, in early January Alcott came down with typhoid pneumonia. At first she stubbornly tried to keep up with her duties, despite a high fever and racking cough, but she soon was confined to bed.
Even then she continued to write letters and sew for the soldiers until she became dangerously ill. Her supervisor, Hannah Ropes whose own Civil War letters and diary were finally published inwrote asking her family to come and take her home.
Ropes herself subsequently fell ill and died on January The next day Louisa agreed to let her father take her home. But as soon as she could work, at the urging of friends and family she set about revising for publication the letters she had sent and the journal she had kept.
Two publishers vied to produce an expanded version in book form, which appeared in hardcover that August. Many nurses served longer and under more trying conditions than Alcott, and after the war some of them produced more substantial memoirs.
Then too, Alcott was a skilled writer who knew how to make her sketches vivid and entertaining as well as realistic. The centerpiece of her memoir is a passage describing the sufferings of John Suhre, a Virginia blacksmith with an iron constitution and a bullet wound through his lungs.
After examining him, the surgeon left it to Alcott to tell him that his wounds were fatal. I could not but be glad that, through its touch the presence of human sympathy, perhaps, had lightened that hard hour.One of the major themes in Louisa May Alcott's novel, Little Women, deals with gender roles.
One of the central conflicts in the story is society's expectation that women are expected to find. A short summary of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.
This free synopsis covers all the crucial plot points of Little Women. Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, had the briefest of nursing careers: about six weeks, from start to finish. Alcott being Alcott, she effectively morphed the experience into grist for her literary mill.
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott uses a third person account to represent many different scenarios, in which poverty is a problem within the March family, usually regarding to materialed items, and envying other girls and what they have.
Little Women, of course, is a pre-requisite to Little Men. However, my 10 year old boy read Little Men first and still absolutely fell in love with the book and all the characters. Now, he is inspired to read Little Women (something he felt sure boys would not read)/5.
A summary of Themes in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.
Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Little Women and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.