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Little Women : Louis May Alcott


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Philosopher-teacher Amos Bronson Alcott, educated his four daughters, Anna, Louisa, Elizabeth and May and Abigail May, wife of Amos, reared them on her practical Christianity.

Louisa spent her childhood in Boston and Concord, Massachusetts, where visits to library of Ralph Waldo Emerson, excursions into nature with Henry David Thoreau, and theatricals in the barn at Hillside (now "Wayside") of Nathaniel Hawthorne enlightened her days.

Like Jo March, her character in Little Women, young Louisa, a tomboy, claimed: "No boy could be my friend till I had beaten him in a race, ... and no girl if she refused to climb trees, leap fences...."

Louisa wrote early with a passion. She and her sisters often acted out her melodramatic stories of her rich imagination for friends. Louisa preferred to play the "lurid" parts in these plays, "the villains, ghosts, bandits, and disdainful queens."

At 15 years of age in 1847, the poverty that plagued her family troubled her, who vowed: "I will do something by and by. Don’t care what, teach, sew, act, write, anything to help the family; and I’ll be rich and famous and happy before I die, see if I won’t!"

Confronting a society that offered little opportunity to women, seeking employment, Louisa determined "...I will make a battering-ram of my head and make my way through this rough and tumble world." Whether as a teacher, seamstress, governess, or household servant, Louisa ably found work for many years.