Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 March 6, 1888) was a 19th century American novelist, best known for having penned Little Women and its sequels. Raised by transcendentalist parents in New England, she was well-acquainted with many other intellectuals of her time such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The events of Little Women were heavily inspired by her own life; Jo March, the protagonist, is based on Alcott herself.
In adulthood, Alcott was both a feminist and an abolitionist. She was part of a group of female authors during the Gilded Age, who addressed women's issues through their work. She served as a nurse during the American Civil War, suffering from typhoid fever during the experience, and it believed that she may also have had lupus. She continued to write until her death at the age of 55, and was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery on the hillside known as "Author's Ridge."
Alcott is usually today held to be Ambiguously Gay; she never married, was a tomboy in an age when that was not accepted, and wrote in at least one private letter that she has fallen in love with a lot of girls but no men.
Works by Louisa May Alcott with their own trope pages include:
Other works by Louisa May Alcott provide examples of:
- An Aesop: As noted above, Alcott was both a feminist and an abolitionist. Many of her works particularly advocate feminism; for example, the page quote from An Old-Fashioned Girl is uttered by a woman who is attempting to use her artistic talent to advance the cause of women's rights.
- Country Mouse: The main plot of An Old-Fashioned Girl is that country girl Polly visits her wealthy city friend Fanny and feels like a Fish out of Water.
- Denied Food as Punishment: Played with in one of her short stories, The Children's Joke, in which the parents and children switch places for a day. Being subjected to this punishment by his son makes the father realize for the first time just how unpleasant it really is.
- Heartwarming Orphan/Orphan's Ordeal: Often seen in the short stories, such as the title character of The Quiet Little Woman, as well as a few of her novel protagonists.
- Hollywood New England: Where all of the stories take place; Alcott spent the majority of her life in New England and crafted a somewhat idealized version of it as the background for her writing.
- Last Minute Hookup: Seen in An Old-Fashioned Girl, where most of the last two pages are dedicated to tying up the romantic loose ends.
- Pretty in Mink: In the short story "A Christmas Dream" a rich girl, Effie, is taught a way to be charitable on Christmas by an angel covered with white fur, who throws a party for poor girls to have a good Christmas. Her mother decides to recreate the dream party, including buying Effie a white fur coat, to be like the angel herself.