Louisa May Alcott and the Roles of a Lifetime

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Table of Contents
this thesis was presented
at Southwest Texas State University, in San Marcos, TX
in May 1998

This is Kim Wells' Master's Thesis. For convenience sake, I have split the chapters up, which will make them easier to print and/or read.

Contact me at: kim@womenwriters.net


Features a look at critical approaches to Alcott's work, surveys the different discussions that have appeared and sets up thesis argument.

Chapter One: Fruitlands to Apple Slumps, Or, A Woman's View of Economics
Looks at Alcott's lesser known work, "Transcendental Wild Oats" from a biographical perspective, pays particular attention to the "role" that Alcott's mother, Abba, and her fictional counterpart, Hope Lamb, play.

Chapter Two: Acting Like Women: The Gothic Stories and Economic Realities
Study of four of the stories Alcott published under the A.M. Barnard pseudomyn, "Marion Earle, or Only an Actress," "La Jeune or Actress and Woman," "Pauline's Passion and Punishement," and "Behind a Mask." Particular attention is paid to the theatrical nature of women's roles in these stories and in general.

Chapter Three: "To Be the Child I Should"
The March Girls, Louisa, and the Space Between Self and Role
Study of Alcott's most famous work, Little Women, examines the roles that the March girls play and where these roles fit into a feminist discussion.

Conclusion: Public Perception of an Autobiography: the 1994 Film Version

Works Cited