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Memorable Christmas scenes from 'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott

Updated on December 29, 2017

Louisa May alcott

Louisa May Alcott was an American writer of young teen fiction. She was born in 1832 and died of 55 in 1888. Louisa may Alcott is remembered for her novel ‘Little Women’ and its sequels ‘Good Wives’, ‘Little Men’ and ‘Jo’s Boys’. All these books are considered mini classics and in the world of English literature that have a niche of their own.

Little women

‘Little Women’ was published in 1868. It was the first in the series of the books she wrote. The novel is based on an account of her childhood and experience with her sisters. It is a story of four sisters namely Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy and is still widely read as a classic. Louisa Alcott modelled the character of Jo on herself, with a subtle difference. In the novel Jo marries, while in real life Alcott remained a spinster and never married.

Personal Love

It will be however wrong to conclude that she had no emotional attachment to a man as she had a romance with a Polish gentleman named Ladislas "Laddie" Wisniewski, who she met while on a visit to Europe. She made entries about him in her diary, which she deleted just before her death. This is typical of the morality of that period where it was not thought good to leave a memory of unrequited love.The character Laurie in her books is perhaps based on Wisniewski.

Christmax Time

Alcott was brought up in not a very affluent house. She experienced shortages during her younger years. This is manifest in the opening scene of the book which starts with Christmas and presents for the sisters. The girls do not have any new clothes, but Amy the youngest of the girls says with a sniff that at least they have father and mother. There is thus an element of anger in the novel and Christmas is the time when the girls realize that they are relatively poor.

Christmax scene and Tone of the Book

The Christmas scene is adroitly used by Alcott to showcase her characters, the young heroines of her novel. Alcott lived during the period of the civil war (1861-65) and she was a staunch protagonist of rights for Negroes. She describes Christmas during the tumultuous war years. Though the family is poor, the girls rally and in the true spirit of Christmas donate their breakfast to a poor family as well as make presents for dear Marmee. Marmee is their mother who brings up the girls as their father was away as a Chaplain during the war. This is one of the most memorable Christmas scenes in English American literature.

Louisa May Alcott and her sisters were brought up by parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson who were transcendentalists. Transcendentalism has been influenced by Asian religions particularly Hinduism and this has been acknowledged by Thoreau in his book ‘Walden’. Transcendentalists believe that people flower to their capability when they are self reliant and independent. This belief influenced the life of Alcott and finds expression in her book ‘Little Women’. In fact the opening Christmas scene in the book sets the tone of the novel.

Last Word

Louisa may Alcott had contracted Pneumonia and she was treated with mercury, which never left her system and could have been the cause of her death. She died relatively young at the age of 55, an age at which the genius of most writers flower. The novel ‘Little Women’ is still popular and has an important place in American English literature. It’s a book that is read all over the world and has immortalized Louisa May Alcott for all time to come. The Christmas scene can be read and re- read to realize that Louisa was a genius.

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    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      I have never read the books but have seen the film so this was really interesting to read about her, so sad that mercury was given to her, sadly they didn't realise how dangerous it was back then, interesting read MG, thanks, nell

    • MG Singh profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      4 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you Mekenzie for passing by and commenting

    • MG Singh profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      4 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you Jackie. This is a lovely comment

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 

      4 years ago from Michigan

      MG, Love the nostalgia and coziness of watching Little Women! It was great to read some history on the author.

      Oftentimes the author is behind the main character and I am glad to know that this is the case in Little Women.

      Thank you for an interesting and informative hub.

      Voted up and across and shared!

      Mekenzie

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      This is great MG; probably this is not read as much today but it is a very important book in our history and all her writings of course. She is a character that lives on in many peoples hearts.

    • MG Singh profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      4 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks DDE. Its always a pleasure to read your comments

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A well-approached hub to such writer. You covered great aspects here and had broadened my reading views on this topic.

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