Sunday, September 2, 2012

Louisa May Alcott

Maybe you love Louisa May Alcott's books(Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boy's, Under the Lilacs, Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom, just to name a few.), but you don't know much about her. If so, read on!

Orchard House
   Louisa was born  in 1832 in Germantown, Pennsylvania, where her father, Bronson Alcott taught school. Her father and mother, Abigail, were transcendentalists, which meant they had different view than most people of their time. They were vegetarians, abolitionists, believed in taking ice cold baths and sleeping on hard mattresses. Bronson believed boys and girls, black and white, should be educated together. His ideas were considered so radical that people took their children out of his school, and it had to close. So, the family(Louisa, her older sister Anna, younger sisters, May and Elizabeth) moved to Boston. Once, while in Boston, six-year-old Louisa became lost. Instead of becoming scared, she laid her head down on a big, kind dog and fell asleep. Another interesting thing that happened to her while living in Boston was that she fell into a frog pond in Boston and nearly drowned, except a young African-American boy came running, leaped in and saved her life. Louisa speculated perhaps this is what caused her abolitionist beliefs.

 After Bronson's job in Boston failed when he invited a black girl to his new school, the family moved to Orchard house in Concord, Massachusetts, where they would spend the rest of their lives. (You can tour  Orchard House.) He took odd jobs here and there. Louisa said that despite their extreme poverty, times at Orchard House were the happiest times of my life. It is these times she based Little Women on.
 The family had several notable neighbors- Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne, to name a few. These were Louisa's mentors, and they inspired her writing.

As a teenager, she wrote"blood and thunder stories" under a  pen name, earning a little money. Louisa always wanted to earn money for her poor family, but just as her writing began to get noticed, the Civil War broke out and she became a nurse. However, she contacted typhoid fever. During her illness, she wrote Hospital Sketches, about her life as a nurse. When she was asked to write a girl's book, she hesitated, saying she "never much liked girls, except my sisters." She wrote Little Women, which is loosely autobiographical, and it was a roaring success. Louisa never married, but she raised May's child Lulu, after May's death. She wrote until her own death at the age of 55 , from mercury poisoning. She contacted this from the medicine she was given when she had fever.

 Louisa lives on in her many writings, which remain popular to this day.

Find out who you'd be in Little women with this quiz:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be nice when you comment!