Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and Me, her Reader

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Southern New Hampshire University
At the beginning of her book, Little Women, Louisa May Alcott presents Pilgrim’s Progress as a guidebook for living to the March sisters. In turn, Little Women itself allows the female reader to use Alcott’s text for their own journey to their feminist self. This paper illustrates how Alcott’s book, Little Women influences the develop of agency in its reader. Therefore, the 19th century female writer, Louisa May Alcott continues to have relevance and influence toward the 21st century woman, reflecting the link between feminist thought and literature. By using autoethnography within this paper I am using my own voice and my experiences to illustrate the discovery of how Little Women affected me and my role in society. This paper uses a combination of the theoretical frameworks of both feminism and the reader-response literary theories. The reader-response theory allows me to illustrate my own reactions to Alcott’s book and how I could look up to Jo March as a role model and her sisters as friends. The feminism lens illustrates how Alcott modeled aspiring writer Jo March as herself therefore illustrating how young women can reach their full potential despite how they perform their gender. This paper incorporates arts-based research (ABR) and the form of creating with collage to illustrate creating art provides the creator with the empowerment of agency.