Writing Process

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but when ideas come, you have to take advantage.

I’ve been writing for a few days now. My final project is an exploratory essay, and because I’ve never written one before, the outline alone took three days. However, I’m hammering away on the first draft of my essay now, and I’m really enjoying actually presenting on my own views of everything I read.

Though I originally wanted to look at childrearing and Louisa May Alcott, I found that there isn’t that much information on it. As a teenager, she hated being a teacher and disliked children. However, as a middle-aged woman, she fawned over her nephews and niece. Apart from that, I didn’t find anything interesting.

However, I did notice a trend in her writings. Though to today’s audiences, she might come off as extremely traditional and conservative, there is a gradual expansion of the woman’s sphere in her works. That is my new topic. Little Women worships the Victorian Ideal Woman, a sweet and quiet housewife who is content with her lot in life and never wants more. However, Jo’s Boys celebrates the woman who lives an honest and useful life, whether she does so as a housewife or a career woman. The tentative and slow process she took to reach this conclusion shows a real life woman who struggled with her gender much like how many today struggle with theirs. I actually liked the probing, groping journey. It makes Alcott so much more real, in a way that other feminist leaders like Stanton or Anthony never were.

In this expansion of the woman’s sphere, I also found that Alcott ends on a question. While she does appreciate both the housewife and the career woman, she seems unsure as to whether a woman can have both. It is a question that appears implicitly in many parts of the narrative, and is never answered. In fact, she leaves it ambiguous by writing that two characters found both success in their artistic fields and worthy mates. Did they have to give up their hobbies, as their parents did before them? Or did they continue on even after the weddings? Of course, this question of can a woman have both is still relevant today. Thus, Alcott’s seemingly traditional and outdated Little Women series shows that a “modern” issue is not so modern after all.