About the Author
Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)
Louisa May Alcott was an American novelist best known for Little Women and its sequels Little Men and Jo’s Boys. Her father was a transcendentalist philosopher whose friends included Nathanial Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Henry David Thoreau, all very famous authors of their time. Alcott was an abolitionist and feminist, remaining unmarried all her life. Alcott and her family served as station masters for the Underground Railroad, housing a fugitive slave in 1847. Alcott’s father suffered periods of mental instability all his life and was ill-equipped to provide for his family. They moved twenty-two times in thirty years because of their unstable finances. Alcott worked as a teacher, governess, and domestic servant to help support her family, but her success as a writer provided true financial relief for her family. Alcott suffered a lifelong illness possibly instigated by treatment with mercury for typhoid when she served as a nurse in the American Civil War. Louisa May Alcott died from a stroke two days after the death of her father in 1888.
Little Women (1868)
Little Women is Louisa May Alcott’s semi-autobiographical and most famous novel. The story of four sister on the cusp of adulthood has remained a classic for generations. It is a story of family, growing up, and learning from the problems life sends our way.
Questions for Little Women
What effect on his family does Mr. March’s absence have? How do you think the story would have been different if he had been present the entire time?
What moral judgements does the author make regarding money in this story?
How do Jo and Amy’s differing ambitions shape their actions?
Do you think Professor Bhaer was fair in his critique of Jo’s work? Why or why not?
In the end Jo finds happiness in marriage and family, but the author remained single. Why do you believe she wrote a different ending for Jo that she lived for herself?
Storybooks for Elementary, Intensive Support, and Preschool