Louisa May Alcott Long Fiction Analysis
Versatility characterizes thecanon of Louisa May Alcott, which includes children’s literature, adult novels, gothic thrillers, autobiography, short stories, poetry, and drama. While Alcott’s works for children may be distinguished from those of other writers of children’s stories in some important ways, they nonetheless fit into the broader context of American literature of the time. What set Alcott’s children’s novels apart from the rest was her careful avoidance of the overt didacticism and sermonizing that characterized many others. A code of proper behavior is implicit in the novels, but it is detected in situations rather than showcased by authorial intrusion. In the juvenile novels, with the exception of the March family works, Alcott wrote less from her own experiences, and she was more prone to rewrite earlier works. The most enduring of Alcott’s collection are the girls’ novels and the family stories, which continue to be read because of the vitality of the characters—how they deal with life situations and challenges with humor, even fun—and the way Alcott uses detail to present simple, honest lives. Although critics of the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century found the children’s novels to be overly sentimental, readers of the day enjoyed them.
Alcott’s works for adults portray a less simplistic view of life than do the children’s stories. Readers meet people with boring, unhappy, or even sordid lives,...
(The entire section is 2821 words.)
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