Analyze the theme of feminism in Alcott's "My Contraband."

The feminist element of "My Contraband" consists first in its point of view, since the story is told by the nurse, and second in the nurse's compassion for the wronged slave and her intervention to prevent the slave from killing his brother out of revenge.

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The most striking feminist aspect of the story is its focus on the young nurse and her agency in tending to Bob. In particular, once she hears Bob's story about his white brother and his wife, her compassion for him moves her to create a new life for him in Massachusetts. While her superior, the doctor, manages the details for Bob, his role in the story is subordinate to the nurse's; in a real sense, the doctor is a kind of servant to the nurse.

Another feminist element to the story is the nurse's determination to prevent Bob from exacting revenge on his brother. Even though the story is about a lurid subject, the action is controlled by the nurse's sensibility, which abhors violence and takes seriously her professional responsibility to care for her patients, even ones as depraved as Master Ned.

Finally, the fact that the events of Bob's life and death are represented in the story through Miss Dane's point of view— that the story is told in first person by the nurse—suggests an inherently feminist (or female) view of the war and the passions that fueled it. While it might seem ironic that Bob still manages to get into battle and confront his brother even after the nurse's intervention to save his life, the end of the story focuses instead on her compassion for his suffering.

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