I want an analysis of the poem "Our Little Ghost" by Louisa May Alcott.

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misslacey eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a beautiful and sad poem about a the ghost of a child who visits the narrator's house each night. The ghost brings comfort to the dark night with her sweet innocence and tenderness. The narrator uses adjectives including "fearless," "thoughtful," and "loving" to describe the ghost's gentle nature. She also uses similes ("like a sleepy little bird," "Like a tricksy household elf,") to compare the ghost to tiny, sweet figures.

Alcott uses imagery throughout the poem to create pictures of the small ghost dancing in the moonlight, sitting by the fire, and tranquilly watching over the mother and father of the house. It is unclear whether the mother and father of the house are the actual parents of the ghost, but either way, they definitely feel a sense of love and caring for the ghost, which is shown in the title by the use of the word "our" to describe her as their ghost. This is also clear in the last line of the poem, "God bless our little ghost!"

The poem is sad because the narrator makes so many references to how young and baby-like the ghost is. Here is one example of this, "With chubby hands on chubby knees, Sits winking at the fire," (Stanza 5). Yet the ghost either is unaware that she is dead, or is too young and innocent to feel angry or sad about her early departure from life, because she is also described as being happy and playful.

The narrator loves this ghost, appreciates it's nightly beauty and its warmth. The visits from the ghost contrast with the harsh description of night in the first stanza, which shows that the ghost brings the household members great comfort from the otherwise dark, cold, scary night:

"Oft in the silence of the night,When the lonely moon rides high,When wintry winds are whistling,And we hear the owl's shrill cry;In the quiet, dusky chamber," (Stanza 1).