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Little Women Essay

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In the following essay excerpt, Murphy surveys critical approaches to Little Women, finding "the novel does not permit rigid answers" to attempts to analyze its meaning and significance. Comparison is made with Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Twenty years of scholarship about Louisa May Alcott's most famous and enduring work, Little Women, testifies to the complicated process of reexamining a novel widely recognized as a classic in American children's literature. This critical reevaluation of Alcott has been complicated by the publication of her previously uncollected and largely unavailable gothic thrillers, which reveal a new dimension to the familiar author, both enriching our reactions to Little Women (especially to the silencing of Jo March's own anxious authorship of pseudonymous thrillers) and confirming our sense of the subversion in that sentimental text.

Biographies exploring the darker side of Alcott and reinterpreting her complicated family, as well as ongoing feminist...

(read more from the Critical Essay #2 section)

This section contains 5,140 words
(approx. 13 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Little Women Study Guide
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