The Other Alcott Themes & Motifs

Hooper, Elise
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Motif of Illness

Hooper includes the threat of illness as a major motif of the novel to intersect with May’s ability to pursue her art career. Throughout the novel, Louisa’s health, her family’s health, or even her own health interferes with her artistic pursuits. Illness, frailty, or general bad health also intersects with the other theme of choosing between family and career, and the challenges facing women in the workforce.

Hooper first introduces sickness as a motif to justify May’s move to Boston with Louisa and to further explore their interdependent relationship on each other. Without Louisa, the family has lost their financial provider, yet without May the family cannot care for Louisa. When May first asks Louisa to pay for art classes, Marmee insists that it is a good idea for May to live with her to keep tabs on her health...

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This section contains 2,899 words
(approx. 8 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Other Alcott Study Guide
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