Yedam Jang / Staff reporter
‘Little Women’ is an autobiographical novel written by American novelist Louisa May Alcott in 1868. The novel tells the story of four sisters, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, who spend Christmas without their father as their father goes to war during the American Civil War. Afterward, the sisters live in poverty and work to earn money. It is a story of growth that goes through many difficulties and things until his father returns, but he gets through it well.
Surprisingly, ‘Little Women’ is still a timely work, 160 years after it was published. The four sisters have different dreams, but they respect each other’s dreams, and they love each other in solidarity during difficult times. The reason why the stories of these sisters come to readers so beautifully is might that novel contains what readers need now.
The novel was a commercial and critical success, fueling the success of her second publication, ‘Good Wives’, which was also a success. Alcott has since released two sequels, ‘Little Men’ and ‘Jo’s Boys and How They Turned Out’ respectively. This novel has been adapted into a film by various directors. The fact that several versions of the film have been released shows that this book has a huge impact and is famous.
The historical setting of this novel is the end of the American Civil War in the 19th century. In addition, with the basic classes of lords and serfs, it is a feudal society located in the middle stage between a slave society and a capitalist society. So, readers can appreciate while distinguishing whether the characters in the novel live according to the current ideology or live their lives in disobedience to it. Also, Alcott’s thoughts on slavery maintained because of the influence of feudal society can be glimpsed. Alcott’s point of view against war and slavery is revealed in every sentence in this book.
Through the characters, readers can directly feel the ideal world Alcott wanted. First, the scene where Meg and her husband, John, resolve the conflict shows that it is right for all family members to lead the family rather than the husband as the main agent of the family. Also, the second Jo had a goal to succeed through writing rather than marriage and love. This is very different from the image of women at the time when women thought marriage was important. Jo is also the owner of the author herself. Through a series of things, it can be seen that Alcott wanted everyone to live an equal and free life
In this ‘Little Women’ world created by Alcott, each character lives with different values; The first Meg’s primary value is love, second Jo and fourth Amy, social success, and third Beth, her family. Not only these, but all the characters live with their characteristics. The characters are all concrete/three-dimensional, so it feels like they are not a story in a book.
Even 160 years after its publication, the novel is still popular. This novel is considered one of the classic masterpieces. If someone wants to know how beautiful a person’s growth is, highly recommend this novel. The humor and bright emotions throughout the novel will surely touch the hearts of readers.