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The Power of Love in Louisa May Alcott Little Women

The Power of Love in Little Women

“Truly, love does work miracles!” (335) The March family portrayed in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, was the classic American family. The father is fighting in war, the mother is all knowing and wise and the four daughters are budding seeds of independence. In the beginning of the novel we are introduced to all four of the sisters. Meg, the oldest, is wise and very concerned with class and the styles of the times. Jo was the least like any of her sisters. She longs to be a boy and not have to worry about such petty things as her hair and what she is wearing. Beth is a kind gentle soul who is always contented with what she has. Amy, the youngest, is very conceited. She is always concerned with her looks and who she will marry.

“‘It’s so dreadful to be poor!’ sighed Meg, looking down at her old dress.

‘I don’t think it’s fair for some girls to have plenty of pretty things and other girls nothing at all,’ added little Amy, with an injured sniff.

‘We have Father and Mother and each other,’ said Beth contentedly, from her corner . . . . Jo immediately sat up, put her hands in her pockets, and began to whistle. ‘Don’t Jo-it’s so boyish!'{Amy said}

‘That’s why I do it'” (p.3-4).

Though different in many ways, they all loved each other. It was, however, love from, and for, other people that changed them all in so many ways.

Being the oldest sister, Meg felt a lot of pressure on her to marry into the right class. She longed for pretty things and large house. She wasn’t as conceited as Amy, but continually let Jo know how disappointed in her she was. Jo’s unladylike tendencies disgusted her. After going to a coming out party for Annie Moffat, Meg was a changed pers…

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…n any other love. In her short life she changed many people for the better.

The March family survived many hardships and surpassed many obstacles. Without the love for each other, they wouldn’t have made so far. Many years later, Mrs. an Mr. March are sitting back, watching their daughters and grandchildren romp in the orchard. They both see how much they have all grown and changed, Mrs. March turn to Mr. March and says, “Truly, love does work miracles! How very, very happy they must be”(335)

Work Cited

Alcott, Louisa May. Little Women. New York: Signet, 1983.

Douglas, Ann. Introduction. Little Women. By Louisa May Alcott. New York: Signet, 1983. vii-xxvii.

Elbert, Sarah. A Hunger for Home: Louisa May Alcott and Little Women. Philadelphia: Temple Press, 1984.

Hollander, Anne. “Portraying ‘Little Women’ Through the Ages. New York Times 15 Apr. 1994.

Symbolism in Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tale, “Young Goodman Brown,” is rich in symbolism, as this essay will amply illustrate.

Hugo McPherson in “Hawthorne’s Use of Mythology” explains how the author’s “inner drama” may be expressed in his symbolism:

The imaginative foundation of a writer’s work may well be an inner drama or ‘hidden life’ in which his deepest interests and conflicts are transformed into images or characters; and through the symbolic play of these creations, he comes to ‘know’ the meaning of his experience; the imaginative structure becomes a means of reaching truth. . . . he lives ‘a life of allegory,’ and each of his works expresses one facet or another of the total structure. . . .heart-leading symbol. [The Heart became] Hawthorne’s central preoccupation and his leading symbol (68).

Edmund Fuller and B. Jo Kinnick in “Stories Derived from New England Living” state: “Hawthorne’s unique gift was for the creation of strongly symbolic stories which touch the deepest roots of man’s moral nature” (31). Stanley T. Williams in “Hawthorne’s Puritan Mind” states that the author was forever “perfecting his delicate craft of the symbol, of allegory, of the few themes and oft repeated character-types which were to haunt forever the minds of those who know New England” (42).

Let us begin with the opening lines of the story: “YOUNG GOODMAN BROWN came forth at sunset, into the street of Salem village. . .” What is Goodman Brown symbolic of? 1. According to Levy, he “is Everyman. The bargain he has struck with Satan is the universal one . . . . Initially, he is a naive and immature young man who fails to understand the gravity of the step he has taken . . . [which is] succeeded by a presumably adult determination to resi…

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…. Jo Kinnick in “Stories Derived from New England Living.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.

Hale, John K. “The Serpentine Staff in ‘Young Goodman Brown.’” Nathaniel Hawthorne Review 19 (Fall 1993): 17-18.

James, Henry. Hawthorne.

Leavis, Q. D. “Hawthorne as Poet.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.

Levy, Leo B. “The Problem of Faith in ‘Young Goodman Brown.’” Modern Critcial Views: Nathaniel Hawthorne. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. 115-126.

McPherson, Hugo. “Hawthorne’s Use of Mythology.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.

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