Louisa May Alcott (1832 – 1888) is famous for her Little Women and Little Men novels. She wrote many other novels and short stories at a time when writing by women was still seen as primarily based for the home, or letters.
In many ways, her times parallel our own, as social upheaval, and women’s rights were barely beginning to take hold. Women still had to dresses, for society to accept them.
In Little Women she allows Jo to explore and do things that women then would never have felt society would allow – especially wearing pants.
When I read her novels and think about the fun things the teens did, I wish I had been there. Walking, skating, reading parties, story telling nights, and more were how they occupied their minds, and any spare time available from the chores of daily life.
Her characters had always known how to share the roads with horses and buggies. And learned to share them with trains and cars.
In many ways, the world moved faster, as people did common chores the same way all of their lives. In others, they moved slower. More time for family, friends, and building their home.
She influenced my writing to be sure and include strong women, as well as weak women if needed. Women who would stand up to anyone. Women who have been hurt, and refuse to be hurt again. Women from every walk of life. Women whose lives are valued for the work they do. And no work is more important than those who take care of the home, mend the clothes, cook, and make sure everyone has a safe and warm place to sleep at night. She even gets the men to help from time to time.