Tour de Force
Before it was a mega popular box-office hit, Little Women was a mega popular and influential book. Written in 1869, the novel was considered to be incredibly ahead of its time. Even today, the book serves as an important reminder for the liberation of preconceived gender roles in society. Before you rush off to the cinema to see the movie, here is a helpful guide to take your knowledge of Little Women from a 0 to a 10.
The Book is Semi-Autobiographical
Little Women was written by Louisa May Alcott in 1869, and is loosely based on her own life. Meg, Beth and Amy were inspired by her own three sisters.
It Wasn't Her First Choice of Subject
Louisa May Alcott didn’t actually want to write Little Women. Prior to the success of Little Women, Alcott wrote pulp fiction and other experimental forms of literature. She likened the subject of girls to “moral pap for the young.” She was headstrong (ahem…just like Jo!) and didn’t want to contribute to the stereotypes in society that girls are only interested in gossip and getting married.
She Had an Unconventional Upbringing
Louisa May Alcott was raised by transcendentalist parents who circulated with many of the prominent intellectuals of the time. Some of whom included Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathanial Hawthorne and Henry David-Thoreau.
She Worked Hard for Women's Rights
Louisa May Alcott was one of the founders of the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union in Boston. It was founded to help women and children in industrial cities.
Short (but long) and Sweet
It only took Alcott three months to write both volumes!
Part One and Two
Little Women was initially published in two volumes. The first book was so popular that after its initial publication, her publisher insisted she write a second one! The second book was titled Good Wives, upon which the name was later thrown out and combined with the first volume to create the beloved Little Women the world has come to love.
Make sure to tag us on social media @westmarginpress if you used this guide before going to see Little Women in theaters. And make sure to tell us how you liked the movie! Of course, we always advocate that you read the book first though.