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The Interpretation of the Insufficiency of Male Characterization in Little Women

2018-08-27 09:49:35

Abstract

Little Women, set in the backdrop of the American Civil War, is Louisa May Alcott’s best and most influential family novel with autobiography. Her delicate writing skills and quite interesting dialogues constitute the theme of the four sisters’ growth, which has received enduring good reviews from many readers. Even though without ups and downs and gripping suspense in plot, this novel has attracted much attention because of its lively and lovely content and its profound connotation.

The novel’s biggest feature is lacking male character sketch. The novel starts with a foreshadowing namely in the March family father’s absence: Jo said sadly, we will not have a father for a long time. Although father, a symbol of the patriarchal, doesn’t stay with the family, it never affects the cheerful atmosphere of the family. Mrs. March and four sisters still manage to maintain the livelihood of the family, without husband or father’s support. The dialogues between those women take over the novel. It provides a chance for women to shoulder the responsibilities of social life when a father is absent, which provides an effective way to push back the patriarchal discourse hegemony and shakes the traditional ideology of male chauvinism.

The purpose of combining the experience of Louisa May Alcott with the social background at that time and the influence of her father and Emerson's transcendental philosophy and feminism, is to clarify the innovative writing skill of lacking of male characters sketch in Little Women and then, highlight the improvement of females' social status and strengthen their sense of self-worth.

Key words: character sketch, transcendentalism, feminism, patriarchy


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