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Coming of age in Victorian America: challenging gender roles in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women
Kristianstad University, Faculty of Education, Department of Humanities.
2021 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Coming of age i viktorianska Amerika : att utmana könsroller i Louisa May Alcott’s Unga kvinnor (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

This essay argues that Little Women does not promote breaking stereotypical gender norms and nineteenth century gender roles, contrary to what several critics say. This paper will be using feminist criticism and analyzing two of the novel’s main characters, Meg and Jo, and examining their behavior towards stereotypical gender norms and rules. This essay concludes that while Jo challenges certain gender norms and roles, such as having “manly” emotions (anger) and taking on male-dominated jobs (author), within the narration she is punished for these and forced to become a conventional woman of the nineteenth century in order to live a happy life. On the other hand, Meg follows the rules of societal gender expectations and is rewarded for her behavior. By examining these two characters, this essay establishes that Little Women, because it is a didactic novel, delivers the moral that women can only be truly happy if they fit into stereotypical gender norms and roles.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2021. , p. 20
Keywords [en]
Gender roles, feminist criticism, femininity, nineteenth-century literature, coming of age, Little Women, domesticity
National Category
Specific Literatures
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hkr:diva-22561OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hkr-22561DiVA, id: diva2:1594105
Subject / course
English
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Examiners
Available from: 2021-09-15 Created: 2021-09-14 Last updated: 2021-09-15Bibliographically approved

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fulltext(280 kB)627 downloads
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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf