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The cult of domesticity and the true womanhood in Louisa M Alcotts Little women
2002 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor)Student thesis
Abstract [en]

During the 19th Century a new ideal of womanhood and a new ideology about the home arose out of new attitudes about work and family, and it was called “The Cult of Domesticity and True Womanhood.” This ideal of womanhood could be divided into four cardinal virtues – four characteristics any good and proper young woman should cultivate: piety, purity, submissiveness and domesticity. In Little Women it is clearly a woman’s duty to take care of the household and a wife’s duty to bring up the children. While Mr March is away as a chaplain in the Civil War Mrs. March takes care of the house and the children Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Although many contemporary critics see Little Women as a radical, feminist text in this essay I will show how Alcott’s novel supports the ideal of True Womanhood. In Little Women, then, each of the March daughters finally conforms to this idea, repressing any desire for self-expression or independence. Alcott demonstrates how a patriarchal society transforms women into silent entirely domestic, passive creatures. Little Women indicates that women can only achieve happiness by adhering to patriarchal norms. In so doing they can become the perfect wife and mother – a True Woman.

Abstract [en]

During the 19th Century a new ideal of womanhood and a new ideology about the home arose out of new attitudes about work and family, and it was called “The Cult of Domesticity and True Womanhood.” This ideal of womanhood could be divided into four cardinal virtues – four characteristics any good and proper young woman should cultivate: piety, purity, submissiveness and domesticity._x000B_In Little Women it is clearly a woman’s duty to take care of the household and a wife’s duty to bring up the children. While Mr March is away as a chaplain in the Civil War Mrs. March takes care of the house and the children Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Although many contemporary critics see Little Women as a radical, feminist text in this essay I will show how Alcott’s novel supports the ideal of True Womanhood. In Little Women, then, each of the March daughters finally conforms to this idea, repressing any desire for self-expression or independence. Alcott demonstrates how a patriarchal society transforms women into silent entirely domestic, passive creatures. Little Women indicates that women can only achieve happiness by adhering to patriarchal norms. In so doing they can become the perfect wife and mother – a True Woman.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. , 16 p.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-53708Local ID: ENG C-14OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-53708DiVA: diva2:1102268
Subject / course
English
Available from: 2017-05-29 Created: 2017-05-29

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
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  • vancouver
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Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
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Output format
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