Sample Student Papers

When studying literature, one of the most rewarding parts is doing your own research and learning more about an author who you might not have ever “met” before. Here are some examples of papers by students who have done just that. They are “saying the names” of female authors and introducing them to an audience of their peers and, at the same time, demonstrating their ability to read literature through a feminist lens.

Student Example 1: Agatha Christie’s Ultimate Revenge

There have been many popular mystery series, including those of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” and Caroline Keene’s “Nancy Drew.” However, none of them can compare to the novels and plays of Agatha Christie. The genre of mystery novels has been popular since Edger Allen Poe first introduced his try at the genre.  In her writing career, Agatha Christie wrote many novels, but The Hollow was an unintentional semi-autobiographical type of mystery novel. At first, Christie did not have the passion to be a writer, even though, at age eleven, she made her first debut with a poem in a local London newspaper. As she got older, she found that she did have a passion for writing, and as her life unfolded, so did her career. A few of the characters represented some of the qualities that others and even she put on herself. For example, the three characters that stood out to me are Gerda Christow, the betrayed wife, Henrietta Savernake, the successful and protective artist, and Lady Angkatell, the woman who was brought up as a proper lady and who looked down on those who were not like her. In Agatha Christie’s novel The Hollow, her characters represent what she experienced in her life, what she was raised to believe, and how she viewed women.

Agatha Christie’s life had some rough spots, but she pulled through it with her writing career. At the age of 24, she married Archibald Christie, an officer in the Royal Flying Corp at that time. The two traveled a lot. They had one daughter, whom they named Rosalind, in 1919. However, the two got divorced in 1928 sometime after Archibald Christie said that he had fallen in love with an attractive woman at the golf club he was a member of and stayed there for long periods. The Hollow was published 18 years after their divorce; however, her experience in marital betrayal still transferred into the mystery and the characters. Two years after her divorce, she married her second husband, Sir Max Mallowan. They had a stable relationship for 30 years, and he took care of Rosalind as if she were his own daughter. She traveled all over the world with both Archibald Christie and Sir Max Mallowan. Most of the scenery in her novels comes from her journeys around the world and her imagination. From her travels and imagination came the fantastic world of mysteries that people who read her novels know and love. One of her more famous imaginary worlds is set in England with her main character, Hercule Poirot, a retired Belgian police officer. Poirot is her most famous detectives compared to her other character of Miss Marple.  Hercule Poirot is invited to tea with some weekend guests of Lady Angertell. However, when he arrives, a well-known doctor is found dying beside a pool with his wife standing over him, holding a revolver while the other guests surround the scene.

The portrayal of Gerda Christow is almost a biographical character, in that Christie uses the marital relationship between John and Gerda to represent her own experience in her first marriage. However, in the novel, Gerda does what Christie only wished she could have done. The event that pushed Gerda over the edge of deciding to murder her husband was his ex-fiance showing up to the country house and having John escort her back to her house not too far from the place and keeping him most of the night. Until the end of the book, Gerda Christow is portrayed as being slow, dumb, and incapable of committing a murder. Most of the characters bully her behind her back. In the novel, Gerda’s sister, Mrs. Elsie Patterson, reflects, “Gerda always was terribly slow” this shows that even her family thought that she was slow and stupid (165). She would always act slower and dumber than what others thought. Agatha Christie was often called slow by her family and a few people she met during her career, which influenced the character of Gerda Christow. In The Hollow, she put her experiences into the character and created her in a way that made the reader, in the end, realize that she was smart. She explained how “She’d got worse and worse, more clumsy with her fingers, more slow-witted, more inclined to stare vacantly at what was said to her” realizing that her life would be more comfortable having other people do everything for her (Christie 47). Throughout the novel, though, it seems as though she is slow, and she does not quite comprehend what had happened. At the end of the book, Gerda speaks up for herself saying “I’m not quite as stupid as everybody thinks” when she took the holster from the gun that she used back to her apartment, and the police searched it, she cut up the holster and put it in with her leather workings (Christie 292). The character Gerda only acted slow and stupid, so people would do almost everything for her, though I do not think that Christie had acted dumb to make others do everything for her. In contrast, the portrayal of Henrietta Savernake is almost entirely different from the portrayal of Gerda Christow.

Henrietta Savernake is a successful artist in The Hollow. The portrayal of her character reflects Christie’s artistic personality, her protective side, and her view that women should be able to express their creative selves. She loved John Christow but would never openly say it because she respected Gerda. Everyone loved her like they disliked Gerda. They would always say lovely things about her like, “Henrietta has a touch of real genius, I think. And she is a very lovely and satisfying person as well” (Christie 6). John would go to her studio regularly, talk with her about what he was working on, he was a doctor, and watch her work. In the book, Ms. Savernake asks Gerda to be her sculpting model for a project, Gerda gladly accepts, but John was apprehensive about the whole thing. He asked her why she made a statuette of Gerda. Henrietta only replied, “…Gerda seemed quite pleased” (Christie, 42). When John said that she did not care about anyone or Gerda when she was making statuettes like the one of Gerda, she defended herself and, in a sense, Gerda. She shot back, “That’s why I made that statuette thing. To please Gerda and make her happy. I’m not inhuman!” speaking up for herself and expressing her artistic personality, but at the same time, a bit of the protective side of herself (Christie 44). Christie was much like her character of Henrietta, she is not what society expects of women in that she freely expresses her creativity in what she does best, but is put down by some men. In Joan Acocella’s article she quotes one of Agatha Christie’s books, “I always had brains, even as a girl,” one of her old ladies says. “But they wouldn’t let me do anything” saying that Christie put herself into her characters, though some may say that she did not do it intentionally (“Christie”). Agatha Christie thought outside the societal box when it came to writing during her time, her first husband did not like her writing to earn money, so he did not support her. This worked itself into her novels in various situations. According to Gillian Gill in her biographical book about Agatha Christie, she argues that “…the sculpter Hentrietta Savernake in Murder After Hours/The Hollow are artists whose work is representational but yet untraditional, following a personal style that is far from the taste of the hoi polloi” she is saying that the character is representitive of Agatha Christie because she was an unconventional woman by writing the best mystery novels in the early 1900s (Gill). Through her writing, Christie was able to show how women of different social standings were treated and how she viewed those women. In the lower class, Gerda is verbally abused by others because of the social standing that she came from, in the middle class, Henrietta is treated better, but there is still a sense of dislike because she is confident in herself and is able to express herself through art that she then sells to support herself, and then in the upper class, Lady Angkatell, a woman who was raised in the understanding that she is above everyone else and is the kind of neurotic woman that society allows, she worries about parties, clothes, and the guests who would be at a party.

Lady Angkatell, the owner of the country house, represents Christie’s properly educated self that looks at women in the lower classes as if they did something to deserve being in the lower classes. Lady Angertell may seem like a nice person telling everyone to be kind to Gerda while she is at the country house for the weekend, but she wants to look good in front of everyone, and the way she talks about Gerda is rude. She does not seem to be looking for trouble, but looking closely at her actions, trouble finds her, not directly at least. After Inspector Grange and Hercule Poirot interview her, she confesses to her husband that she had planned on killing John but did not follow through with it. She has a reputation for carrying on conversations in her head before talking to the people she means to talk to, and then randomly saying something to the person as if they had been involved in the conversation the whole time. One gets the feeling that Christie often did this herself, though one might not hear or read about it.

Agatha Christie wrote many novels, but the only one to seem semi-autobiographical was The Hollow. She took what she experienced in the world, in her own relationships, and integrated that into the story. Gerda Christow represents the shy, insecure, and mentally abused part of Christie that, in the end, stood up for herself, not in the best way, and took revenge on her husband for cheating on her, something that Christie only wished she had done. Henrietta Savernake represents Christie’s more artistic, protective, and independent side. Lady Angkatell represents her proper and neurotic side, which society imposes on a woman of her era. Each of these characters also represents her different views on women and how they should act or behave. At the end of the novel, Gerda essentially gets away with the murder of her husband, if the reader thinks about the relationship of Agatha and Archibald, this would be her ultimate revenge. She is betrayed by her husband, she writes this book after they have been divorced for a while and she publishes it without anyone realizing that she was secretly wishing she could have killed Archibald.

Works Cited

Acocella, Joan. “QUEEN OF CRIME.” The New Yorker, vol. 86, no. 24 Aug, 2010, pp. 82. ProQuest, https://proxy.yc.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.proxy.yc.edu/docview/746535666?accountid=8141.

Agatha Christie. The Hollow. 2002 HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle edition

“Christie, (Dame) Agatha (Mary Clarissa) (1890-1976), An Introduction to.” Contemporary Literary Criticism, edited by Daniel G. Marowski and Roger Matuz, vol. 48, Gale, 1988. Gale Literature Criticism, https://link-gale-com.proxy.yc.edu/apps/doc/OTWEUV766821943/LCO?u=yava&sid=LCO xid=d3b606d6. Accessed 1 July 2020.

Gill, Gillian. Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries. N.p., Pavilion Books, 2016.

 

 

Example 2: Comparing Cinderella To Cinder: The Maiden Versus an Independent Female

Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty are all examples of well known and cherished stories. However, as girls grow up, they might wonder if these are the types of stories they want to look up to in life. Dainty females who talk and act proper, waiting until some handsome and rich man stumbles across their beauty and saves them. As wonderful as these stories are, these aren’t the best examples for a growing girl scouring for ladies in shows, movies, and books to be their role models. This lack of females is part of the outcry about representation in media- we don’t want the same maiden in distress, we want strong women.

This desire, or even this need for better representation, has led to some of these favorite classics’ readaptations. The one we’ll be focusing on is Cinder, a readaptation loosely based around the story of Cinderella, but with a dark and futuristic twist. While Cinderella is a classic tale popular with many young adults, the representation of women shows them as weak and less than the men in the story, and can be damaging to young minds watching; in comparison, Cinder by Marissa Meyer presents her Cinderella character as not only a strong female character but a more relatable one for young girls to read.

Cinderella by Grimm Brothers is one of the more famous versions known. This story is closest to the version most are familiar with, minus a few darker moments. It has the evil stepmother and sisters who refuse to let Cinderella, always covered in soot and dirt, go to the festival. One difference is that instead of a fairy godmother, she planted a tree that grew at her mother’s grave, where she cried over it. This tree was home to a small white bird, who threw down whatever she asked for while praying. This bird gave her a gown and shoes for the festival, where she danced with the prince for three days, as he refused any other lady who asked for a turn. In the first two days, she made her escape no problem; on the last, however, she lost her slipper. The prince got it and searched for his bride. He brought it to the family house, where the first stepsister chopped off her big toe to fit in. As he rode away, the birds who gave Cinderella her presents sung to him about the wrong maiden, for her shoe bled. Then, the next sister cut off her heel, and the birds sang the same song. Finally, Cinderella tried it on, and the prince took home his bride-to-be. At their wedding, the white birds picked out the stepsisters’ eyes for being so deceitful. (Lucas)

Whether it be the darker twist or even the Disney classic, they all show the women in a similar fashion. Young girl Cinderella is forced to do all the chores and dress in unflattering ways. She listens and obeys until it comes to the ball or the festival. She decides to go, with or without permission, and there she sees the prince. A rich man of high standing sees this beautiful woman and decides she’s so beautiful that it’s “love at first sight,” only dancing with her, pushing away anyone else who asks. This poor and dirty girl of a low class is suddenly swept up by a rich man who brings up her status and wealth, “saving” her. A summary of the book The Cinderella Complex by Colette Dowling also sees this similar representation of Cinderella as harmful. She says: “Males are educated for independence from the day they’re born. Just as systematically, females are taught that they have an out–that someday, in some way, they are going to be saved” (“The Cinderella Complex”). Cinderella relied on a man, the prince, to save her from her situation because women don’t learn this independence. However, just because it has been the theme for years, doesn’t mean it should stay the same.

In contrast, Cinder is an entirely different story, though still full of just enough nods to the classic. This YA novel seems to go against all the classic stereotypes of Cinderella. For a start, Cinder, a young cyborg, can be kind of a troublemaker. Young Cinderella would never go against what her stepmother asked, minus the festival. Cinder, on the other hand, would fight with her stepmother, try to hide money so that she couldn’t take it all when she doesn’t work, and sneak things she wants behind her back (since it is her money after all). Actions like this get her deemed a terrible child, and her stepmother rips apart her android friend Iko for parts in return. Another example; Cinderella went to the ball in a beautiful robe and slippers. Now Cinder, she looked like a disaster and a mess. Why? Her gown was wrinkled and dusty, after sitting in the corner of the workroom ever since her sister died. She wore boots to hide her metallic foot, including the fact that it was a robotic foot for an 11-year-old cyborg, and she was 16. Neither her hair nor face done fancily up, and the gloves she wore to hide her robotic hand were formerly beautiful silk gloves from the prince himself but ended up covered in dark grease stains. In Cinderella, she was dying to go to the palace to enjoy the party. Cinder, however, was utterly dreading it, and even though Prince Kai asked her personally, her response was a firm no. It got to the point of Kai almost pleading that she go with him. However, her family would be out at the ball, and Cinder had planned to escape them and drive until she couldn’t go any further, so she said no. However, once she gets word that the evil queen, Queen Levana of the Lunar moon people, plans to marry Kai and kill him, she heads over to the ball anyway. Cinder goes to save Kai and not the other way around. (Meyer) Cinder is selfless and headstrong and determined to do whatever she needs on her own. She’s a complex and strong female character who can be witty, sarcastic, and bold when standing up for herself.

All’s fair in love and war, and neither of these stories are entirely one way or the other. Cinderella may have been a dainty maiden who did what she was told, but she was still rebellious and stubborn when it came to the ball. With the help of her fairy godmother, she escaped off into the night to dance, when she could have easily just decided to listen to her stepmother and stay home. She also didn’t go with the intent to be saved, as briefly mentioned, she just wanted to dance and have fun; the prince just happened to take a liking to her while there. Now Cinder is a tough and stubborn girl; however, she seems to be the only show of this type. Only one of her stepsisters was sweet to Cinder, and she didn’t last too long in the book. The other one was cruel, as the story mentions, and so was her stepmother. They treated her as a gross thing they only tolerate being around since she’s a cyborg and all. Another prominent woman was Queen Levana, the main antagonist, but she was solely focused on beauty and power, making her an unlikeable character you hope will lose. Cinder is really the only show, in the first book at least, of a strong female and the only one with some ounce of kindness in her. Once later books come around, a few more can be found, but for this adaptation, it lacks some variety.

Regardless of this, comparing these two well-known versions can still show why Cinder is a better role model. Even in other variations, Cinderella has always been the maiden, a damsel in distress, which makes Cinder a nice change of pace. Comparing these two maybe seems a bit dramatic to say; that there’s a “better” version of Cinderella, but it’s an important topic. Kids of any gender will base themselves off what they see in media, though it affects young girls the most. An article from ProQuest also mentions why characters like this are essential, “Girls often have to ‘battle messages that tell them they are second best, or victims, or human beings measured by the beauty of their bodies and the pliability of their minds'” (Heine). This quote is one they got from Let’s Hear It For The Girls by Erica Bauermeister and Holly Smith. I don’t have a copy of a book, which is why I took it from this article, and it explains why we need stronger media messages. The current ones are typically to be dependent on a man, use makeup to form your face, and do whatever needed to be thin, as well as many other damaging ideas young girls shouldn’t be exposed to. This article, of its own words, also gives some characteristics of what people want these stronger females, and better media representations, to be. They’re looking for “girls and women who are feisty, daring, clever, creative, and insightful” (Heine). While Cinderella is a beautiful and gentle character and a reasonably clever one, she still falls into the damaging stereotype. She’s dependant, and when she met the prince, it was her beauty that caught his eye, not who she was. In Cinder, not only is she witty and intelligent, being the “only full-service mechanic at New Beijing’s weekly market” (Meyer 1-2). She’s also daring when told she would forcefully become a test subject for a deadly disease as she “swung the magbelt, smacking it hard against the android’s cranium” (Meyer 68). As previously discussed, she goes against all the stereotypes of the maiden Cinderella, but she also fits the type of girl people would look for as strong. She stands up for herself, and she’s not “perfectly beautiful,” and she doesn’t want the prince to save her, because she’s far more focused on saving herself.

Is this trying to argue never to read different versions of Cinderella in place of this one? Not at all. Cinderella is truly a classic for a reason, it’s a charming tale, and the Grimm brothers took the time to add the many dark twists. This dark tale and the Disney movie are both excellent versions that are unlikely to fade out over time. However, as girls grow older and start seeing the world around them more, they can’t just be taught that they need a man to save them and give in to dependence. They have to find their independence and strength by looking at the women around them. Ladies such as the real people they know, mothers and teachers, and the characters they read and see, whom they might even end up seeing more intimately. While Cinderella is a delight to watch, girls should also look to find and bond with a strong woman. And since Cinder is so unique, but also stays a wonderful nod to the original story, it will interest the young girls who love fairytales and fantasy but also want a fierce role model to look to.

Works Cited

Heine, Pat, and Christine Inkster. “Strong Female Characters in Recent Children’s Literature.” Language Arts, vol. 76, no. 5, 1999, pp. 427-434. ProQuest, https://proxy.yc.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.proxy.yc.edu/docview/196913331?accountid=8141.

Lucas, E. V. Grimm’s Fairy Tales. New York, Grosset & Dunlap, 1985.

Maggi, Armando. “The Creation of Cinderella from Basile to the Brothers Grimm.” The Cambridge Companion to Fairy Tales, Cambridge. Edited by Maria Tatar. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2015. ProQuest, https://proxy.yc.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.proxy.yc.edu/docview/2137995226?accountid=8141.

Meyer, Marissa. Cinder. New York, Scholastic Inc., 2013.

“The Cinderella Complex.” Women’s Wellbeing and Mental Health, http://www.womens-wellbeing-and-mental-health.com/the-cinderella-complex.html.

 

Example 3: Little Women

Often considered to be a classic in young adult literature, Little Women was written by Louisa May Alcott in 1869. While it has gathered a reputation of only strengthening the idea that gender stereotypes, the novel has also served to help push the voice of feminism. Little Women has and continues to be, a strong voice that has not only helped push feminism into the modern-day but also can show how it breaks through the gender stereotypes that have oppressed women throughout history.

To understand how Little Women can be seen as a strong historical voice for the push of feminism, it is important to understand not only the historical context of the novel but also the story of the author herself. Alcott wrote the novel in 1869, three years after the American Civil War had ended. During this time, according to Scholastic, women often did not attend school, rarely held a job, and did not have the power to vote (Scholastic). All three were done by men, who were expected to be the head of the households while the women were expected to be nurturing the children. While the historical voice is important, it is also important to consider the background of the author herself.

The background of Louisa May Alcott is important to understand in order to see what her stance was on feminism. She worked in a field hospital during the Civil War, leading to a rather cynical attitude to the world around her during the war. What is interesting about Alcott is that she first wrote the novel, according to Shirley Foster and Judy Simons, is that she never intended to use the book to promote any ethical or political cause, despite the book having the reputation it has today (Foster). Another important point for Alcott is how the character Jo relates to her. According to Foster and Simons, Alcott was quite frustrated at how the literary market did not take any literature written by women seriously. Alcott was a strong resister of stereotypes, even passionately refusing to marry Jo off to fulfill public demands (Foster). The plot of Little Women also has a lot of connections to Alcott and her backstory. Being the second of four daughters, sharing this with Jo March, Alcott was often reprimanded by her father due to being unable to live up to the gender stereotypes of the time, declaring in her journal that did not care for the, in her own words, girl things (Foster). This attitude of Alcott would take shape in the novel that she would eventually publish, in the shape of gender stereotypes being challenged. However, this was not the only thing that was produced by Little Women.

A common complaint of the novel is how instead of challenging gender stereotypes, the novel does everything it can to reinforce these stereotypes. According to Zeynep Ozgul, the descriptions of Meg, Amy, and Beth, when they are first introduced in the opening pages, “apparently define these three sisters as pretty, shy, peaceful, pale, and mannerly; making them fit into the borders of feminine accomplishment.” (Ozgul). But when Jo, the main heroine of the story, is first introduced to the audience, she is described to be quite the opposite,  having “long shoulders, big hands and feet, a flyaway look to her clothes, and the uncomfortable appearance of a girl who was rapidly shooting up into a woman, and didn’t like it.” (Alcott 6). Jo is not seen as pretty nor peaceful, instead of being pictured as not good looking compared to her more “mannered” sisters. This can also be seen in how the plot vehemently punishes Jo. This can be seen in her relationship with her sisters, with how they constantly criticize Jo for not being a proper lady and not being able to conform herself as they have. This can also be seen much later in the novel, where one of their aunts is leaving for Europe and is trying to decide on which of the March sisters to take. Jo is ecstatic about the possibility of traveling to Europe and is desperately trying to convince her aunt to take her, only for Amy to be chosen instead. The aunt defends her choice by claiming that she refused to take Jo due to her blunt manners and independent spirit (Ozgul). While there are valid arguments against Little Women, there are also valid arguments in how Little Women goes against gender stereotypes.

When it comes to Little Women, an important way in how the voice of feminism is first introduced is through how it challenges gender stereotypes. The first way this can be seen, according to Claire Bender, who wrote an essay for the University of Northwestern-St Paul regarding the gender stereotypes of Little Women, is in comparison to the characters Jo and Laurie. According to Bender, the first of several challenges of gender stereotyping is how Louisa May Alcott named and characterized these two characters. Regarding the names, Jo and Laurie are often names usually associated with the opposite sex of each but are instead given to a female and male respectively (Alcott). Even when they first meet at a New Year’s Eve party, neither appears to be concerned regarding the names of each other, instead deciding to focus on the cat that Laurie rescued. The characterization of both characters is also important to consider, as it is rather easy to read through the book and imagine Jo being a male while Laurie is a female. Gender stereotype, at the time, dictated that the male and female characters must be distinguishable from each other and that it be easy to recognize the gender of the characters. Alcott chooses not to character Jo and Laurie simply through their genders, however. This is not the only way Alcott challenges gender stereotyping.

While the character of Jo March is an easy one to point to regarding how Little Women challenges gender stereotypes, the truth is that it can be argued that the March sisters challenge the gender stereotypes of the day in their unique way.

Starting with the character of Josephine “Jo” March, it is easy to see why Jo is still seen as one of the most well-known tomboys in the world of literature. When Jo is first introduced, she is seen to have masculine traits in a time where it was very taboo to have these traits. And even after it seems like the novel has punished Jo for being more masculine than the mannered lady that she was supposed to be, this can be seen as the unique way that the characterization of Jo was challenging the gender stereotypes. By bringing attention to how the status quo and the gender stereotypes that the period has, it allows these stereotypes to be challenged in a way that it often was not at the time.

It is also important to consider how the two other main sisters of the story also challenge the gender stereotypes of the time. While Meg and Amy have conformed to the stereotypes in a much more significant and obvious manner than Jo has, they still provide challenges in their way. According to an essay written by Jill May, the experiences that the characters face begin to change their perspectives. According to May, “all of the sisters are true to themselves, and they set their sights on perfecting the talents that please them, whether or not these talents are appreciated by society.” (May). During this time, it was expected of women, no matter how talented they are, to put away their talents to focus on domesticating, raising, and nurturing home and family. Instead of following this stereotype that has plagued women for too long in the long pages of history, each of the March sisters focuses on what they enjoy and decide to pursue them.

The usual gender stereotype is that once married, a woman is expected to be the main force behind raising a household, not run around looking for employment or pursuing her talents. Instead, after being married, Meg and Amy, according to May, “resolve to work beyond the four walls of their homes.” (May). Rather than being content in raising their own families, both Meg and Amy seek to work beyond their houses, being able to focus on things such as Meg finding employment as a governess, which involves teaching children rather than focus on their needs and how to raise them, and Amy focusing on her artistic pursuits once she returns from Europe. While the novel and the way it handles gender stereotypes may be appropriate for a product of the late 19th century, the book has proven to be quite effective in the modern-day.

When the latest movie adaptation of Little Women was released on Christmas Day last year, it carried a message from the past into the modern-day. According to Lauren Cain of The Children Society, that message is one that “today’s young people desperately need to hear.” That message is to simply be yourself. In the book and the movie, despite the situations that the March sisters end up facing, they remain true to themselves, despite living in a time where women were expected to conform themselves to what society dictated of them. It is an important message, especially for women. The gender stereotypes that were present in the time of Alcott have sadly continued to today. While Alcott did address these issues back in 1869, the fact that it continues to this day needs to be addressed once more, and the message that Alcott provides can serve as a good beginning point for that,

While Little Women has issues in clarifying where it stands in regards to gender stereotypes, the fact that it addresses them in a time that was considered to be taboo to challenge, demonstrates how it lent its voice to feminism and the stance that Louisa May Alcott had. While the book does have moments where the voice of feminism is not as strong as it should be, it is still a strong message and demonstrates the multiple ways that women can push to break through the oppression placed by social expectations.

Works Cited

Bender, Clare. “Gender Stereotyping in Little Women: ‘Let Us Be Elegant or Die!’” Research.monm.edu, University of Northwestern-St Paul, research.monm.edu/mjur/files/2019/02/MJUR-i08-2017-8-Bender.pdf.

Cain, Lauren. “Why Little Women Still Works for Young People Today.” The Children’s Society, 8 Jan. 2020, www.childrenssociety.org.uk/news-and-blogs/our-blog/why-little-women-still-works-for-young-people-today.

Foster, Shirley, and Judy Simons. “Louisa May Alcott: Little Women.” Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, edited by Suzanne Dewsbury, vol. 83, Gale, 1999. Gale Literature Criticism, https://link-gale-com.proxy.yc.edu/apps/doc/LMKHLE284680366/LCO?u=yava&sid=LCO&xid=b479c9b7. Accessed 3 July 2020. Originally published in What Katy Read: Feminist Re-Readings of Classic Stories for Girls, University of Iowa Press, 1995, pp. 85-106.

May, Jill P. “Feminism and Children’s Literature: Fitting ‘Little Women’ into the American Literary Canon.” CEA Critic, vol. 56, no. 3, 1994, pp. 19–27. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/44378244. Accessed 3 July 2020.

Monfried, Lucia, and Louisa May Alcott. Little Women. Baronet Books, 1989.

Ozgul, Zeynep. “Learning Gender Through Literature: The Deconstruction of Traditional Gender Roles in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.” Academia.edu, www.academia.edu/36638319/Learning_Gender_Through_Literature_The_Deconstruction_of_Traditional_Gender_Roles_in_Louisa_May_Alcott_s_Little_Women.

“Women In The 1800s.” Scholastic, www.scholastic.ca/education/magazines/elt_pdfs/little-women-factfile-616443.pdf.

 

 

 

 

 

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