Little Women, Little Houses: Authorship and Authority in Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder
Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
English and Linguistics
Department Chair or Program Director
Major or Concentration
Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House novels, share a place in the canon of American children’s literature as novels centered on female protagonists coming of age within an emblematic period in American history, respectively the duration and aftermath of the Civil War and the post-Homestead Act settlement of the Western frontier. Each text portrays the intertwined processes of girlhood and nationhood through the eyes of rebellious, gender-nonconforming protagonists, Jo and Laura, who each undergo an arc towards starting a traditional family and immersing themselves in normative national projects (respectively a philanthropic school for the poor, and the continued settlement of the West). Using the two texts’ collisions between nonconformity and conformity as guiding points, I undertake a comparative study between the two, examining the shared themes of gender norms, familial bonds, schooling, authorial voice, and audience effect as they operate in each text.
Savelyeva, Katia, "Little Women, Little Houses: Authorship and Authority in Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder" (2022). Student Research Submissions. 463.
American Literature Commons, Children's and Young Adult Literature Commons, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Commons, Literature in English, North America Commons