S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) English Language and Literature (영어영문학과) 영학논집(English Studies) 영학논집(English Studies) No.32 (2012)
올콧의 도발적인 소꿉장난:『작은 아씨들』의 고전 다시쓰기와 세계창조실험
Alcott Plays House:Rewriting the Classic and Creating a New World in Little Women
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 인문대학 영어영문학과
- 영학논집, Vol.32, pp. 95-118
- Louisa May Alcotts Little Women, regardless of its vast success in the publishing market, has been dismissed as a rather minor work in the more serious and masculine literary scene of 19th century America. Following the track of feminist critics who have been reevalutating Alcotts literary accomplishments, this paper sheds the new light on the novel as the artist Alcotts
original novelistic experiment. Alcott, unlike the general presupposition considering
her as a childrens books author bent on light topics, writes the novel under the very influence of the European literary tradition and the contemporary American literary trend―transcendentalism. As an American transcendentalist, she rewrites the European novel into American novel; as a feminist transcendentalist, she reinterprets Emersons masculine transcendentalism
into a feminine and domestic one. In Little Women little domestic places are transformed into vast wilderness that establishes its own politics, economies, and arts: politics that resists the separation of public and private spheres, economies that feminine materials, instead of capital, circulate among people, and arts that stand under the feminine and domestic tradition and values.
This experiment, however, has its limits. Littleness, however splendidly rewritten,
is still a term taken by the patriarchal language system. Jos desire to fly over the net is finally entrapped by the moralistic judgments of Bhaer―a teacher and a father-figure who later marries her. Conscious of the danger of self-suffocating femininity, Alcott redefines Jos domesticity by killing off Beth, a true angel in the house, who symbolizes the traditional femininity.
The novels ending―Jo opening a school/home for poor boys―extends the limits of traditionally domestic spaces into a more open and public place, reimagining the possibilities of feminine values.