Louisa May Alcott and transnational family

Niina Pekantytär

columbia pictures

Louisa May Alcott was a transcendentalist. Transcendentalism was a philosophical and Christian movement. Transcendentalism was based on the ideas of German philosopher Immanuel Kant and his ideology about the universal family. The belief that all nations can learn from one another. Transcendentalists took this message to their hearts. If you know anything about 19th-century world events and conflicts the transcendentalist were seen as radical but they were also ahead of their time. Getting familiar with other cultures was encouraged. The German immigrants were widely discriminated against. Transcendentalists welcomed them.

The most respected and valued literature, poetry and plays and art all came from Germany and Louisa´s whole world view was based on German philosophy. The 2019 film has been criticized for not including the transcendentalist ideas and when Greta Gerwig was promoting her film, she made tons of xenophobic statements on Friedrich´s character. Him being German and him speaking with a German accent and how Greta Gerwig thought it was repulsive. All these xenophobic comments don´t align with Louisa´s philosophy about transnational family and Greta Gerwig is a descendant of German immigrants herself. Some of the criticism that I have come across about Greta Gerwig is that she is reluctant to have minorities presented in her films. Which is very unfortunate. When Jo decides to stop writing to the Weekly Volcano, she makes a remarkable realization. As a creator, everything that she writes in her novels has either a good or a bad influence on her readership and she stops to think how much damage she has done by writing stories that conflicted with her own morals. She is not even paid well for those stories. Friedrich represents the older Louisa and her whole transcendentalist worldview.

He reminds Jo of who she is as a person and that she has a good heart. Jo grew up in a family that was always ready to help those in need and her mother took Jo and her sisters with them when she went to help the immigrant families and her father lost his job when he took a black child to his school. The Alcott´s were abolitionists and even hid black slaves in their homes. Louisa had first-hand witnessed people being discriminated against because of their ethnicity.

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Folklorist and historian. Alcott essayist. A host of the Little Women Podcast.

Finland, MN

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