GS 554 — Reimagining the Gendered Classics: Little Women

Here is a growing list of themes and questions that have arisen during our discussion of Luisa May Alcott’s Little Women.


  • The gendered nature of toys and products targeted at children (American Girl dolls, Spiderman vs. Disney princess backpacks, etc.).
  • The limits of subversive elements in literature.


  • What is the relationship between expectations of perfection and ideals of girlhood and womanhood? Of subordination?
  • How does consumer/commercial culture interact with and influence gender ideals?
  • What influential texts serve to illustrate gender expectations in today’s society?
  • What forces in society today continue to subvert or reinforce expectations of a patriarchal status quo?