Louisa May Alcott: A Hero to the Modern Generation

Happiness and freedom are the two things that we all try to find. No matter how far we run away, it can only be found with someone that we care for. From the books of Louisa May Alcott, children through the ages have learnt the harsh truths of life without any bitterness that comes with it. Her words are so gentle and kind, as if a grandmother telling stories to her grandchildren embracing them in the warmth of her bosom.

Louisa May Alcott

Like her works which have inspired and motivated us and helped us facing our daily battles, she in her lifetime, helped numerous people, not only as a wartime nurse, but as the saying goes ‘charity begins at home‘― she was always there for her family. Through thick and thin, she stood by them, observed death and sorrow up close and still through her words she made her readers smile and laugh.

Usefulness above Happiness:

“Well, if I can’t be happy, I can be useful, perhaps.”

Louisa May Alcott

One of those many great quotes by her that has people marvel over this hero of ours. How fortunate we are to have come across this great, admirable and awe-inspiring woman who practically has become a friend to all who has ever read her works. The more one reads, she seems so similar that slowly you would get pulled into her vortex of works. She has such an inspiring personality that no one, who has come across her plethora of books, would be able to deny her remarkable characteristics (since most of her lead is based on her.)

As a person growing up in so much pain, many times she thought of taking her life but then her duties were more to her than anything. She kept herself motivating by reminding that life is a battle and suicide is an act of a coward.

“So every day is a battle, and I’m so tired I don’t want to live; only it’s cowardly to die till you have done something.”

Louisa May Alcott (Journal: May 1850)

She brought joy to others yet her happiness was being drained out of her year by year. She accepted the harshest of realities with calmness and fought them with patience, and thus even after more than a century she is being remembered and has become dearest to her admirers and devotees.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Be it as a child or as an adult, one must have read ‘Little Women‘ and if not, it is not too late and if you are not an avid reader like others a new movie with the same title is about to be released this Christmas directed by Greta Gerwig (director of award winning movie ‘Lady Bird‘). This is a semi-autobiographical story of Louisa May Alcott and her sisters. Some glimpses of the struggles she faced as a child and most importantly coping up with losing a loved one, has been weaved beautifully into the pages of the novel, for the entertainment of the young minds.

Though created for the mere purpose of entertainment but clearly, as every great author, she has shared, not one but quite a few of the morals she learned over her years, in the two part volume of the novel (my personal favourite being ‘Good Wives‘). Her way of depicting life and death became a signature style in her works. Everyone of her work created for young adults and adults contains hard-hitting facts about society and the culture of the time. More-over, her thoughts are still echoing well in the society as they are perfectly valid even in the present age.

Almost all of her books has a beautiful love story, yet none of those books are ever of romantic genre. Though her characters are sweet and loving, they are all built on strong morals and virtue and none of the characters end up in a dream ending, rather each story has a great moral ending and her characters make you ponder on various interesting topics. Her stories and truly addictive in the most genuine manner, they make you want to read more of her works.

The characters seem to be so real, at times it is hard to comprehend they are works of creation. In this note a beautiful and curious quote of Goethe can be stated: (Who is Goethe? Well, one of Miss Alcott’s Idol)

‘Few people have the imagination for reality.’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Louisa May Alcott

Growing up in poverty did not stop her from enjoying the beauty of life. She found happiness in her family and seeing the smiles on their faces were the first and foremost ambition of her. She even gave up her happiness for her duties towards her family. She was the ‘man‘ of the Alcott family, who earned their daily bread and took out the Alcott’s from the hands of debts. Marriage was never in her mind and it could never have held back such a responsible person. She was a truly “Duties Faithful Child.” Though she found love many times but her love for her family was above everything.

Quite truly the women of this era can learn one or two things from this novel woman. I, personally, am in awe of this person ever since this May when I for the first time read her books. Though she lived more than a century ago yet somehow each and every word of her books emboldens the sprightly core of this new generation. She is a hero, in the truest sense of the word, to everyone who is fighting with the hardest obstacles of life in this present age.

Rabindranath Tagore and his Advises

Rabindranath Tagore has been an inspiring soul to many of the people all over the world, especially Indians. Through his endless amounts of work― be it prose or poetry― he has given our country his all. During the years of his life, he had seen grief up close and that never stopped him from sharing his awe-inspiring words of advise through his works.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
-Rabindranath Tagore

In the era were guns and ammunitions were used by the people all over the planet, some men like him took up there pen and showed the world of its true mightiness. Through their words of wisdom they helped in growth of brotherhood which the country was in extreme need.

“Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.”
-Rabindranath Tagore

There is no need of saying how much he has contributed towards the independence of our country. Even today when we are about to enter into our 73rd year of independence, his thoughts are still evergreen. With the growth of social problems every now and then the words of our great poets and authors gives us courage to fight against the odds. Be it political, social or economic, their words still holds equal importance in our social strata.

“Neither the colourless vagueness of cosmopolitanism, nor the fierce self-idolatry of nation-worship, is the goal of human history.”
-Nationalism by Rabindranath Tagore.

What is the true meaning of Nation? Do we ever ask ourselves that. Is it not worth knowing what true nationalism means? Though our Country has produced eminent scholars but still somewhere it seems to be in lacking of the true knowledge. No amount of education or degree would teach that knowledge: it is the knowledge that we learn from life, by facing our fears and by confronting them with courage.

Freedom of Speech has been provided by our constitution yet when someone speaks we try to shut them and their thoughts permanently from growing in those minds. Then how can we as a country grow if everyone of us are just mute puppets in the hands of the Lords? Then is it wrong if thousands of youths of our land flies away to the West in the hope of true freedom?

There is only one way we can let our country’s precious youths value our motherland, that is to respect them and their ideals and not force them into a particular thought and moral which sounds idealistic rather than realistic to our generation.

India is reaching the year when she shall be the youngest nation in the world, having most youths between the ages of 18 to 40. A prime age in which one can do something useful for themselves and in return help in the growth of the country.

The minds in this age are at its peak with the eagerness of doing something and that can be useful if equal opportunities are given to them. If they are not allowed to use their labour in a proper way, we as a country would lose one precious aspect of growth that is―Labour.

With a country being so populous, we are extremely rich, and our riches can be properly utilized if we can efficiently guide the youths of our Nation.

In this aspect the following poem of Rabindranath Tagore gives us the strength to continue our solemn fights for our country.

Where the mind is without fear
By Rabindranath Tagore

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Kontho (2019): Knowing the strength of your Will

Watching Kanttho by Nandita Roy, is a must for anyone who is facing struggles and are unable to get any answers out of life. This movie has at least one answer― Will Power is the real strength that keeps us going on.

‘Arjun Mallik is a popular RJ who is not only famous but well-loved. His listeners connect with him personally and his voice is music to their ears. However, his perfect life comes to an absolute halt when he is diagnosed with throat cancer. A story of hope, a story of friendship, a story of struggle – Konttho, is about the indomitable human spirit.’

Synopsis of Konttho.

The movie has been set in a perfectly melodramatic setting making you instantly attached to the characters and this very creativity of the movie makes you understand the pain and struggle that goes in the family of these patients. The way they keep themselves together in the harshest battle that is being fought by that patient.

The fight against cancer is a long one and this can only be understood by the family and friends of the sufferer and the strength of keeping up with their solemn fight the only thing that holds these patients together is their strong will power.

“Strength is born in the deep silence of long-suffering hearts; not amidst joy.”

Felicia Hemans

The strength of a person is not seen when he is happy rather it is seen when they are facing real struggles. One truly is called to be brave who have fought the battle of life. This fight does not require any physical strength but mental strength that makes you a human. In pain, one can find their true self.

Something worth keeping a note:
Keeping our will power is the key to life. No matter whatever debacle we are in we can always come out of it by that sole that is― Will Power.

“Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”–

Malcolm X

We always have to take what we cannot get. We cannot hope that things are going to be handed over to us. Be it freedom, equality, justice; we are the only person who can take it.

When we watch this movie we are not viewing the life of a person fighting for this life but rather trying to get back the career, that once made him what he is, along with it. This sole purpose of the movie to gets you to ponder whether that fight is only limited to a patient of cancer or we are all in need of that strength to pick ourselves up in whichever problems we have fallen.

“The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths.” –

Bruce Nauman

Wisdom of Creativity is of this movie is not limited. It is the shell that is have only been put out real kernel of the creators perspective has not yet been instilled in our soul. Through various interpretations we get various look at it.

Why girls must watch Lady Bird (2017)?

Lady Bird: a movie written and directed by Greta Gerwig

Lady Bird is a wonderfully depicted story between an independence craving adolescent turning into adulthood and the struggle of a working mother in keeping up with the growing eagerness of her daughter.

“Set in Sacramento, California in 2002, amidst a rapidly shifting American economic landscape, Lady Bird is an affecting look at the relationships that shape us, the beliefs that define us, and the unmatched beauty of a place called home.”

Review of A24 Films on Lady Bird.

It is a perfect movie to spend a mother-daughter moment― though it might come with an ‘I told you so,’ dialogue― the movie is so much worth it.

“We’re afraid that we will never escape our past. We’re afraid of what the future will bring. We’re afraid we won’t be loved, we won’t be liked. And we won’t succeed.”

Parish Priest (Lady Bird)

The thought that keeps most of us awake at night. One of my favourite quotes from the movie; it gives a perfect image of what Christine ‘LadyBird’ McPherson is thinking about. An artistically inclined girl who has high ambitions of getting into the best college. She is flawed but her flaws does not keep her away from being such a genuine soul. Her morals sparks every now and then out of her and that makes her a person to look up to.

Greta Gerwig has wonderfully woven (both through her script and direction) the relationship between the two characters of mother and daughter into the movie that they seem to be real most of the times. Her way of looking into the minute details of the relationship makes her a better director.

What to take away from the movie?

Mother and daughter: A relationship complex for both. Hard to understand such a bond of love that attaches these to together, but somehow this is what keeps them close for their whole life, above all quarrels that goes outside.

This has become even more complicated in the present days with the growing freedom that our minds seek. While holding the modesty of the relationship gets to the brink of being severed yet somehow the tie is so strong that nothing can ever break that bond.

A mother tries to instill the ideas of the society in a way by which it would suit best for the new generation yet the daughters tend to believe that they are being made to follow a path which is a burden to their life.

When everyone is flying around that girl, she is being kept grounded by the morals of her mother and that is against the freedom they are willing to get. But as the minds are too ripe at this age, the hunger for freedom makes them blind and they tend to flow in every possible direction and in this situation it is the mother who holds them close and imparts their knowledge that they learned through the years of struggle they faced and yet kept her smiling face to her daughter.

“As is the mother, so is her daughter.”

Bible

Daughters are the reflection of the Mother. The ideals and virtues that are held by her are what makes the daughter stronger. The last monologue of Lady Bird, from the movie delivered by Saoirse Ronan, plays the right notes on your heart strings and makes you wonder how much your mother’s words makes more sense as you grow up.

Louisa May Alcott: A Guiding Light

Why Louisa May Alcott?

Louisa May Alcott

To begin with the fact why should one even select Louisa May Alcott as their guide or a mentor it must be first noted that when we choose a ‘hero‘ for ourselves, we tend to select the one with strong personality and most importantly who would be able to protect and fight for us. But when we choose a ‘guide‘, we must be aware that whether that person is capable of understanding us more than the fact, he knows the path.

It is important for us to learn: whether the guide we have chosen would be able to be a beacon of hope when the path gets dark? whether he will be able to contain our fears and keep us inspired within and without. In Louisa May Alcott, we find both: a hero and a guide.

‘Everyone should be respected as an individual, but no one idolized.’

Albert Einstein

The words of Albert Einstein may seem to be brusque but they have been stated for a purpose. While idolising a person means to love them unconditionally, yet loving has never been the moral of her stories. Though, I admire Louisa May Alcott but not only for her creative works, but for her fearlessness with which she faced the struggles in her life. Whatever obstacles came in her life she confronted them with such bravery, starting from her childhood.

She might not be a ‘mentor‘ to many as she is not quite known to many of us yet but she is absolutely the right human to choose as one. Though we are aware of her world famous ‘Little Women’, somehow we are yet to know how this very woman sitting in her small room in the 1800s wrote words after words which would be so much more meaningful in this present era.

Ralph Waldo Emerson while describing his experience after reading Srimad Bhagavad Gita wrote the following words in his journal:

“I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad Gita. It was the first of books; it was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.”

(Journals 1 October 1848)

What stuck with me was the last part of the sentence: “…the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.” Louisa May Alcott’s words are those words of intelligence and wisdom she bestowed upon the future generations through her works which exercise us even after more than a century.

Through all her life’s trouble and the harshest of the dilemmas, she held herself and her morals together and made use of her creative skills to express herself. Though her castle in the air of ‘fame’ and ‘fortune’ came true but constant sacrifices had to be made to keep herself grounded in the storm that was blowing past her life.

Louisa May Alcott is an American Hero and she has earned herself that position. She was born in a family of revolutionaries her maternal great grandfather, Samuel Adams, being the one who “had signaled the start of the Boston Tea Party in 1773” (Harriet Reisen’s biography in Louisa May Alcott), her father Amos Bronson Alcott, being a Transcendentalist along with his friends Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Elizabeth Peabody, Margaret Fuller and the likes of many other eminent personalities, who practically raised the little Alcott girls during their childhood.

Even though this might sound like Louisa May Alcott got somewhat of a dream childhood but it is quite the opposite. After reading her biographies it can be comprehended her life was a thriller; an adventure on itself (no wonder she turned out to be an adventurous person.)