Mimetic criticism of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women"

An Empirical Study

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2022

32 Pages


Table of content


Chapter 1 The Problem and its Scope
The Problem
The Research Methodology
Definition of Terms

Chapter 2 Presentation and Interpretation of Data Analysis

Chapter 3 Summary of Findings, Conclusion, and Recommendations
Summary of Findings

Chapter 4 The Output of the Study
Little Women
Film Study Worksheet – For A Work Of Fiction

Works Cited



Millet O. Capangpangan

Eunice Sisley M. Donor

Maria Theresa M. Sumampong

This study gauged the mimetic criticism of the Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”: An empirical study as basis for proposing alternative solution for fundamental problems. Mimetic theory and seven literary approaches were used to present the findings of the study. The findings of the study revealed that there is a relevant imitation of how society treat women from the past to the present times. Moreover, the use of the mimetic theory highlights the necessity of women awareness and expression. Thus, through the mimetic theory components which are the mimetic desires, scapegoat mechanism and revelations it was also found out that Alcott’s “Little Women” is an effective tool in having an in-depth analysis and understanding of the women’s humanitarian rights.

Keywords: English Teaching, Mimetic Criticism of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women”: An Empirical Study, mimetic desires, scapegoat mechanism, and revelations



Rationale of the Study

Literature in daily life is quite familiar to human being. It is inseparable aspect of human’s life and represents as it is regarded as the mirror of social life. Also, it’s a form of expression to express special idea, vision of life, interest that deals with record experiences throughout history.

According to (Coffiman, 2019) a Harvard School Assistant professor said that gender stereotyping can weak self-confidence back as they count themselves out of pursuing prestigious roles in profession, they believe they won’t excel in, despite having the skills to succeed. She added that stereotypes play on our minds so strongly that it becomes tougher to convince people of their talent in fields where they believe their gender is weak.

Nevertheless, recent studies suggest that literary readers may experience slowed down thinking and postponement of judgement (Castano & Kidd, 2013) both process that challenge automaticity and thereby may support sustained cognitive decoupling (Stanovich & Toplak, 2012). To grapple with the inquisitive challenges, this study makes use of the mimetic criticism as an interface schema. The mimetic criticism hones the student’s conceptualization and introspection.

Therefore, this study aims to analyze mimetic criticism of Louisa May Alcott “Little Women” as basis for the empirical inquiry.

Theoretical Background of the Research

This research examines the mimicry present of Louisa May Alcott “Little Women” as basis for proposing alternative solution for fundamental problems.

This premise is supported by theMimetic theory of learningwhich states that learning by imitation, constitutes one of the most important forms of learning; Mimetic learning does not, however, just denote mere imitation or copying: Rather, it is a process by which the act of relating to other persons and worlds in a mimetic way leads to an enhancement of one’s own world view, action, and behavior. Mimetic learning is productive; it is related to the body, and it establishes a connection between the individual and the world as well as other persons; it creates practical knowledge, which is what makes it constitutive of social, artistic, and practical action. Mimetic learning is cultural learning, and as such it is crucial to teaching and education (Wulf, 2004; 2005). Recent research on primates has demonstrated that forms of mimetic learning that are observed in human beings are particularly prone to learn mimetically most especially in cultural studies. Even Aristotle already viewed the ability to learn mimetically, as well as human delight in mimetic processes, as a specifically human gift (Tomasello, 1999). Moreover, mimetic actions are by no means only reproductions faithfully copying an example. Rather, in social practices which are performed mimetically, something entirely new is created thus it is a mere adaptation to pre-existing conditions, mimetic processes simultaneously create similarity to and difference from the situations or person they refer to. By “making themselves similar” to previously experienced situations and culturally formed worlds, subjects acquire the ability to find their way around a certain social field. By which taking part in the practices of other persons’ lives expand their own world and create new possibilities of action and experience for themselves (Santos, 2007).Therefore, utilization of mimetic criticism gains concrete means of representation and expression that discovers or make use of one’s regard in having a clearly defined purpose.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1: A Schematic Presentation of the Theoretical Framework of the Study

In addition, mimetic learning theory focuses on three interconnected movements: mimetic desire, the scapegoating mechanism, and revelation. It will be helpful to revisit these movement in more detail beginning with desire.

According to (Girard, 1990) mimetic theory began with an understanding about desire and blossomed into a grand theory of human relations.

Mimetic desiresoperate as a subconscious imitation of another’s desire. The basic idea behind the idea of mimetic desire is that imitation can play a key role in human motivational processes. Yet mimetic desire is distinguished from related notions such as social modelling and imitation. Thus, it is the process in which the imitative agent’s desires are formed is oriented by a particular species of belief about the model or mediator whose desire is copied. Indeed, imitation is the basic mechanism of learning (such as learning in as much as how one imitates to what teachers do), and neuroscientists are increasingly reporting that neural structure promotes imitation very proficiently.

Scapegoat Mechanismalso operates in individuals at the level of identity. We all construct identities over against someone or something else. That is when one need some other person or group to be bad so one can maintain the sense of self as good by comparison that have engaged in scapegoating. One is using others to solidify our identity the same way a community uses a scapegoat to solve its internal conflict. The scapegoat mechanism would have involved all members of a community blaming a single individual for whatever crisis or adversity was at hand.

Revelationis the act of making people aware of something that has been unrevealed. This ought to explain the injustices in human violence. In other words, revelation is a seemingly demonstrated by the restoration of peace.

In the study of(Rosenstand, 2006)it states that women and men should have equal opportunities, that women should not be discriminated against based on their gender, and that women and men should get equal pay for equal work. This present study seeks to understand and evaluate Alcott’s little women the importance of giving women a stance in the society especially in giving them the rights to work, earn and have equal capabilities as it is to men.

In addition, the study of (May, 2019), she believed that little women are a piece of women’s history or, perhaps more important, a piece of women’s autobiography that depicts female aspirations, family life, and women’s career choices. Thus, Little Women tells the history of gender roles and is therefore, an interesting narrative for literary research in the field of feminist literature.

The study of (Desmawati) posits that the novel of little women, can find the main function of literary works that is to describe, reflect human life, while human life itself is always experiencing growth, as well as the equality of women which is depicted in the novel little women.

Then, in the study of (Welter, 2013) describe that woman in the nineteenth century seem to have had a certain role they had to fulfill instead: the role of mothers and daughters. However, during that same year it is emphasized that women also highlight emotionally intelligent decision-making, attentive relations and empathy.

While, in the study of (Novianto, 2004) stated that men are more competent, good orientation, strong active, competitive and confidence than women. This condition is unfair for women, also portray that there is gender discrimination in the past. Hence, in this present study of Alcott’s little women evoked that prejudiced treatment of women based to their gender must be eradicated because women also can akin or match the man’s competitiveness and confidence by using their unique aptness and artifice.

Along with the study of (Blain, 2019) the biggest challenge facing women in the United States today is patriarchy. This is specially in the realm of politics regardless of women experience, education or abilities, the patriarchal nature of U.S. society fosters the perception that women are less qualified and less competent than men. What patriarchy has done is convinced people that a strong and intelligent women represent a problem, a disruption of the social order rather than integral part of it.

Furthermore, the study of (Gay, 1996) reveal that feminism movement arises because of a wanting impulse equalize the rights between men and women who had been as if women are not respected in taking opportunities and decisions within life. There such thinking seems to have been entrenched so women should be struggling to show one’s own existence in the eyes of the world.

In the study of(Cuddon, 1998), insist that sex or gender system is the fundamental cause of women’s oppression. In the story little women, it is reflected by the struggle of each character in placing itself in the world of men (patriarchy), in being comfort with themselves to do what they feel comfortable for her, as well as their protest from to no longer be the object of violence for men. Thus, it subject, transcends definitions, labels, and essences and need for total freedom.


Statement of the Problem

This research examines the mimicry present of Louisa May Alcott “Little Women” as basis for proposing alternative solution for fundamental problems.

Specifically, this study answered the following sub-problems:

1. What can one get out from reading “Little Women” in terms of the components of the mimetic theory:

1.1 mimetic desires;

In this part to know what mimetic desires are being presented in Alcott story the researchers will use thedeconstructive approachwhich is dismantling movie in the ways one think about and interpret them. Through using the tool of watching the movie “Little women’’ it can then provide respondents with the values that are highly beneficial when connecting to people especially to women. This will enable the respondents to have the essential understandings of how a woman influence and can contribute to the society through their capabilities if recognized. After, watching the movie the respondents will then inculcate their own thoughts and interpretation using the deconstructive approach on what quality in the story imitate women’s capabilities in serving the society. And since, it is emphasized in the story that society has established an objectified function of women, which Jo the main character had conveyed the desire to make a difference over the stereotyping. The researchers will then unravel what are these great factors found in the movie that imitate and inspired to do a change.

1.2 scapegoat mechanism; and

In this part to know the scapegoat mechanism that are being presented in Alcott story the researchers will use theideological approachwhich is the notion that culture shapes how people think and behave. It seeks to expose the problem of social relations and domination in the movie little women. And again, by watching the movie the respondents will be able to understand how society underestimated women’s intelligence and potentials just because their woman. The researchers will ask the respondents to give their ideological view on which part or scene in the movie highlights the notion on how society blame women for being a “woman” just because most people see women as weak, dependent, unrecognized and deprived by rights. In doing, this the researcher can then easily convene as to what reasons individuals ponder and act in that manner; especially in having a toxic treatment of women as shown in Alcott story “Little Women.”

1.3 revelations?

In this part to know the revelations that are being presented in Alcott story the researchers will use thedualist approachthat looks for pairs of opposites focusing merely on the male and female sides of the story that will help in understanding certain behaviors onto why women in the story lived much more of a miserable life than men. Like in the part and scene in the movie wherein Jo March tried to publish her own literary piece but her publisher didn’t recognize much her story. The old men publisher still accepted it with a very low price which made her look incompetent in the industry she had chosen. And using again, the movie little women as tool to divulge this idea will enable the respondents to reveal and be aware that women and men in all instances are significantly vital in all their potentials and aptness.

2. Based on the story what were the fundamental problems being prevailed in terms of:

2.1 gender inequality;

In this part to know the gender inequality are being presented in Alcott story the researchers will use theliberal feminism approachto further understand the concept of gender inequality as shown in the story little women. This type of approach ought to explain that gender equality is that of freeing women from oppressive gender roles. Liberal feminism led to advances in the economic sphere, inequality of opportunity, civil rights, and self-fulfillment. This time the researchers will give each respondents a highlighted quotation tackling gender inequality that was present in the story and then analyze and explain as to what drive gender inequality in that given quote. It seeks to realize why women were not recognized accordingly even if they possess the right of intelligence, talent and job. It ought to answer why women are always deprived for good opportunities and as to why society undermine women’s capabilities that lead to be the reason why society has a stapled mindset towards how a women should function.

2.2 gender stereotyping; and

In this part to know what gender stereotyping are being presented in Alcott story the researchers will use theexistentialist feminism approachwhich states that woman must become a self, a subject who transcends, definitions, labels, and essences. Again, the tool that the researchers will use to gather answers and interpretation towards the respondents is by giving each respondents a highlighted quotation about gender stereotyping present in the story. After which, the respondents will then write their realizations and perceptions about how gender stereotyping affects one’s dreams and aspirations based on the story that conveyed situations that standardized women capacities. Thus, this challenge of gender stereotyping ought to reveal and give chances that women can prove themselves if given a chance to be recognized through their intelligence and talent.

2.3 violence

In this part to know what scapegoat mechanism are being presented in Alcott story the researchers will use theradical feminism approachwhich stated that women’s biology is closely related to their oppression, as well as all the manifestations of violence. There is a protest about the labeling of women is the oppressed weak and the female body as the object of violence. And once again, the tool that the researchers will use to gather answers and interpretation towards the respondents is by giving each respondents a highlighted quotation about violence present in the story. After which, the respondents will note and expound their answer toward their insights about women oppression as seen they read and analyze the quote. The respondents will give concise and clear explanation as to why it is important to stop or end these happenings of violence and oppression towards women as shown in the story “Little Women”. By doing this the researchers will be able to get an explicit examination of how violence and oppression can influence or affects the life of each people and that it does not bring any good by doing such a thing.

3. How could the prevailing fundamental problems mimic human desires?

In this part to know what prevailing fundamental problems mimic human desires that is present in Alcott story the researchers will make use of theMarxist feminismapproachthat stated woman’s conception or herself is a product of her social existence which is largely defined by the kind of work women does in the society. And once again, the tool that the researchers will use to gather answers and interpretation towards the respondents is by giving each respondents a highlighted quotation about the prevailing fundamental problems mimic human desires as presented in the story. After which, the respondents will put into writing and expound their answer toward their insights about the fundamental problems that mimic human desires as seen and read and in the quote. By doing this, the researchers ought to know what specific reasons that urges each character in the story mimic and portray such human desires to solve discrimination, stereotyping, inequality, violence and all. Specifically, having a deeper understanding of the human nature and unto how it imitates the world in the aspect of having freedom, independence and change.

Significance of the Study

Using a mimetic analysis in understanding Louisa May Alcott “Little women is an effective tool to broaden one appreciation, perception and comprehension of women’s role in the society. It is necessary in order to have an in-depth analysis of the way the world saw women and projected humanity onto them.

Mimetic Criticism of Louisa Alcott Little Women serves as an approach that the students and educators can use in attaining the objectives and goals in teaching women empowerment. This research will also give an idea to students that recognizing women emancipation is a salient aspect to divulge on. Therefore, this study will benefit the following;

The students.This study focused on Louisa May Alcott Little Women, particularly using the mimetic criticism. This approach in teaching will increase the knowledge of the students in appreciating women in the society. Thus, this study will be of great help to them.

The Educators.The application of the study will be essentials in inculcating deeper analysis of womanity. Thus, this mimetic approach will help and encourage the education sector to recognize or implement women capabilities in the society.

The Future Researchers.The result of this study will help the future researchers in their own study. This will be a guide to them as they plan and choose their research topic and in working on it.


This section expounds the research method used, research flow, environment, respondents, instruments, data-gathering procedure, statistical treatment and scoring procedure.

Research Method Used

This study used the empirical research. This method is based on direct experience or observation by the researcher. The collection of data relies on practical experience without benefit of the scientific knowledge or theory. Data were gathered, analyzed and interpreted qualitatively.

Flow of the Study

The input of the study included deep analyzation of the story. And the process included movie matrix in regards to Louisa May Alcott Little Women. The expected output of the study is to have deep comprehension and intervention of the research significance.


Excerpt out of 32 pages


Mimetic criticism of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women"
An Empirical Study
Catalog Number
ISBN (Book)
Mimetic Criticism of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women
Quote paper
Millet Capangpangan (Author)Eunice Sisley M. Donor (Author)Maria Theresa M. Sumampong (Author), 2022, Mimetic criticism of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women", Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1223416


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Mimetic criticism of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women"

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free