First published in 1873, Alcott's semi-autobiographical novel follows the life experiences of Christie Devon, which begin before and conclude after the American Civil War. An enthusiastic, well-rounded, and independently-minded young woman, she sets out from her uncle's house determined to find meaningful work and a sense of self-fulfillment. The series of jobs she performs, from alternately being a maid, an actress, and a governess, to being a companion and later a seamstress, gently convey moral lessons, social duties, and a strong sense of feminine determination. Perhaps even more important are the people she meets along the way, including the runaway slave Hepsey, the 'fallen' Rachel, the domestic Cynthy, and the floriculturist David, all of whom ultimately convey to a modern woman the quiet essentiality of interdependence in the pursuit of happiness in life.
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