Hospital Sketches

Hospital Sketches

by Louisa May Alcott

A collection of letters written when Alcott was a Civil War army nurse, they garnered Alcott's first critical recognition for her observations and humour.

  • Language: English
  • Category: History
  • Rating: 3.64
  • Pages: 80
  • Publish Date: October 25th 2005 by Dodo Press
  • Isbn10: 1406501026
  • Isbn13: 9781406501025

What People Think about "Hospital Sketches"

In much the same way the sketches of The Pickwick Papers led to Dickens development of Oliver Twist, Alcott's hospital sketches paved her way toward Little Women.

I like this because reading about Alcotts firsthand experiences being a nurse during the Civil War is just plain interesting. Secondly, I like it because you et a grip on Alcotts personality. It is not a wow book, even if I am glad to have read it. I didnt like her narration at all. ************************* Interested in other nurse memoirs?

Ms. Alcott's experiences during her own time as a Union nurse helps to give this book a very realistic feel.

Most people know Louisa May Alcott's name for Little Women. I also would have preferred if Alcott hadn't made it a fictionalized story - certainly her experiences in those six weeks alone would have been for an interesting read, but it is what it is. Interesting to note that the role of women as nurses in hospitals during the Civil War was not to assist the surgeons in their operations - in fact, women weren't often allowed in to witness the operations unless they specifically asked to be a part of it.

While this work isn't a great piece of writing, it's an important contribution to the history of the war and life in the hospitals at that time for the patients and the people who cared for them.

Allow me to clarify: The nursing was a labor of love while the writing of the sketches was not. Experience Alcott show her readers the rude awakening she experiences in a poorly run hospital where she as nursing supervisor strives to provide the first first-time medical care for her patients. Descriptions Alcott describes the return to civilian life and the (glossed over) dying process, the visit of family members, the disorganization of this particular hospital, and the decorum of dying men. She also reveals her respect for black people, gathering in her arms a small black girl visiting/working in the kitchen and stating a desire to work in a hospital that serves black soldiers.

Dont care what, teach, sew, act, write, anything to help the family; and Ill be rich and famous and happy before I die, see if I wont!" Confronting a society that offered little opportunity to women seeking employment, Louisa determined "...I will make a battering-ram of my head and make my way through this rough and tumble world." Whether as a teacher, seamstress, governess, or household servant, for many years Louisa did any work she could find. A milestone along her literary path was Hospital Sketches (1863) based on the letters she had written home from her post as a nurse in Washington, DC as a nurse during the Civil War. When Louisa was 35 years old, her publisher Thomas Niles in Boston asked her to write "a book for girls." Little Women was written at Orchard House from May to July 1868.