Essay on The Developing Mind Of Her Beauty And Health

1512 Words Nov 28th, 2016 7 Pages
The Developing Mind of Her Beauty and Health. What Should Young Girls Do for Beauty? In the fictional novel Eight Cousins, Louisa May Alcott effectively highlights the health and beauty issues that woman in the nineteenth century faced in relationship to gender roles, health education and dress reform which engages with medical discourse. This raises the question: to what degree do social roles and the definition of the “ideal” woman negatively affect young girls’ mental and physical health. Louisa May Alcott’s novel positively reinforces young girls’ self- image through empowering characters like Rose Campbell in a way that effectively provides examples of medical discourse. The novel’s unorthodox engagement in medical discourse during the nineteenth century advocates woman’s health by portraying how woman grew up during this time period with certain ideals that society established. In the novel Rose Campbell seems to embody many of these stereotypes; however, Rose’s uncle Alec helps her grow healthier both mentally and physically by encouraging her to be more active, providing her with an education and changing her wardrobe. One topic is the medical and biological view of women’s domestic and child-bearing roles in the nineteenth century which involved gender inequality and suppression of young girls’ ability to explore the world and themselves. Alcott emphasizes the idea that young girls did not have to grow up only to become mothers and wives but possess the…

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