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How well do you know Louisa May Alcott? A quiz.

December 20, 2010

Published by The Christian Science Monitor

Susan Cheever’s biography is the most recent in a slew of biographies on the beloved author. Test your knowledge of Louisa May Alcott before cracking open the new tell-all.

1. Louisa May Alcott lived with her family in a home dubbed the Orchard House, as did the fictional sisters of “Little Women.” It still stands, as a museum, today. Where?

a) Silver Springs, N.Y.

b) Concord, Mass.

c) Philadelphia, Pa.

d) Cavendish, Prince Edward Island

2. Though she had no desire to write a book about a family’s domestic trials and tribulations, Alcott nonetheless published “Little Women” in 1868 with great success. The story is somewhat based on her own childhood. Which “Little Women” character do readers speculate Alcott modeled off of herself?

a) Ladylike Meg

b) Tomboy Jo

c) Sweet Beth

d) Artistic Amy

3. Alcott had a love-hate relationship with her controlling father, Amos Bronson. The patriarch worked as a teacher at an experimental school, and was a leader in the Transcendentalist movement, but could hardly support his wife and daughters. What famous literary figure provided for the family financially, and mentored young Louisa?

a) Ralph Waldo Emerson

b) Margaret Fuller

c) Walt Whitman

d) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

4. Biographers of the Alcott family debate the true nature of Louisa’s father, and question his influence on the burgeoning writer. Which of the following is not true about Amos Bronson?

a) For a brief period, he moved his family to a utopian commune.

b) He followed a strict vegetarian diet.

c) He was a staunch abolitionist, and welcomed a runaway slave into his home.

d) Though controversial upon publication, his writings on the relationship between nature and religion were later praised by critics.

5. Alcott wrote her first novel – a Cinderella-like rags to riches story – when she was just 17 years old. It would not be published until more than a century after her death. What is the book’s title?

a) “The Rose Family: A Fairy Tale”

b) “Silver Pitchers, and Independence: A Centennial Love Story”

c) “The Inheritance”

d) “Jack and Jill: A Village Story”

6. Alcott dreamed of becoming a famous writer early, but poverty required she take on several other jobs first. Which of the following professions didn’t she try?

a) Actress

b) Seamstress

c) Civil War nurse

d) Teacher

7. The writer published several fiery melodramas, including “Behind a Mask” and “A Long Fatal Love Chase,” under what pseudonym?

a) Abigail Van Buren

b) A. M. Barnard

c) Acton Bell

d) Harriet Beecher Stowe

8. The manuscript for the first volume of “Little Women” fetched Alcott $300 from her publisher, plus 6.66 percent of each copy sold. With the earnings, she was able to pay off her family’s long held debt. How long did it take Alcott to write the literary classic?

a) 3 weeks

b) 2 months

c) 2 years

d) 8 years

9. Fan letters poured in after the publication of “Little Women,” many of them praising the novel. Quite a few readers, however, pressured Alcott to add what happening to the second installment’s plot?

a) Beth recover from her illness

b) Mr. March return home

c) The family move to New York City

d) Jo marry next-door neighbor Laurie

10. Despite at least one proposal and heavy societal pressure, Alcott refused to marry. During her lifetime, and in modern day, she serves as a rebellious, true-to-herself role model for readers. Unfortunately, by the time she became well known, the author was exhausted and ill. Then something happened to renew her joie de vivre. What?

a) She met a man who would be her life-long companion, though they would not marry.

b) She won the Newbery Medal for distinguished children’s literature.

c) She became the guardian of her niece, Lulu.

d) She discovered a passion for painting, and moved to Paris.


Answers: 1. b, 2. b, 3. a, 4. d (Amos Bronson’s writings were widely considered incoherent.), 5. c, 6. a (She did have dramatic aspirations, but her parents forbade her from pursuing the stage.), 7. b, 8. b, 9. d, 10. c

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2010 3:08 pm

    Cool, I enjoyed that quiz. I love Louisa May Alcott and blog on her at – come on over and share with our community.

  2. Tim Sherman permalink
    January 30, 2011 5:13 am

    I have been to the orchard house and took the tour, when I was shown the painting of May’s I saw resemblance of a painting that I have…. its small on hard board its a boat on the beach has a lot of brown in it and looks like her style………if you go to my face book page I posted a scanned picture of it please take a look and see what you think,,,,,,,,,,,,,,my mothers family new pictures people in Mass…….but there all passed away now tswheel is face book name

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