Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Assignment A: Did the main character of the book try to lead a moral life? What virtues or vices does he have or develop? Does the character’s moral life change? If so, what is the motivation for this change? Is it a conversion or a development? Identify the character’s virtues or vices in the thesis statement. Defend or prove your statement in a five-paragraph essay in at least 250 words, typed, with an introductory paragraph, three middle paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. Each middle paragraph should give one virtue or vice, with examples from the text to support or "prove" the thesis. How to write a morality essay: As Catholics, we need to look at our catechism, the teachings of Jesus, the Ten Commandments, and the teachings of the Church. If we look at the catechism, we learn about the virtues of faith, hope, and charity. We also learn in our catechism about the moral virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Other moral virtues listed in our catechism are filial piety, patriotism, obedience, veracity, liberality, patience, humility, and chastity or purity. Occasional failures in morality do not necessarily mean that the character does the sum of his actions, his words, his attitude, his thinking into account. For example, a wealthy woman was very generous in giving help to children in need in her community, especially at Christmastime. However, she did not help the children of families of whom she disapproved. One time, she unexpectedly accompanied someone who was given presents to a family of a drunken father. When she saw the children’s faces lighting up with deliht and the poor mother weeping in grateful appreciation, she realized she could not deny her generosity to children because of the sins of the father. She certainly was a moral character with a flaw, but who was motivated to change, to become a better person. Stories often focus on a character’s conversion from immoral to moral through various trials and experiences. Be sure to address the character’s morality as a whole, before the change and after it. Identify the cause of the conversion or development, whether it was due to an experience of short duration, or whether the change came over time. As Catholics, we need to think about why the characters are being moral, or why the character change from being immoral to moral. Here is an example of how to write morality: Think about Cinderella. Did Cinderella try to lead a moral life? In order to answer this question, we need to complete the following steps: 1. Describe the main character. Use adjectives to describe her character, Cinderella was, kind, loving, humble, trusting, and obedient. 2. Now, think of examples from the story to illustrate the qualities above. How do we know that Cinderella is humble, trusting, and obedient? Make a chart listening these qualities and examples of each from the story. For example, we know that Cinderella is obedient because she obeyed her stepmother in all things [list specific times when she was obedient], eve when her obedient meant the possibility of not going to the ball. 3. Next, decide if the above-mentioned qualities demonstrate that Cinderella tried to lead amoral life. Example: She was obedient because she believed it was the right thing to do, not because she wanted to be fed an clothes and provided a shelter. As Catholics, we need to ask if the book gives evidence that the character has Christian values or is practicing the virtues because of Christian beliefs. For instance, we can ask, "Does Cinderella’s fairy godmother represent her guardian angel who helps her to be virtuous, and helps her to find a solution to her problems?" 4. Since this particular assignment asks for a five paragraph analysis, for example, you would need to pick three of Cinderella’s qualities which demonstrate she is a moral person. In there words, choose three of her moral virtues. Each of these should be discussed, with specific examples, in each of the three middle paragraphs. Be sure that each topi sentence clearly identifies which moral characteristic the paragraph will discuss. These moral characteristics can be discovered by analyzing the character’s own words, thoughts, and actions, what other characters say of him, and the author’s direct comments about the character. Sample Outline: Introductory paragraph ending with the thesis: In the story Cinderella, the main character, Cinderella, tried to lead a moral life. I. Cinderella was humble. A. did lowly household tasks, served her stepsisters, never complained [what she did] b. did not think herself worthy to go to the ball c. "I am not really a member of the family; no one would want to look at me." II. Cinderella was trusting. A. trusted that someone would hep her B. trusted her fairy godmother, like a guardian angel who worked miracles. III. Cinderella was obedient. A. always did the household work that was ordered by her step-mother and step-sisters. B. Obeyed her godmother by leaving the ball at midnight Concluding the paragraph restating or paraphrasing your thesis: Through the above examples, one can see that Cinderella tried to lead a moral life.
What s the theme of the book> Write a correct paragraph (at east 259 words, typed) stating the theme and supporting your answer with at least three specific examples from the book. A theme is a general statement or insight about life which the author expresses through the particulars of the story. The theme should be specific enough so that it is clearly taken from the story, rather than applied to the story. The theme is a message that the author is sending to the reader bytelilng a story about a person who learned a lesson through a life epxeirence. In the sotry "Cinderella" for example, there are several possible themes. One might be, "Ultimately, contentment is gained by virtue, not by money or power." Another might be "A humble attitude and trusting spirit are the only way to cope with adversity." A theme is not a motif. A motif is a recurring thematic element. It is usually a simple, even single-word concept,such as love, nature, or the struggles of human poverty. Notice that a motif does not give any insight into life or human nature; it is more a topic than a heme. A theme is not a cliche (an old and overuse statement like "appearances are deceiving" or "cheaters never prosper"). Think about the events of a story as clues to a theme. There is a famous story about a ballet dancer ho waned to be the best dancer. She worked under a very demanding teacher and she ave all her time and energy to her dancing. But her red ballet shoes seemed to drive her more and more from the world of reality. At some point, she falls in love and eventually marries but the red shoes and her dancing keep her from being the wife she now wants to be. Eventually, she runs from the stage in her red shoes to the husband she loves, but meets with an untimely death. This is certainly the story of a woman who has an inner conflict between the love of her career, her dancing, and the love of her husband. The theme is certainly that having to choose between a long-time dedication to a career and s husband can be very difficult, but love for a person can be even deeper and offers higher level of happiness. As Catholics, we need to look also at these situations in the books we read from the perspective of what Jesus wants for each one of us and how these kinds of choices will affect our eternal salvation.