Jo March and Topsy

Topsy and Topsy-Turvy Jo: Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin and/in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women by Michelle Ann Abate, in Children's Literature v. 34, 2006, p. 59-82

Abate shows that Alcott was, like millons of others, influenced by Stowe, and more specifically that the two writers were in some minimal contact. More importantly, she shows how Jo March can be read as connected to the character Topsy. While careful not to overgeneralize, she shows some interesting similarities between the two, drawing on Toni Morrison's "American Africanist" ideas of ways whites use the fictional image of blacks. Topsy is, after all, a stereotype of a Minstrel show performer.

Favorite quote that shows how Abate is specific in delineating similarities:
"Although Louisa May Alcott's Jo March emerges from a profoundly different social, economic, geographical, racial, and cultural milieu, she possesses and array of personal, physical, and psychological similarities to those of Stowe's character." (p. 65)