Louisa May Alcott's Behind a Mask Essay

Louisa May Alcott's Behind a Mask Essay

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Behind a Mask is a book that demonstrates the power a woman possesses. During a time in which those who are not rich are considered mere human beings, Louisa May Alcott creates a character by the name of Jean Muir who surpasses the society she lives in. Muir is a woman who seeks to have a prestigious title that will give her the recognition she desires. As governess to the Coventry family Muir puts in play a plan to marry Sir John, the old uncle in the family, whose title she wants. In the process of getting sir John’s tittle Jean causes controversy in between the family which results as a positive thing for the family as a whole. While stepping over the boundaries set by her society, Muir takes a journey which she must face with intelligence and courage.

Throughout her wake for Sir John’s title Muir is portrayed as the protagonist with her characteristics and with the fact that she must overcome the obstacle which is her society. Muir is a well-educated woman with a lovely voice that can play the piano, sing, act, and bring books to life and it is through her independence and skills that she defies the society she lives in by marrying Sir John. Muir can easily be defined as the protagonist, for a protagonist is an independent person that is a well-meaning person who is smart, influential, brave, and who is capable of overcoming obstacles.

In order to get the title she wants, Muir deceives the family by passing as an innocent young girl when in reality she is a grown woman using them for her benefit, thus her role as the

protagonist can be questioned by some. She is a smart and manipulating woman capable of making the men in the family fall down to her will. Her intentions are for the two young brothers in the family, Gerald, w...


... middle of paper ...


...ss and lazy person that thanks to Muir changes into a responsible and much more humble man that takes up his duties as the head of the household. There is also Ned, a noble young man that is kept from becoming a real man, and that is sent away thanks to Muir only to return a full grown man. The greatest positive effect Muir has is in Sir John’s life, for she is giving him a partner to spend his life with. Bella is taught to not be so naïve and it is possible that Muir even helps Lucia better

her relationship with Gerald, because there is a point when Gerald gets protective of her and it is something he had never done. Overall the Coventry family is benefited from Muir.

Muir is without doubt the protagonist. She is a smart woman, which results capable of deceiving a prestigious family.



Works Cited

Alcott, Louisa May. Behind a Mask. London: Hesperus, 2004. Print.

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