During her civil war service as a nurse, Louisa took care of the wounded soldier John Suhre. John who was a German descendant made an ever-lasting impression on Louisa and she captured his character to her first successful novel Hospital sketches. What we know about John is that he had a very mild temper, Louisa describes him as the “prince of patients” and he looked a lot like the book Friedrich. Tall, stout, brown hair and a bushy beard. Some Alcott scholars have speculated if there was a romance between them. I don´t know about the romance but in her letters, Louisa describes him as “manly” and “handsome” which indicates that she found him attractive.
“The real-life John had a profound effect on Alcott’s sympathies and memory. As he lay dying, Alcott told her journal that John possessed “all that I could expect or ask from the first gentleman in the land. Under his plain speech & unpolished manner, I seem to see a noble character, a heart as warm & tender as a woman’s, a nature fresh & frank as any child”
Check out my video essay “Love and Sex in Little Women”
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