Monday, December 14, 2009

Hospital Sketches

Finished Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott. Published in 1863, it is an account of Alcott's experiences as a nurse in a Union hospital in Georgetown, where she worked for six weeks. At that point she became ill with Typhus and had to be sent home.

Alcott, who portrays herself as Nurse Periwinkle, bustles about the wards and does her best to bring comfort and cheer to wounded soldiers. While perhaps not as dire as scenes from the film Gone With the Wind, her accounts are frank and clear in their criticism of patient care, organization of the facility, lack of spiritual guidance and open racism. It's a very honest telling of her experiences and is based on the letters she sent home during this time. It was the first publication of her writing to bring her critical acclaim and popularity.

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