Hospital Sketches

May Alcott I thoroughly enjoyed this reading, and having never read Little Women, this was my first experience with Louisa May Alcott. I am Impressed and amused at Nurse Periwinkle’s candor, and her overall enthusiasm for life. After all “the Periwinkles are a hopeful race” and “they all wear rose-colored spectacles”.

For some reason, and I expect it’s simply because I never really delved into it, I expected a writer from that time to be stuffy, boring and maybe even overly graphic and morose.What I found instead, was a writer who was lively, enthusiastic, positive and someone I would have enjoyed knowing. I identify with Nurse Periwinkle, which surprised me at first, but as I continued to read I found myself smelling and nodding In agreement with her personality and insight. From the beginning when she decided to nurse the soldiers – and “turned military at once” calling her dinner her rations, and saluting new comers – I began to see her zest for living, and the enviable trait of being able to throw oneself unabashedly and completely into every adventure.Her enthusiasm never waned.

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I enjoyed the description of her tiring escapade to obtain the free train pass and as she waited for Doctor who she finally found could grant it she wrote “The Doctor hadn’t come yet; and I was morally certain that he would not, till, having waited till the last minute, I was driven to buy a ticket, and, five minutes after the irrevocable deed was done, he would be at my service, with all manner of helpful documents and directions. ” How often have we found ourselves In similar positions where we thought exactly the same thing?And yet she was realistic and grounded because after that struggle was over she lamented ” Patience certainly had her perfect work that day, and I hope she enjoyed the Job more than I did”… Third person patience….

. L love it! I chuckle, too, as I remember her on the boat in Boston. “As I was born to be drowned, an eligible opportunity now presents itself” and even though the boat was new, she felt that it would be her destiny if anything went wrong – such as if it were to “blow up, spring a leak. Catch afire or be run into”.

I can’t count the times I’ve marked similarly in my life and circumstances. I also identified with her remark about how she “should enjoy throwing a stone at somebody, hard” as she passed by the spot in Baltimore where the riot took place. Just being there made her want to participate In the fight..

. Nurse Periwinkle Is a good soul. While It seems that her upbringing and homelike may not have prepared her for the horrors of war, she wasn’t timid or frail, and she gave the wounded comfort. She learns about life, and people through her experiences with the soldiers, and with her coworkers.Because of her experience tit John, and her willingness to learn, she discovers the universal truth that sometimes even the strongest among us need a hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on, or for someone to say “everything is going to be okay’.

I was slightly disappointed to learn that this particular piece of work was the description of only about a month in the life of Nurse Periwinkle. I longed for more. And l, like her, will continue to do what is right, to believe in people, to never stop learning, and to be true to myself.

These attributes are the truth about Nurse Periwinkle, and they are the truth about me.