Stephen Crane's Necessary Violence
The violence Stephen Crane depicts in his novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, permeated the environment, which in turn caused the residents of the Bowery to become violent toward each other. There was so much violence in the air that young children fought even younger children; parents beat their own children; and even children fought their parents.
The populace of the Bowery was most definitely affected by their surroundings. The Bowery, with shabby tenements and little money, brought most of its inhabitants to violence. The area was a very poor part of New York City, and with it came the working class. Although it was never revealed, Mr. Johnson most likely worked in a low paying job, which accounts for the Johnson's poor living conditions. Also, both Mr. and Mrs. Johnson seemed to use a lot of what little money they had on drinking to oblivion. They probably got drunk all the time to trying to forget how bad their lives were. By drinking so much, they made their lives go from bad to worse. For example, when Jimmie was bringing a pitcher of beer back to his neighbor in exchange for a place to stay, Mr. Johnson found him and beat him until he gave him the beer. In this novel, drunkenness seemed to be primary cause for most of the violence.
A great deal of the hostility found in this novel takes place because of an incident of violence before it. For example, when Jimmie was found fighting with other children by his father, his father kicked him until he stopped, and even after he stopped. Fighting often led to even more fighting, usually involving different parties. Even when his mother, Mary, learns that Jimmie has been fighting, she proceeds to beat him more severely than his father did. Ironically, in a sorry attempt to stop Jimmie from becoming violent, his parents...