Maggie A Girl Of The Streets

1227 words - 5 pages

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, a novella written in 1893 by Stephen Crane, focuses on a poverty stricken family living in the Bowery district of New York City. This novella is regarded as one of the first works of naturalism in American literature and it helped shape the naturalistic principle that a character is set into a world where there is no escape from one’s biological heredity and the circumstances that the characters find themselves in will dominate their behavior and deprive them of individual responsibility. Throughout the story, the primary goal of the main characters is to escape the lives they lead and to find more comfortable lives away from their current problems, which ...view middle of the document...

” Maggie’s unfortunate circumstances continue to get worse when Pete abandons her to be with Nellie, a scheming woman with a veneer of sophistication. In an attempt to escape the horrors of her life, Maggie became so dependent on Pete and believed that he would never leave her, that when he did, she became emotionally distraught, and her life was destroyed. To cope with the difficulties that she is facing, she tries to return home, but she is rejected by her family. At this point, Maggie’s life is spiraling out of control and she attempts to salvage her relationship with Pete again, but he also refuses to acknowledge any of her claims.
Towards the end of the novella, Maggie attempts to use prostitution as an escape method, selling herself in the pursuit of finding someone to replace Pete. In the beginning of the novel, Pete introduces her to an upper class lifestyle, which Maggie attempts to achieve throughout the novel. Her quest eventually leads to her downfall because she has given up everything to become rich, and in the end she does not make it. Maggie gave her family, her reputation, and her body just to escape her poverty stricken life, and when she failed to reach her goals, she committed suicide.
Pete, who is a friend of Jimmie, seduces Maggie and then subsequently abandons her when he meets his friend Nellie, uses Maggie as his escape from his difficult life. Throughout the story, it is his quest to find a girl who he can spend time with so that he can escape the harsh life that he lives. Pete seems to be impacted more than anyone in the story by the tough circumstances of the Bowery district. Pete is the main antagonist of the story because he gives a lot of hope to Maggie and seemingly promises to help her escape her difficult life, but he leaves her the moment he finds someone better. Pete pretends to be sophisticated and worldly, but he is neither. Pete desperately wants to escape the life that he is leading and he uses the time that he spends with Maggie as his escape from his difficult life. He pretends to be someone of higher class as way of impressing Maggie so that he can use her to help escape the demons of his life.
Jimmie is Maggie’s brother and the first character introduced in the novella, seduces women as an escape method from his challenging life. Jimmie has a violent childhood that is highlighted by the fight that he was involved in within the first chapter of the story. Jimmie is similar to...

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