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"Maggie: A Girl Of The Streets" By Stephen Crane

1301 words - 5 pages

"Maggie: A Girl of the Streets", written by Stephen Crane, is a novel about a young girl who is trying to find her way through life. She comes from a family with an alcoholic mother and father, and a brother who is very brutish. However, Maggie grows up as a beautiful young girl who has romantic hopes of a better future. She constantly dreams of wealth and culture and is determined to lead a better social life as she grows older. Despite her ill-fated efforts, Maggie’s environment throughout life leads to her demise.Jacob Levenson, author of Prose and Poetry, stresses the issue of Maggie’s hardships in life as the main reason for her downfall. Considering Maggie knew nothing but poverty and abuse, it is natural she wished for something more to her life. Growing up in a poverty-stricken family is Maggie’s reason for having romantic notions of a better life ahead of her. Maggie’s family comes from a very poor neighborhood in New York where fights continually break out. Jimmie, Maggie’s brother, is a troubled child who continually picks fights with not only Maggie but other boys from their neighborhood as well. These fights are typically brutal and leave somebody injured: “What deh hell Jimmie? Jimmie wiped his blood wet features with his sleeve and said ‘well it was dis way, Pete, see! I was goin’ to the lik dat Riley kid and dey all pitched on me” (pg. 4). Although fights are breaking out on the streets, Maggie’s home life appears to be just as bad. Typically, Jimmie is the one to get punished. Considering their mother is an alcoholic, and a devil-like figure, and their father is a brutal alcoholic, their home is not a place of safety, and the children have no means of escaping any brutality. The reader can clearly see that mother is a “devil-like” figure during the scene where she hits Jimmie: “Let the damned kid alone for a minute, will yeh, Mary? Yer allus poundin’ on ‘im. When I come home nights I can’t git no rest ‘cause yer allus poundin’ a kid. Let up, d’yeh hear?” (8). After being yelled at by her husband, Mary forcefully tossed Jimmie into a corner leaving him hurt and crying. Father’s violent acts are also apparent, especially after the fight in Rum Alley. Father says, “Here, you Jim, git up, now, while I belt yer life out, you damned disorderly brat” (pg. 5) when he hears the boys fighting outside. Besides Maggie and Jimmie, there is another child Tommie, an infant, who Maggie is a mother to, even though she is just a young girl herself. Mother and father do not really care for their children. Throughout the beginning of the novel, many ironic things become evident. For instance, the father yells at the mother, telling her she should not always be beating on the children, yet at the same time, he is doing the exact same thing.Although Maggie has a rough childhood, she continually tries hard to rise above the alcoholism,...

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