Get Me Out of Here!

Powerful Essays
In Stephen Crane’s novel Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, one of the main characters, Maggie, falls hopelessly in love with Pete, a working-class man. Her downfall from a life in the slums to prostitution and her eventual death stems from her romantic hope to jump social classes with Pete’s assistance. Her actions highlights the danger of believing in the myth of social mobility within the American Dream. In current times, many working-class individuals in the United States view college as a way to magically improve their social standing. Although these individuals are strongly encouraged to attend a university and better their lives, this is not the most appropriate choice for everyone. One of the major themes in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is that it is dangerous for people to rely on escaping their social classes as a means of improving their lives. In the beginning of the novel, the reader is introduced to the harsh and unfavorable lifestyle of Maggie’s family. In an effort to escape her cruel reality, she obtains a job working in a sweatshop (956???). However, when exploring the leisure activities of the working-class with Pete, she discovers that this might not be the right choice for her. Maggie “… imagined herself, in an exasperating future, as a scrawny woman with an eternal grievance” (963). She realizes that her small attempt to rise out of her situation is not going to get her to where she wants to be in life quickly. As she is captivated by all that Pete and the working-class lifestyle could give her, she thinks back to the sweatshop and all of the other women that work there. This image is enough to make Maggie decide that she needs to find another way of escaping the slums, which causes her to soon quit her job an... ... middle of paper ... ...hat working-class individuals should take into consideration when contemplating going to college. As I was exposed to the theme of just how dangerous it can be to believe in the myth of social mobility that surrounds the American Dream, I wondered why I ended up in college. Although I believe it is in my best interest to be here, I do think that more people need to understand that it really is not for everyone. While I am here to earn a degree in order to get a job that I love, other people may not have the same aspirations that I do. Because we all have different goals in life, I believe that young adults, especially those from the working-class, should not feel so much pressure to attend college. We all have different goals and passions and if college does not help someone achieve theirs, they should be able to stay where they are and not be chastised by society.
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