Maggie a girl of the streets

832 Words4 Pages
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets illustrates the harshness and grim lives that the lowest class of Americans experienced during the Industrial Revolution. Those without jobs in the factories often turned to alcohol and did not live a long, healthy life. Many men ended up like Maggie's father, a shell of a human being that would do anything for another drink. Others relied on God and the notion of a reward in the afterlife to retain their sanity in their harsh and dreary lives. In his novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, Stephen Crane depicts the state of slum dwelling Americans of the eighteen nineties , believing, much like Darwin, that the disadvantaged laborers will never be able to escape their socio-economic class. Crane's viewpoint on the lives of the lower class in America is very similar to the view of hard determinists. In Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, the protagonist, Maggie, is born into poverty that she will have to live with for the rest of life. Despite growing up in a savage environment, Maggie believes that she can change her future. Maggie's beauty works to her advantage but she has no real education about how the world works other than the dramas that she attended where the poor and virtuous always triumph over the rich and cruel. The truth of her unfortunate situation is that she never had a chance to become successful in life. Crane shows that her many misfortunes along her short life prove this point. One example is Maggie's first meeting with Nell. Her silence during this meeting is a key piece of the reason that Pete left Maggie for the more out spoken Nell. However, if Maggie had spoken, she would have been ridiculed for her ignorance and accent, therefore leaving the lesser of two poor choices, to remai... ... middle of paper ... ...drunken insults. Maggie can no longer fit into even the lowest of social classes and eventually ends up committing suicide. This was brought about by Maggie believing that she could escape her family and her original social status, but Crane brings her hopes and dreams down to reality by having her betrayed by all of her loved ones. Stephen Crane, a man of the upper class during the late eighteen hundreds, sends a message to the people of America through his novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, about "the destructive nature of urban life in the 1890s Bowery," (Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, Bloom's Guides.) He witnessed with bitter cynicism that there was no hope for millions of people who lived lives of barren cruelty in the tenements and slums of American cities. One hundred and twenty one years later no obvious solutions to multi-generational poverty exist.
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