A Brief Analysis on Maggie from Stephen Crane's Maggie,Girl of the Streets

Essay by gcrashHigh School, 10th gradeA+, May 2005

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The cruel reality of poverty is examined in Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl on the Streets. In it, Maggie Johnson, born in the rough streets of New York, dreams of having a better life, one with culture, money, and meaning- the opposite of the one she was born with. Though she believed that her dreams were becoming tangible, with the aid of Pete, she ultimately returns to the streets and is destroyed by them. Throughout the novel, the birth and demise of Maggie's search for meaning encompasses Crane's forlorn portrayal of society.

Maggie was a rarity in her environment. She "blossomed in a mud puddle. She grew to be a most rare and wonderful production of a tenement district, a pretty girl" (16). She also possessed inner beauty, which was equally rare in the streets, shown by her love for her brothers and her benevolent nature. The fact that was raised in a broken home and was able to remain innocent amidst the chaos shows the integrity of her personality.

Because she wasn't absorbed into the maelstrom of city life, she developed the dream of having a better life. Maggie did not begin to truly believe in her illusions until she laid her eyes on Pete. She then transferred her illusions onto him and was swept away, blind of his real personality and intentions. She believed that he would take her away from her miserable situation because to her, Pete "was a knight" (20). He roused her dreams by taking her to lively places, such as the theater and dance halls, making her want a new life. After going to the theatre, "She wondered if the culture and refinement she had seen imitated, perhaps grotesquely, by the heroine on the stage, could be acquired by a girl...



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