Maggie: A Girl Of The Streets Book Report Essay, Research Paper
The book report for this marking period is one that is enjoyed by millions and millions of people; Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, by Stephen Crane. What is interesting about this book is that even though it was written well over one hundred years ago, the lessons learned in this book can be applied to the time and place of today.
This novel is set in an unnamed city in the south, probably during the late 19th century. The story begins with Jimmie as a little kid getting into scraps with a rival gang. Then it jumps about 4 years to when Jimmie was a preteen. About every few chapters the story line will jump a few years and by the end of Maggie?s life the story would have spanned about 30 years. People around the city hate Jimmie and Maggie?s family, the Johnson?s, because their parents drink and get rowdy in the middle of the night. The atmosphere of this book is heavy and depressing, because all the people in the city are poor and then the author describes the horrible conditions that they live in. But when the main character dies, the emotion changes, because the family comes together and you are filled with over joy.
The main character in Crane?s Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is Maggie, a girl born into a poor family that likes to get drunk and basically have fist fights and try to literally kill one another. Maggie is a self-assured woman, and she is basically a diamond in the rough. Where Maggie lives, the people really don?t count on physical looks, but Maggie on the other hand is the most beautiful woman of the community. Maggie also likes to hide her feelings a lot. This is shown when she gets a crush on one of her brother?s friend, Pete. She goes around staring at him, but not saying really much. This is also shown when she is at home. When her parents are drunk and fighting, she just sits there, doing nothing and saying nothing. Basically, Maggie goes around and does her own thing and not getting influence by other people.
The other main character in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is Jimmie, Maggie?s brother. Jimmie, in many ways is the exact opposite of his sister. Jimmie is slightly younger and a lot more immature than Maggie is. Maggie may be a quiet person, but Jimmie, one the other hand, is a wild rambunctious kid, who all he wants to do is pick fights. Jimmie, at first, is seen fighting a rival gang and cussing and bleeding from head to toe. In a lot of ways, Jimmie is Maggie?s villain. At first it appears that he loves his sister and has a good relationship with her. When Maggie starts going out with Pete, Jimmie turns against her saying that she ruined the family name, because she is a white girl going out with a black man. Jimmie in the end, when his sister dies goes back to being loving brother.
To have the emotional ups and downs of Crane?s Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, one must know what goes on within the story.
The story unfolds by putting the reader right in the action, with Jimmie Johnson fighting a group of rival gang member?s in a back alley of a major city during the late 19th century. Jimmie was getting beat up so bad that he had blood dripping from his face like sweat. Then his father showed up, and took him by the ear and dragged him all the way home. When Jimmie came home, his mother found out that he had been fighting and started beating him up. When she is doing this, the neighbors listen to all the cures they are saying to one another. When Jimmie?s father had had enough of watching his son, he stepped in and then the mother and the father were fist fighting until they both passed out. This would happen in their house hold almost every day. Maggie would be there and she would watch and wouldn?t really get too involved with them.
When this is over, 4 years had passed and Jimmie and Maggie?s father had died so the family would be down to 3. Jimmie has now taken a shine to drinking and coming home drunk all the time, and Maggie had grown to be the most beautiful woman in town. Maggie is adored by lots of guys, but she really isn?t interested in any of the guys. Their mom, still drinks and abuses both of her kids if they do anything wrong, even though her husband is not there to stop her from killing them.
One day, Jimmie brings home his black friend, Pete. For some reason, Maggie falls in love with him, from the first moment she sees him. They start talking and Pete decides to take Maggie out to a club that has performances nightly. She goes to them and then she is hooked, she likes black entertainment. Her mom on the other decides that she does not like it and says that she is damned top hell for going out with him, so Maggie gets really angry and leaves home, not thinking about coming back.
Maggie will return one more time, but does not stay very long, because her mom doesn?t show a lot of respect to her and still insisting that she will go to hell for messing with the family name. Maggie will soon die for unlisted reasons and, then her mother finally thinks that she did her daughter wrong. In the end her mother finally forgives her daughter for disgracing the family?s name. And says that all people can make it to heaven sinned or not sinned.
Point Of View
The novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, by Stephen Crane uses a unique point of view. The story is told in third person omniscient point of view. There is no narrator; we the audience are the narrator and we can read the people?s minds and know what they are thinking through and outside observer. We know the character?s thoughts and feelings through this outside observer and not through the characters thoughts and actions. Some one always tells us what is going on. When Jimmie was being hit in the face by rocks in the opening scene, we knew that it was not hurting as much as he was mad at the people throwing the rocks at him. Another example is when Jimmie, Pete, and Maggie are sitting at the dinner table. We know that Maggie was falling in love with Pete, because an outside person was telling us this. We know the most because we can also draw conclusions from the actions, too. In the end, the story makes more sense, but you are more limited in drawing your own conclusions, because some one else has.
The theme of Crane?s Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is shown to the reader with Maggie?s constant struggle with trying to fit in with her family and especially her mother. Crane?s message is somewhat clear and that is that whether you are alive or not, people will always forgive you and make anew. This means that no matter how much bad things a person does, their true friends and families will always forgive for wrong doing. This is supported with the story of Maggie and going against her family?s beliefs of not dating a person of a different race. She didn?t care, and for that she lost her family, and their support. Both her mother and her brother did not even want to be around her at all, they hated her like dirt. Finally, when Maggie dies, the mother and Jimmie feel really guilty and in the end, they forgive her, which proves that everyone eventually forgives everyone else, even if something tragic has to happen. This story?s theme resembles what the world is probably moving to. Countries will forgive countries and hopefully world peace will finally break out.