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Maggie: A Girl of the Streets

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  4,744 ratings  ·  206 reviews
In 1892 Stephen Crane (1871-1900) published Maggie, Girl of the Streets at his own expense. Considered at the time to be immature, it was a failure. Since that time it has come to be considered one of the earliest American realistic novels. Maggie is the story of a pretty child of the Bowery which is written with the same intensity and vivid scenes of his masterpiece -- Th ...more
Paperback, 92 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by (first published 1892)
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Jen Knox
This book is a treasure, as much for the story of Crane's trying to get it published as for the story itself. I am always drawn to authors' first books. There's often an energy there lost in latter books. The energy and intensity of this story made gave it a momentum that wasn't lost on The Red Badge of Courage but was toned down. I admire the raw honesty of the prose here; there's something alive in it that refuses to be toned down for the audience's sake.

This tiny novella, this "shocking portrait" of working class life, might win points for its approach towards capturing the dialect and mileau of the time and place but the overall feeling I took from it was not a call to understand the people that were trodden underfoot by the educated classes but more a sense of humouous observation, almost like these drunks and whores, these scoundrels and brutes are a human zoo fit only for ogling from afar by their betters. There's a fine line between captur ...more
I read this book on-screen in my down time at work. It's set in late 19th-century New York, from what I gather, which is what attracted me to it, as I'm in the midst of a long documentary on New York. I don't know that I would include the book among my top 10, but I like it very much. The language is absolutely delectable. I want to eat it and hug Crane for writing it. His language is crystal clear; he constructs sentences in such a way to emit a vivid visual experience from between the words. H ...more
Really loved this novella. It directly transports one to 1880's Lower East side Manhattan. I thought Crane was born and raised in the Irish slums of the Bowery, but he had spent very little time there before the novel. His use of dialogue and slang made me feel like I was there in the tenement with Jimmy and Maggie. It taught me about history, the slums of old New York, and the puritanical views of lower class Irish at the time. I got a little bit of sociology, anthropology, history, and fiction ...more
I think the moral of the story was lost on me, as the times have changed so much. Everything was inferred instead of said outright. Did she actually have "relations" with Pete? I can't be sure, so am unclear why her mother disowned her. Did she kill herself? Was her situation really so severe that was her only way out? Obviously there was quite the double standard. Sins were not arranged in order of importance. The parents could be alcoholic lowlifes, and beat their children, but she was thrown ...more
We read this in my junior year American studies class in high school. Honestly, I wasn't a fan of a lot of books that we read in that class, mostly because I favor 19th century Brit lit over 19th century American lit (Gatsby and Slaughterhouse Five were the two shining exceptions) just in subject and tone, and well, everything. But! This little story really stuck with me. I read it a couple of times that first night, and I lead the discussion the next day, mostly because I couldn't shut up.

I thi
Dec 11, 2011 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kate by: Required reading for AP English Literature Grade 11 or 12
This was a short enough novel that it wasn't a chore to read. I had a friend in high school named Maggie and I recall that we would sometimes call her "Maggie Girl of the Streets" while we were reading this book... The only other thing I remember about this book is the main character looking up and saying, "The moon looks like shit" - and my teacher dissecting this sentence to mean that the character's life was so terrible she couldn't think of anything wonderful to compare the moon to.
This book was amazing. I applaud Stephen Crane for writing this book. I really liked it. It told me that Black people wernt the only ones treated badly. That other people like the Irish people were.
Something bad about the book was that I could not understand the lingo. I mean I could understand it but I either had the read it aloud, or read it really slowly. Also sometimes even when i understood the words, I couldnt understand what it meant.
Some positive things About Maggie girl from the stre
Jan 18, 2008 Tyler rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anybody
Recommended to Tyler by: Mr. MacConnell
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, written by Stephen Crane, is a story of how a young Irish girl grows up on the streets of New York. With little to no education, barely any money, and her only peers of the neighborhood fighting at all times, this girl's life is full of hardships.

During her childhood, Maggie's younger brother Jimmie was always getting into fights with the neighborhood kids. Her mother was always drinking and her father barely cared for his family at all. Maggie's father died whil
Crane loves drama and he steeps this novella in the same mash of din and color as his Red Badge of Courage, but this ostensible failure (it wasn't popular until after he grew famous for Red Badge) is actually an odd mix of Jacob-Riis-esque documentary of the Bowery slums and a throw back of the mid-century temperance tales like Solon Robinson's wildly popular temperance tale, "Hot Corn," which was serialized in the New York Tribune (later published in novel format) and which spawned numerous min ...more
This very short novella set in a poor district of New York at the end of the nineteenth century tells the story of a young girl's descent into prostitution. The daughter of a drunken and abusive mother and father, Maggie succumbs to the charms of her brother's friend, Pete, who seems to promise a little more fun and excitement that she has ever known. But of course it goes badly wrong.

The blurb on the back says that the book 'shocked a world unprepared for his grim and starkly realistic explorat
About a girl named Maggie whose premarital relationship causes her to fall into disrepute. Her gloating mother kicks her out of the house, her dandy boyfriend finds someone prettier, and after failing as a prostitute she ends up at the river by the factory she used to work at and drowns herself. "The girl, Maggie, blossomed in a mud puddle" won't get out of my head, the clarity of prose reminds me of a play, and the quick interplay of contrasts gives it that sort of dialog pacing. There aren't a ...more
Lady Nicole
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Depressing but so powerful. I would teach this before I taught The Red Badge of Courage.
Emily Whelchel
Crane writes in extremes, sharing with vividness the brutality of the lower class living in New York in the late nineteenth century. This story shares Maggie's descent into prostitution. She is a young and naive girl growing up in relative poverty and an abusive household. Ultimately, Maggie is left in ruin and tragedy alongside other girls who have nowhere else to turn except for the "crimson legions."

While this story is short and brash, I was impacted by its depiction of the characters. At on
Rebecca Curtis
Never judge a book by its title....this book is one of the most stirring commentary on Irish immigrant life in the New York City Bowery that I have ever read. I say this having read a great many of them. Maggie is a girl from a loaded Irish family, both her parents drink and once her father dies her mother becomes quite violent especially towards Maggie. Maggie feeling abandoned and lost in her familial setting then strays to find love in the arms of a familiar face only to be betrayed once her ...more
Athena Herondale
Had to read for school. It takes play in the past, early 1900s. It was very sad and...well there isnt much more to say....
Hal Brodsky
Wow! How had I not heard of this book? One chapter in and I called a friend and told him, "This is like reading Zola, only it takes place in the US and Crane dose not feel the need to preach at his readers."

Stephen Crane's first novel was self-published after being rejected by many editors as too vulgar and gritty and un-American as it portrayed the seamier side of society in a realistic fashion without a heroic figure who triumphs over adversity, etc, etc, etc.

Crane's second novel, The Red Bad
I heard about this short story on npr so I put it on my to read list. I found it to be surprisingly empathetic considering it was written by a man in the late 1800s. The sad story of a girl from an abusive, poor family who is lured away by a young gentleman. Then when he abandons her she lives on the street for a little while, eventually dies or seems to have killed herself. And suddenly in death her family is all forgiveness. I liked how it was told in a very matter of fact manner and it made m ...more
Maggie: A Girl of The Streets is the unfortunate story of a young Irish girl who is born into the lower class. As a beautiful, naïve girl of the streets, whose family situation is terrifying, Maggie is quick to take the first opportunity to leave when she is seduced by a bartender who eventually “ruins” her. After her family realizes that Maggie has lost her virginity to this intruder, she is rejected by her family and forced to live with her lover. Soon after, her lover unapologetically leaves ...more
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Other Stories is written by Stephen Crane.There are 7 other stories expect Maggie: A girl of the Street ,such as The Blue Hotel, Twelve O'Clock, Moonlight on the Snow and so on.The background of Maggie: A Girl of the Street is a poor situation.These people like Jimmie, Maggie and of course their family are very poor.Maggie's mother always drunk and Jimmie is either.Maggie falls in love with Pete ,but they are in the different world. I think all this happened be ...more
Frank Stein
Two solid novellas mixed with a bunch of sub-par short stories. "Maggie, a Girl of the Streets" is worthwhile mainly as a reporting exercise (Crane dressed like a bum and "slummed" on the Lower East Side for weeks to get the feel of life in the old tenement houses). The characters are all pretty stock and pretty unsympathetic, and lack the kind of lovable buffoonery Dickens manages to put in his stock lower-class characters. Still, some of the vignettes, like the opening children's rock battle, ...more
I had such high expectations for this book because the subject matter is so interesting and historical. The idea of a narrative that deals with a women being driven into prostitution really had potential. What I got was a hot mess that really should not have as much fame and so much scholarship written about it. Unless you are a close reader and make A LOT of assumptions, the whole premise of the book is lost on you. I ended up referring to a summary online just to make sure I was reading it cor ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Time to go back through my all-time least favorite books. And this one stands at the top of the list. It is 3/4 of a sparkling contribution to the world of literature, but as it is the book falls terribly short for the simple reason that it forcefully stamps out any possibility for resolution of any of the important points it raises.

From her brother, her mother, her own foray into an upscale social scene, and the squalors from which she emerges, Crane builds up to crucial realizations about cla
Lady Jane
Death was Maggie’s escape in “Maggie: A Girl Of The Streets.” Maggie is a pitiful young woman who never gets her opportunity to succeed in the world due to lack of funds and opportunity, and is forever held back by the stereotypes of her class. Like any young girl her age, she fell in love with Pete, a fellow who represented her hope of a better and happier future. Sadly there was never truly a formalized promise of marriage; it was all in vain to have given up her reputation for him in hopes th ...more
Mohammed Hussian
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Michael John
I have a hard time calling Maggie a novel. It is messy. The characters pop in and out. Maggie hardly speaks at all. The plot is thin and predictable. But what Crane did with the 1893 self-publication of this work cannot be ignored. This work is not afraid to stare poverty and hopelessness, even ignorance, in the eye. It paved the way for many works of the muckraking age. It took a step into territory that many authors feared to tread upon. The language is dirty, the characters are trapped - no o ...more
At first this book appeared to be realism, however if you believe in victims of nature or circumstance you will begin to see it with the same clarity as you would if you were reading, Utopia. Yes the situation is reality focused, however there is a touch of "Old Man and the Sea" as well. Man against nature is man's victimization of nature and his or her ability to deal with natural surroundings that are presented. A king of the ignorant is only perceived a king by others who are ignorant and whe ...more
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Stephen Crane was an American novelist, poet and journalist, best known for the novel Red Badge of Courage. That work introduced the reading world to Crane's striking prose, a mix of impressionism, naturalism and symbolism. He died at age 28 in Badenweiler, Baden, Germany.

More about Stephen Crane...
The Red Badge of Courage The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction  The Open Boat and Other Stories The Open Boat Maggie: A Girl of the Streets: and Other Tales of New York

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“The man had arrived at that stage of drunkenness where affection is felt for the universe.” 13 likes
“The girl, Maggie, blossomed in a mud puddle.” 5 likes
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