Lady Jane's Reviews > Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
by Stephen Crane
by Stephen Crane
Lady Jane's review
Jan 05, 12
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 that her innate goodness would gain her divine justice in the end. Her naïve manner of believing that she is entitled to a happy ending is foreshadowed quite early in the novella by a comment on a play she saw: "Maggie always departed with raised spirits from the showing places of the melodrama. She rejoiced at the way in which the poor and virtuous eventually surmounted the wealthy and the wicked. The theatre made her think. She wondered if the culture and refinement she has seem imitated, perhaps grotesquely, by the heroine on the stage, could be acquired by a girl who lived in a tenement house and worked in a shirt factory” (28). Maggie’s failure to understand that divine justice does not apply in a materialistic society is what causes her blindness and inability to realize that it is unwise to give everything up mindlessly for love. In the end, Pete later falls in love with Nellie who is by far much more sophisticated and appealing than Maggie ever can be. This shows that the concept of goodness and inner beauty are simply myths from an idealized past and have no place in an industrialized society. Here, the fittest who survive are selfish, cunning individuals who execute cutthroat Machiavellian tactics without regard for others.
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