Essay on Maggie: A Girl of the Streets: She Never Had a Chance

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Maggie Never Had a Chance

“She imagined a future rose-tinted because of its distance from all she had experienced before,” (53). The distance from the broken furniture and drunken bawls was not far. Maggie’s new wonderful cultural experience was a short glimpse at New York’s museums with time spent at cheap theatres and dance halls. Instead of a fairy tale story, Crane told of reality in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets – the reality that would face a young girl from a dirt poor, chaotic existence. Crane contrives to show how much weight poor pre-existing conditions have in determining the future.

For Maggie, “a small ragged girl,” tears, blood, and cursing are more normal than not. Granted, the character of Maggie knew that there did
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Within this perpetual chaos Maggie is born. Only the end of the short story indicates this event made an indention of some sort. However, it takes death to give any value to her life. The idea that Maggie’s life is of any value is arguable, but might be seen in what is, in all probability, one of Mary’s last sober recollections. Nevertheless, this scene could be wrought solely for the sake of attention. The tiny “pair of faded baby shoes held in the hollow of [Mary’s] hand” come alongside Mary’s one coherent memory harkened by “the inevitable sunshine” that “came streaming in at the window and shed a ghastly cheerfulness upon the faded hues of the room” (81).
This is the one moment where Maggie seems to have been valued, but even that is demeaned coming from the drunken mother with a selective memory and nasty habit of rewriting her place in history, “An’ wid all d’ bringin’ up she had, how could she? … Wid all d’ talkin’ wid her I did an’ d’ t’ings I tol’ her to remember. When a girl is bringed up d’ way I bringed up Maggie, how kin she go teh d’ devil?” (55). Of course, the irony is how can she do otherwise.

The character of Jimmy allows a few seconds of false hope, but is another excellent example of the system at work. Jimmy is a product of his upbringing, in no uncertain terms. He has a taste for blood and confrontation, with only the slightest penchant for actual thought. For the most part, Jimmy holds everyone at arm’s length,
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