Naturalism in Stephen Crane's "Maggie: a Girl of the Streets"

1630 Words Mar 21st, 2012 7 Pages
Naturalism in Stephen Crane’s “Maggie: A Girl of the Streets”
“Maggie: A Girl of the Streets,” is a novella written by Stephen Crane and published in the year 1893. This work was published during the time of the Industrial Revolution, when factories were appearing everywhere. Their workers were often not paid enough to lead a decent life, and suffered from their situation. They were not very civilized and sometimes aggressive in their behavior. Perhaps because of this radical change from a more agricultural lifestyle to one of industry and factories, some pieces of literature were starting to transition from the classification of Realistic writings to works that are now categorized as works of Naturalism. While the two categories are
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Crane’s use of characterization helps the reader form ideas or hypotheses about the way a character will act throughout the story. In Chapter One, as Pete is approaching the brawl on the street, he is given the following description:
Down the avenue came boastfully sauntering a lad of sixteen years, although the chronic sneer of an ideal manhood already sat upon his lips. His hat was tipped with an air of challenge over his eye. Between his teeth, a cigar stump was tilted at the angle of defiance. He walked with a certain swing of the shoulders which appalled the timid. He glanced over into the vacant lot in which the little raving boys from Devil's Row seethed about the shrieking and tearful child from Rum Alley. "Gee!" he murmured with interest. "A scrap. Gee!" He strode over to the cursing circle, swinging his shoulders in a manner which denoted that he held victory in his fists. He approached at the back of one of the most deeply engaged of the Devil's Row children. "Ah, what deh hell," he said, and smote the deeply-engaged one on the back of the head.
This description of Pete portrays him as a person with a lot of confidence and one that sees himself as having authority over others and can do what he would like.
“Maggie” is a story that is pessimistic. It is not only a story of a character who ultimately succumbs to her situation by becoming a prostitute because she feels she has no other way if supporting
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