"Maggie: a Girl of the Streets" by Stephen Crane - captures the hardships of immigrants

Essay by redheadkHigh School, 11th gradeA, May 2004

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America is known for being the "melting pot" of the world. This is because so many immigrants come here from all different places in the world, making America the most diverse country. Immigrants come here for many different reasons: new job opportunities, religious and political freedom, and wealth. What they found when they got here, though, was not exactly what they expected. Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of The Streets captures the hardships that immigrants had to go through once they reached their destination. The novel begins by describing the home life of Maggie and her family. Crane describes how their alcoholic parents beat Maggie, along with her two brothers, Jimmie and Tommie, day after day. Soon, though, Maggie's father and little brother, Tommie, are dead. Jimmie and Maggie are forced to get jobs - Jimmie as a truck driver and Maggie as a worker in a textile factory. Naive Maggie then becomes mesmerized with Jimmie's friend, Pete, whom she doesn't know is a pimp.

Pete takes her on many dates until Maggie falls in love with him, while Pete is just trying to take advantage of her, and eventually "ruins" her. Her mother thinks that she is a disgrace to the family and kicks her out of the house, so she goes to live with Pete. Pete eventually leaves Maggie, though, and her family will not accept her back into the house. Maggie has nowhere to go except on the streets, where she becomes a prostitute. One night she finds herself by the river, where she dies of a cause in which the author does not make clear. Maggie is a character who shows what the negative aspects of city growth do to a person, because these things ultimately lead to her death.

Maggie lived in a tenement, a...