Research Essay on Crane's Maggie a Girl of the Streets

Essay by MccaddenSucksUniversity, Bachelor's August 2004

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By Lee A. Zito

A person's identity is a mixture of many characteristics. These characteristics make up who we are, how we act, and decisions we make in life. These decisions can include where we hang out, who we hang out with, and what type of behavior we emit. What creates these characteristics? How do we develop these traits that determine who we are in society?

When Stephen Crane wrote Maggie A Girl of the Streets, he created two characters in which their sociological and economical surroundings influenced who they are as individuals. Crane used his novella's characters as a statement for all humanity. We are the people of our economical and sociological surroundings. We as individuals do become the result of our environment.

The two main characters, Jimmie Johnson and Maggie Johnson, are brother and sister. They live in the Bowery District of New York City during the late 19th century.

This area at this time is filled with Irish immigrants like themselves, who are struggling with poverty, filth, and abuse. As children, their alcoholic mother would get into vicious physical and verbal fights with their father, often turning on the children.

Jimmie would get into street fights with other young children. They fought with the purpose of being the strongest and the toughest. Maggie, to her family, was almost invisible. She would stay in the background constantly worrying for her family. She specifically worried about her brother Jimmie who would come home battered from fights.

Their childhood consisted of this daily routine of abuse, alcoholism, and distress. Jimmie and Maggie are subjected to this behavior as youths. As young adults they now find that they have adapted to this routine and now own it. Their father dies, leaving them alone to take care of their horribly abusive...