Maggie, Girl of the Streets

How does Crane use imagery to set the tone for the novel?

What kinds of color symbolism are apparent in Maggie?

What role does religion play in this novella? How do the various characters use religious language and approach religious themes?

Focus mainly on how Crane expects his readers to respond to the characters and their lives. For example, did Maggie have real choices or was she forced into prostitution? Did any of the characters have choices?  Is this book Realism or Naturalism? Where do we see the same debate in Modern society?

What part do social forces affect the outcome of the characters’ lives?

34 Replies to “Maggie, Girl of the Streets”

  1. How does Crane use imagery to set the tone for the novel?
    – Throughout the first and second chapter, Crane introduces the character, Jimmie who is Maggie’s brother. Crane describes the streets and the tenement as a scary place that the characters constantly are running from. By using descriptive words that help picture the housing this family lived in, such as, “He heard it creak.” Crane also describes the characters with bold words that help depict each character and their emotions. In chapter 3, on page 38, Crane writes, “small frame of the ragged girl was quivering. Her features were haggard from weeping, and her eyes gleamed from fear.”

    1. I agree with Madyson. The way he describes the tenements creates a scary and dark image that creates the tone of the story. Also, he uses colors such as red to portray a tone of anger and to create an image for the reader. For example, on page 7, “a small ragged girl dragged a red, bawling infant along the crowded ways”.

    2. I also agree with Madyson! I think the way crane describes the area where Jimmie, Maggie, and Tommy live as dirty, old, and dark really creates a tone that this area is dangerous and is not safe for anyone to live in , especially children. Crane also uses harsh words like gnarled and die to really set a hostile tone on page 10.

  2. – Crane uses imagery to set the tone for the novel by the use of colors such as red to create a grimness tone. He also uses the color red to ramp up the drama of the images he is portraying through his writing. For example, Momma Johnson is red a lot to help the reader create an image of an angry/drunk woman. “neck flared suddenly crimson” would be an example of Crane creating this image of Momma Johnson.

    1. What kinds of color symbolism are apparent in Maggie?
      Red is the color that stands out the most that is apparent in Maggie. It is to represent the prostitution and death. Throughout the story, Crane develops the plot line of Maggie and her struggle in the devastating city that is her home. The red also describes the actions of the alcoholic mother. In the first chapter, the father is yelling at Mary “When I come nights I can’t git no rest ‘cause yer allus poundin’ a kid. Let up, d’yeh hear? Don’t be allus poundin’ a kid.” The red symbolises great danger in this story.

  3. What kinds of color symbolism are apparent in Maggie?

    – Crane uses color throughout the novel to create more dramatic images. In chapter 2 he said “ girl dragged a red bawling infant along the crowded ways”in this example he uses the color red to describe how the infant looks. The infant is crying while the girl is dragging it and his face is extremely red. Often times when baby’s cry their face gets red when they have cried for a while. Crane uses the color red to demonstrate anger.

  4. What kinds of color symbolism are apparent in Maggie?

    – Crane uses color throughout the novel to create more dramatic images. In chapter 2 he said “ girl dragged a red bawling infant along the crowded ways” ( page 7)in this example he uses the color red to describe how the infant looks. The infant is crying while the girl is dragging it and his face is extremely red. Often times when baby’s cry their face gets red when they have cried for a while. Crane uses the color red to demonstrate anger.

  5. 2. Crane uses color symbolism throughout the writing. For example he uses the color red to symbolize anger and frustration in a character. On page 7, “a small ragged girl dragged a red, bawling infant along the crowded ways”. This represents an angry, crying, and frustrated infant. This color symbolism can also create an image for the readers to help the understand more of what’s going on.

    1. Yes I agree he uses red to symbolize anger in the infant. When they cry for a while their face will get red. He uses lots of imagery to help the reader understand better.

  6. How does Crane use imagery to set the tone for the novel?

    Crane uses imagery to set the tone of the novel as somber. On page 4 he says “ tears made furrows on his dirt stained cheeks” and “ his thin legs had begun to tremble and then weak causing his small body to reel. “ . These quotes from page 4 start off the novel with a somber tone that demonstrates Cranes tone. Crane wants to make the novel accurate to real life and he does that by making it about poverty.

  7. How does crane use imagery to set the tone for the novel?
    Crane uses descriptive words to help the reader understand the characters, their emotions, and the environment around them. Firstly in chapter 1, on page 4 he describes Jimmie after he got hit in the mouth with a stone “Blood was bubbling over his chin and down his shirt. Tears made furrows on his dirt-stained cheeks. His thin legs had begun to tremble and turn weak…” because Crane described what was going on in this way he sets the tone as solemn and serious.

    1. I agree with Mikaela ! Crane uses descriptive words to create images which set the tone for the novel. Crane also uses color such as Red to set the tone. For example on Page 7 when he describes the crying and angry infant.

      1. Why is everyone using the same quote about the kid? If red is throughout the novella, you guys couldn’t find more than that one quote?

  8. What kind of color symbolism are apparent in Maggie?
    Crane mentions the color red in some of the chapters mostly when he is talking about Maggie’s mother. When she is arguing her husband “the fervent red of her face turned almost to purple.” The red he is referring to here most likely means anger. The color red could also represent the violence and blood he referred to in the first chapter with Jimmie.

    1. Yes I agree he uses the color red often in the beginning to demonstrate anger. Often people get red when they are very angry.

    2. Yes I agree crane uses the color red often in the beginning to demonstrate anger. Often people get red when they are very angry.

  9. – What role does religion play in this novella? How do various characters use religious language and approach religious themes?
    In chapter 17, the prostitute that is portrayed to be Maggie accidentally runs into a man on the street, he says “Hi there, Mary. I beg your pardon! Brace up, old girl.” This shows Maggie as resembling her mother, both physically and morally. Also, Mary can be seen as opposite to the virgin Mary because of her devilish ways. It is also shown that Maggie could be an incarnation of Mary Magdalene, who in the Christian Bible is also a prostitute and them becomes a disciple of Jesus.

    1. What role does religion play in this novella? How do the various characters use religious language and approach religious themes?
      Religion in this novella is to exemplify the sins that are also present within the life of Maggie. Prostitution is mentioned keen in the story, and Maggie is to be the representation of her mother at the time. It is based on the Christian religion, as Maggie is to seem like a repented disciple to Jesus throughout her journey. In chapter two, “She dragged him to an unholy sink, and, soaking a rag in water, began to scrub his lacerated face with it.” This helps to connect the idea of religion followings but not a standard role model.

  10. – what role does religion play in this novella? How do various characters use religious language and approach religious themes?

  11. -what role does religion play in this novella? How do various characters use religious language and approach religious themes?
    Religion plays a role with the characters in this book. In chapter 17 when Maggie is a prostitute she bumps into a man who calls her Mary . This shows that Maggie is starting to resemble her mother. Maggie’s mother Mary was known as the antagonist to Maggie “the Virgin Mary”. Maggie is kinda like Mary Magdalene in a way that they were both prostitutes, but Mary Magdalene repents and becomes a disciple.

  12. -what role does religion play in this novel?

    Religion plays a role with the characters in this book. In chapter 17 when Maggie is a prostitute she bumps into a man who calls her Mary . This shows that Maggie is starting to resemble her mother. Maggie’s mother Mary was known as the antagonist to Maggie “the Virgin Mary”. Maggie is kinda like Mary Magdalene in a way that they were both prostitutes, but Mary Magdalene repents and becomes a disciple.

    1. I agree with Addison. Mary can be shown as the opposite of the virgin mary and Maggie is portrayed to be like Mary Magdalene throughout the book because they are both seen as prostitutes but then eventually come through in the end.

  13. -Focus mainly on how Crane expects his readers to respond to the characters and their lives. For example, did Maggie have real choices or was she forced into prostitution? Did any of the characters have choices? Is this book Realism or Naturalism? Where do we see the same debate in Modern society?
    Maggie was pretty much forced into prostitution because Pete led her to believe that he was truly interested in her. Pete ends up not being what he seems to be which eventually leads to prostitution and death. I would say that Mary had her own choices since she was older and more aware of things going on around her. Maggie, Girl of the Streets is classified as a mix of Realism and Naturalism. It takes place in the 19th century and shows/explains the poor living conditions of the lower classes. We see this same debate in modern society because there are also poor living conditions for the lower classes and there are people in poverty to this day.

    1. Yes I agree that she didn’t have many choices because her life was affected by her family. This book is mostly naturalism because it is about a lower class family that is poorly educated. Also Maggie and Jimmie were effected by their hereditary which is one of the traits of naturalism.

    2. Throughout the story, Maggie has been brought up in tough situations that never really gave her a choice. As the story progressed, it seemed that her choices were hers to make. Thinking to the modern world today, choices seem though they are not to be made by us, but by the people surronded by us. I think that she was not forced into prostitution as Crane creates the depicted image for. I feel this book is more of Naturalism because of the portrayed family who was poor and the uprisings of children in terrible conditions of the cities limits. I agree that we do see some of this today in the modern world with poor living conditions in some areas.

  14. – Focus mainly on how Crane expects his readers to respond to the characters and their lives. For example, did Maggie have real choices or was she forced into prostitution? Did any of the characters have choices? Is this book Realism or Naturalism? Where do we see the same debate in Modern society?

    Maggie didn’t really have real choices and that’s why she turned to prostitution. Maggie was born into a low class family that didn’t care much about her. When Pete left Maggie she had no one to turn to and no money. Her brother Pete didn’t worry about her and she became homeless. I don’t think Maggie or Pete had many choices because they were raised by a poor family who didn’t care about them. Their mother Mary did have choices though because she could’ve gotten a job and stopped drinking. This book is Naturalism because they are lower class and they aren’t well educated. Maggie and Jimmie are controlled by their hereditary. We see this in modern day society a lot because your wealthiness often has to do with your family well being.

  15. -What part do social forces affect the outcome of the characters’ lives?
    There are many social forces that affect Maggieś tragic ending because throughout her life she is exposed violence, abuse, and abandonment from her poor family. Maggie really doesn’t have anyone to rely on and she seeks for someone to be her comfort and support. Mary ¨gossiped while leaning on railings or screamed in frantic quarrels¨, Mary´s ill temper lead to fear and unconsciousness. The social norm of mother is to be caring and loving but Mary is abusive and fearful to Maggie. Her abandonment and abusive childhood ways fuel Maggieś eagerness to have love and to escape the social misery she is in.

  16. What part do social forces affect the outcome of the characters lives?
    – Maggie was affected by the people in her life like her mother and Pete. Her mother was a violent alcoholic that would get very angry at home. Her whole life she was exposed to so much violence, abuse, and was abandoned by her family. Because Maggie was abandoned and not loved as a child it made her eager to leave them and find love.

    1. I agree with Addison, on how she was shaped into the sad, desperate young girl.To speak of Maggie herself, it seem that her outcome was influenced by all characters in the story. She has her unbearing mother, her wretched father, the neighbors, her brother, Jimmie. It seems that her and Jimmie shared a great influence over one another throughout. Now, when Pete is brought up, I feel he is most responsible for her demise. This demise was created by the introduction into prostitution and the “love” ideal out of her hands. Each character in this story, had carried an impact on someone else.

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