Poverty in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets


Stephen Crane’s Maggie: Girl of the Streets is filled with themes that address many different aspects of the real world, especially the negative aspects. In this novella, the theme of poverty is the most prominent in guiding the lives of Maggie and Jimmie and their family. Crane uses extremely descriptive imagery to paint the picture of the world that they live in. He writes “Eventually they entered into a dark region where, from a careening building, a dozen gruesome doorways gave up loads of babies to the street and the gutter” (Norton C, 949). The words “dark” and “gruesome” set a scene of a dark, mystical and at some points scary world that Maggie lives in. He further sets the scene when he vividly describes how “a wind of early autumn raised yellow dust from cobbles and swirled it against a hundred windows” (Norton C, 949). In describing the “loads of babies” and “a hundred windows” he gives the reader a sense of the immensity of the world around, but at the same time he seemingly illustrates Maggie’s character as somewhat secluded from all of this. Crane uses the theme of poverty to elaborate on the solitude of Maggie’s life, contrasting the immensity of the world around her.

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