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Major Character Analysis In Maggie A Girl Of The Streets And The Awakening

1965 words - 8 pages

Major Character Analysis
In the late nineteenth century people obtained more freedom. The American rags to riches story struck a chord with many people and they tried to change their social class. For some, even with new opportunities in life, it would be hard for them to climb the class ladder. Many people live lives full of hardship and obstacles, such as Maggie Johnson from Stephen Crane's Maggie a Girl of the Streets, who grows up in the slums of New York City. Edna Pontellier from Kate Chopin's The Awakening lives a life of extravagance and wealth but still ends up dying a sad and lonely death because she makes poor decisions. Maggie also dies in a tragic death, but not because of ...view middle of the document...

Maggie's uniqueness gives her the chance to improve her life, but only a slim chance. Even though Maggie differs from the people around her they remain sleazy, making it harder for her to change her life because she must go outside of her community for help. As this seems an impossible feat for a poor girl to strive for, she must try to make good decisions so she can improve her life gradually. Maggie does not do this though, because life treats her so bad in the beginning that she wants to distance herself from it as much as she can. This leads to her escapades with Pete and her loss of innocence and a future. In her environment Pete seems like her best chance to change her life. Crane describes Pete in Maggie's opinion: "His mannerisms stamped him as a man who had a correct sense of his personal superiority. There was a valor and contempt for circumstances in the glance of his eye. He waved his hands like a man of the world, who dismisses religion and philosophy, and says ‘Fudge," (Maggie 17). Pete is of no hope for Maggie and somewhat turns her future into something dark and dreary. Maggie thinks she can only save herself by being with Pete, who turns out to be nothing more than a man looking for a good time. Maggie cannot avoid a gloomy future because she never finds herself presented with abundant opportunities.
Maggie is a girl that is pressured and is shaped by society in times of much need. Maggie was in search of help and love and everyone stood in her way. She was looked at as a shameful woman, but at the same time she just tried to live and love and was in much need of love. People would not help her or be with her in fear of what society would think of them in return. All Maggie needed was to be saved and no one was willing to do so even Jimmie and her mother abandoned her. Everywhere she turned there was no help and she eventually fell from everyone and took her life to save herself from pain and suffering. Maggie then becomes a victim of her own death because of her good looks. Maggie's physical beauty helps to start her many problems with Pete. One day Pete comes to the Johnson home and tells Maggie "I'm stuck on yer shape. It's outa sight," he said, parenthetically, with an affable grin (Maggie 19). Maggie's appearance interests Pete and he intends to become more intimate and personal with her. Pete shows his interest in Maggie with his friendly and gentle smile and somewhat flirts with her in a sense. Without her good looks Maggie could easily fade into the background while Pete continues his discussion with Jimmy. Pete poses as a threat to Maggie because he appears like an elegant young man, whereas his real personality does not contribute to that illusion. At the Johnson's house Pete declares to Jimmy "I jes jumped deh bar an deh way I plunked dat blokie was great. See? Dat's right! In deh jaw! See?" (Maggie 19). Pete lives a supposedly well balanced and enriched life as a bartender, but he still...

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