Power And Control In Maggie


The world of Stephen Crane’s novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, is a dark, violent place. People curse one another openly and instigate fights over petty issues. The intense poverty of the populace leads to a feeling of general despair and creates a lack of self-confidence in each individual. People want to feel that they mean something. They want to know that their life does not go unnoticed. They desire power over others lives. The poor, who are constantly controlled by the rich, yearn for the opportunity to control their world. In a typical society these urges would be satisfied by successful careers and families but in the torn and impoverished world of Maggie people ...

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a heap of gravel for the honor of Rum Alley. He was throwing stones at howling urchins from Devil’s Row who were circling madly about the heap and pelting at him” (Crane 3). That the kids are battling for the so-called “honor of Rum Alley” (Crane 3) shows that the kids are trying to gain a position of power through battle. If they can injure those who stand in their way in front of everyone else they will earn the respect and, therefore, the control and power they are seeking. Donald Pizer explores this idea in his essay, “Stephen Crane’s Maggie and American Naturalism”. Pizer states that the scene quoted above of the boy on top of the rock pile fighting with the other kids has what he calls a “basic chivalric cast” (Pizer 188). He writes, “The very little boy is a knight fighting on his citadel of gravel for the honor of his chivalrous pledge to Rum Alley” (Pizer 188). Pizer compares the fighting for control ...

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the other kids and has taken him home. As they walk through the door the mother exhibits the same behavior as her son. Crane writes, “As the father and children filed in she peered at them. ‘Eh, what? Been fightin’ agin, by Gawd!’ She threw herself upon Jimmie” (Crane 7). In the next paragraph Crane describes the mother’s treatment of the “urchin” (Crane 7). The mother “shook him until he rattled” (Crane 7). She then soaks a rag in water and scrubs “his lacerated face with it. Jimmie screamed in pain and tried to twist his shoulders out of the clasp of the huge arms” (Crane 7). The above sort of treatment of ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 1/12/2004 08:10:30 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Free Paper
Words: 1327
Pages: 5

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