Maggie: A Girl of Streets Close Reading

Maggie is an unfortunate lonely young lady. She is lonely because she was born in “tenement house”(965) consisted with families stained with alcoholic and violence and gets abandoned by her families and friends. She is unfortunate because her tragic life is ultimately started from family and social environment, such as poverty, alcoholic, and inequality, revealing naturalism.

However, she is not a lonely young lady. She is not lonely because she grew up as a beautiful minded lady. She is not lonely because she has a short moment joyful but painful lover, Pete. She is not lonely because she has an only “imperturbable amid suffering”(965) job “in a shirt factory.”(965) But most of all, she is not lonely because she has a romantic hope and dream. How could she just be lonely if she has a romantic dream and hope to build her life better?

Thus, she knows the big power of dream and hope, no matter it is romantic or realistic. One day, her lover, Pete, “took her to see plays”(964), which was about “clutching heroine was rescued from the palatial home of her guardian.”(964) By watching the scene of the “march from poverty,”(965) to “wealth and triumph”(965), she starts to cultivate her romance of future life.

By watching “the heroine on the stage,”(965) it “made her think” that if she could at least imitate, “perhaps grotesquely”(965) of “the culture and refinement she had seen,”(965) she imagined about “acquired” (965) those, who lives a “suffering”(965) life, living “in a tenement house”(965) and working “in a shirt factory.”(965) She was hoping that she could “eventually surmounted the wealthy and wicked”(965) from the life of “the poor and virtuous.”(965)

In conclusion, after watching a play, this innocent and naive young lady believes the principle of didactic and good triumph over evil, which is supported by “melodrama”(965), as a principle of real world. Rather in the real world, Maggie is morally more noble than her families, friends, and neighbors, but sold as the depraved and corrupted existence who dishonored her house and family.

However, regardless with her free will, her bright internal “raised spirit”(965) and hope was covered by the dark external power of cruel, violent, poor, and inequal society. As a logic of naturalism, her stimulation of her imagination and fuel of her hope “acquired by”(965) play, was never free and had to be sacrificed by the poor social factors.