A Simple Guide to Maggie A girl from the Streets

Category: Literature

Maggie a girl from the streets, is a novel by Stephen Crane. It is a story about a young girl who lives on the streets after her family loses their home. The setting is in the Bowery neighborhood. The book gives a glimpse into the lives of Irish immigrants.

Reading Maggie is fun but understanding what the author conveys may not come easy. For better understanding, the reader must look into the lives of the characters and go through their struggle to make a living and afford a decent life.

In this article, we look at Maggie a girl from the streets, a literary analysis, and a plot summary.

Plot Summary

The book has a sad ending after the discovery of Maggie’s body. Jimmie delivers the news to his mother. His mother is not sad about her passing; rather, she claims to have forgiven Maggie for going to the devil.

Her parents are alcoholics and abusive. Maggie has two other siblings. Little Tommie, Maggie’s toddling brother, dies, and her father soon follows.

Maggie cannot find decent work, and she finds solace in the arms of Pete, a bartender. Later she loses her job and her little place after her life takes a few hits. Eventually, she turns to sell her body for a living. Maggie’s story is one of despair and hope as she tries to make the best of her situation. Maggie is a complex character, and her story is moving. The novel Maggie a girl from the streets is an important work of literature and will surely leave its readers moved.

About the Author Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane was an American novelist, short story writer, and poet. Crane is best known for his novel Maggie a girl from the streets. He was born in 1871 in Newark, New Jersey, and died at 28 in Badenweiler, Germany. Despite his short life, Stephen Crane was a prolific writer and considered an important voice in American literature.

Besides Maggie a girl from the streets, Crane’s other works include The Red Badge of Courage, The Open Boat, and War Is Kind. Many publishers did not want to publish Maggie as it was a bold book challenging the lives of American immigrant families in a low income

Literary Analysis of the Book Maggie a Girl from the Streets

The nineteenth-century novel by Stephen Crane is one of the most powerful stories in American Literature. The Short story has a rich story to tell and educate. It is popular with book clubs for its realism. It also has an ironic and symbolic structure. Ironically, the Johnsons are religious, yet drink themselves into a stupor and abuse one another.

The book deviates from American fiction. It goes deep into Maggie’s brokenness and shows us the life of an escort. She is desperate for anything so long as she makes some money. It also looks into the life of a woman from a broken family that has nothing to offer including basic needs like shelter.

Crane uses irony to showcase the lives of the characters. Despite all their struggles, they have money to drink themselves silly.

A List of Characters in Stephen Crane’s Maggie

Maggie Johnson- The protagonist of the novel. Maggie is a young girl forced to live on the streets after they evict her family from their home. Maggie is a complex character, and her story is moving.

Jimmie Johnson- Maggie’s brother. Jimmie also becomes a teamster. He is rough and tough to survive the difficult life of a broke young man. He is violent, as the novel opens with a scene of him fighting on the street.

Pete- A friend of Maggie and Jimmie. Pete lures Maggie into his life with his fake confidence. He seduces her into an imaginary life of the class. Pete is a con artist who only uses Maggie and drops her once Nellie comes around.

Mary- Maggie and Jimmie’s mother. Mary is from her home and forced to live in a tenement with her children.

Mr Johnson- Maggie and Jimmie’s father. Mr Johnson dies before the family loses their home.

Maggie’s pimp. Wilson is a cruel man, and he mistreats Maggie.



The novel showcases the harsh economic times’ Maggie and her family face. They cannot find meaningful work leaving them homeless and on the streets. Crane expresses the ugly face of joblessness and people struggling to get by.

Maggie and Pete live in a broken-down van while out on the street. She has nothing to her name and nowhere to go.

Maggie a girl from the streets explains the struggles of the disadvantaged people in our society. Due to poverty, maggie a girl from the streets gets no choice in her life and future. Eventually, maggie a girl from the streets dies on the streets.


Mary Johnson is hypocritical. She hates Maggie for “going to dey devil” while she herself is a drunkard. Maggie’s mother quickly chases her away while she has nowhere to go. She treats her as such a bad girl while she is a sloppy mother to her children.

Though Jimmie hardens and drinks himself while destroying other girls, no one holds him accountable for his actions.


Johnston Smith abuses Mary Johnson and their children. He drinks himself into a stupor and comes home to attack them. Maggie’s family lacks a bond because of constant abuse and drunken rage.

Maggie enters an abusive relationship and ends up going through more abuse by her pimp. She suffers and dies on the streets.


Maggie, her brother, Pete, and her parents are hooked on alcohol. Maggie’s father drinks all day. He is violent when he drinks and will not stop drinking. Mary Johnson is also drunk in her own way. She neglects her children.

Alcoholism leads to several problems in the lives of the victims. They cannot sustain themselves or live a normal life. Maggie ends up dying in an alley.


Maggie is the girl on the street, a prostitute. She has no choice but to live like that after she cannot find any meaningful work. She lacks the education to help her get ahead in life. When she starts out in Rum alley, she has no choice but to pimp herself.

Final Thoughts on Crane’s Maggie

The book by Stephen Crane is a finesse of French naturalism. It goes beyond the tale of a young lady navigating a difficult life. It sheds light on a broken and struggling society that has lost hope. Rum alley children have nothing to show for themselves but pain, abuse, and poverty.

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A Simple Guide to Maggie A girl from the Streets. (2022, Oct 12). Retrieved from https://studymoose.us/a-guide-to-maggie-a-girl-from-the-streets/

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