Study Guide

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets What's Up With the Title?

By Stephen Crane

What's Up With the Title?

There are titles that are really tricky to sort out the significance of, and then there's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. Guess what's at the heart of this book? A girl named Maggie… who gets tossed out to fend for herself on the streets. Shocking, we know.

To be clear, being a girl of the streets means Maggie becomes a prostitute. Ever heard the term street walker? Yeah, that refers to prostitutes, too. Once Maggie is kicked out by her mom, she has to make it on her own on the streets, living, working, and generally just trying to get by out there. Well, until she dies, that is.

Perhaps the most important word in the title is a. Yes, we know it's just one letter, but what it accomplishes is pretty huge anyway: It makes it clear that Maggie is one of many. She is a girl, not the girl, and because of this, her story works as a stand-in for the lived experiences of many other impoverished young women.

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