Study Guide

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets Awe and Amazement

By Stephen Crane

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Awe and Amazement

The characters in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets are impressed by some rather curious things. Instead of beauty or kindness, what inspires awe are people who display brutality, superiority, and arrogance. Maggie, for instance, is in awe of Pete's cruel masculinity—when she first meets him, all she can do is stare, as he is so self-confident and viciously masculine. And she's only more amazed that he has a job as a bartender, which is way better than sewing collars and cuffs in a factory. Yeah, her standards are pretty low.

Questions About Awe and Amazement

  1. Are there any things that impress all of the characters? If so, what? If not, what does this tell you about being impressed in this book?
  2. Why is Maggie so taken aback by Pete?
  3. What character commands the most attention and respect? Give examples to support your claim.
  4. What is up with Jimmie and fire trucks? What does he loves so much about them?

Chew on This

Crane's world does not have any Christian sense of awe—God does not offer any distraction or promise to the characters.

Ultimately, the thing we see people most in awe of in this book is violence. Yes, violence is everywhere, but it's also the thing people most respect.

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