Study Guide

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

By Stephen Crane

Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

If you are looking for a more promising fulfillment of the American dream, we suggest you read The Great Gatsby instead, because you aren't going to find it in this book. In fact, Maggie is the only character in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets who even cares about movin' on up, and she seems to have gotten her ideas from melodramas and music hall fantasies. Needless to say, Maggie fails miserably. She hooks her star to the wrong wagon—a.k.a. Pete (pro tip: boyfriends are usually the wrong wagon)—and gets pulled just high enough to find herself and her dreams shattered when he ditches her.

Questions About Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

  1. What does Crane suggest about the possibility of his characters achieving the American Dream? Pick three characters and examine their relationship to this concept.
  2. What effect do the plays have on Maggie? Give examples of their influence.
  3. What are Maggie's hopes, dreams, and plans? Do these change? Stay the same? What other characters have hopes, dreams, and plans? How do they compare and contrast to Maggie's?

Chew on This

When Maggie meets Pete, she worries that she isn't good enough for him, but the reader quickly realizes it's the other way around.

Maggie wants nothing more than to get out of the family apartment, but once she does, she ruins her chances for a decent life—according to the moral standards in the novel. In other words, her dreams kill her.

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