Study Guide

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets Fate Versus Free Will

By Stephen Crane

Fate Versus Free Will

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is not a hopeful novel. Instead, it's a gloomfest. In various ways, Crane indicates that the characters are doomed to live lives of poverty and misery. Maggie is the only one who seems to care about making it out of the ugly world of the Bowery—and therefore the only one interested in escaping her fate—but she's completely unable to do so. Everyone in this book is stuck in the cycle of violence and poverty, and while no one makes it out, the ones who survive do so by adapting instead of resisting their reality.

Questions About Fate Versus Free Will

  1. Does Crane suggest that any of the characters have a way out? Is there any chance for free will here? Does anyone escape his or her fate?
  2. Are people fated by biology or by their environments? Both?
  3. Does anyone in the novel express free will? Why or why not?

Chew on This

This book argues that fate runs the show, and no matter what anyone does, they can't escape their destinies.

This book argues that everyone gets what they deserve based on the choices they make.

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