Study Guide

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets Violence

By Stephen Crane

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Maggie: A Girl of the Streets has more bruises, scrapes, punches, and flying objects than a Bruce Lee movie and a Bruce Willis movie combined. There is violence from beginning to end, and it comes in all shapes and sizes—it's an inevitable part of life in the Bowery. Whether Mary is beating Jimmie because she finds out he's been fighting, Jimmie's seeing red as pedestrians cross the street, or Mary's meeting her maker, nobody escapes the anger-fueled ways of tenement life in this era. Here, violence is as normal as eating, sleeping, and going to work.

Questions About Violence

  1. Is Maggie purely a victim of violence? Use the text to explain your answer.
  2. Who is the most violent character in the novel and why? Be specific, please.
  3. Does anyone seem bothered by the violence? What does this tell you about violence in the book?
  4. What does this book suggest the cultural consequences of violence are?

Chew on This

Violence works on several levels in Maggie. It's a way to pass the time, protect one's territory, and put masculinity on full display.

In Maggie, violence is essential to survival. The weak just won't make it, which is made crystal clear in the form of Maggie.

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