How does Crane portray the sensibility of the poor? Is Maggie responsible for her grim fate, or has her life been stolen from her by the economic, cultural, neighborhood, and family forces in her environment?
Decide if there is any hope of Maggie achieving recognition of the real circumstances of her situation.
If no, then what changes would have to be made to her environment?
If yes, then when should she have seen the truth of her situation and acted differently?
Is there any way society could have helped her?
|Hint: I believe we can ascertain Crane’s political point through a close analysis of his literary style, his way of seeing.
How does Cranes use language to portray the riotous sensibility of the poor? What value system drives much of the behavior of the impoverished families in this neighborhood? How do they measure themselves against others? How does Crane create irony in his depiction of the distance between Maggie’s sentimental dreams and the brutal reality of her situation?
|Hyperactive, riotous sentences containing startling metaphors.
Sentimental, mock-heroic notions about people and behavior.
Key lines of dialogue which puncture those sentimental delusions.
Descriptions of costume at the expense of character.
Chapter 1: The Street Fight
Chapter 2: The Johnson Family
Chapter 3: Jimmie’s Evening Adventure (10-13)
Chapter 4: Jimmie’s Determined Existence (Any glimmers?) (13-16)
Chapter 5: Maggie Blossoms (16-19)
Chapter 6: Pete: The Knight in Shining Armor (19-22)
Chapter 7: Pete and Maggie at the Burlesque (22-25)
Chapter 8: Maggie’s Sweatshop Reveries; The Melodrama Show (25-28)
Chapter 9: Mama Goes on a Bender (28-31)
Chapter 10: Jimmie’s Sense of Family Honor (32-34)
Chapter 11 The Bar Fight (34-39)
Chapter 12 Maggie and Pete at the Bar (Any glimmers?) (39-41)
Chapter 13 Maggie’s Mortal Sin: “Queering” the Johnsons’ Upstanding Reputation (41-44)
Chapter 14 The Hilarious Hall: Nell Steals Pete (44-48)
Chapter 15 The Return of the Prodigal Daughter (48-51)
Chapter 16 Pete’s Brief Struggle of Conscience (Any glimmers for Maggie?) (51-54)
Chapter 17 Maggie’s Walk to the East River (54-56)
Chapter 18 Pete’s Apotheosis (56-60)
Chapter 19 “Mag’s Dead!” (60-61)