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JT
05-24-2005, 06:03 PM
I just finished reading the 'Maggie' story. I found it to be very dark and existential. It catapulted me back to the industrial revolution were heredity and environment bond and gagged our characters. Crane's social criticism was right on, he offers us no room for romantic themes, only the “real”-and real was rough, bruised and drunk. It is not a story that should be read to hastily, each word seems carefully placed to impact the reader with the severity of life during the late 1800’s, especially for women.

bookluvr
10-31-2006, 07:55 PM
I just finished reading the 'Maggie' story. I found it to be very dark and existential. It catapulted me back to the industrial revolution were heredity and environment bond and gagged our characters. Crane's social criticism was right on, he offers us no room for romantic themes, only the “real”-and real was rough, bruised and drunk. It is not a story that should be read to hastily, each word seems carefully placed to impact the reader with the severity of life during the late 1800’s, especially for women.

Very well said.....however, do you really think that Crane's theme was the severity of 19th century life? If Crane was attempting to show us that he would have to bring more emotions into play. In such a case it would HAVE to have some psychological aspects: we would have to be able to FEEL what Maggie was feeling to understand "severity".

It seems to me that Crane takes a much more Darwinist view; an example of 'survival of the fittest'. The point of view is much too indifferent for Crane to want his readers to sympathize with Maggie.

He also seems to be hinting that you have to learn to live with who you are, that the more you try to pull yourself up you only give yourself farther to fall. Look at the characters in Maggie: Maggie tried to get a better life via Pete, Mary tried to get a better life via marriage, Jimmie tried to get a better life via a job, and Pete tried to get a better life via the company he kept. At the end of the book where are they? Maggie committed suicide, Mary is a hopelessly drunk widow, Jimmie is an abusive drunkard, and Pete has just been ditched by Nellie & the other girls. Depressing???!


Please, share your thoughts on other themes!

RJbibliophil
03-31-2008, 07:18 PM
Although the novella is very realistic, Maggie is shown to have hopes and dreams for a better life. I did sympathize with Maggie as well as several of the other characters.

Perhaps Crane is pointing out the errors of this impoverished lifestyle, that there is no hope for these lowly beasts because none will raise them out of poverty.