Writing Techniques in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets

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Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is considered a classic example of American naturalism.

Naturalist philosophy held that people are trapped by their environment and are powerless to change it. Naturalist writers attempt to imitate the language, actions, and thoughts of real people. As much as possible Crane wants us to believe that we are listening to the residents of the Bowery, not reading an author's work.

Drawing from his own experiences in the Bowery, Crane writes about family life, interpersonal relationships, method of settling disputes, and entertainment choices.

He has his characters totally controlled by circumstances. They speak, act, think, and live based on the mores of the slums.

Maggie's suicide is the closest Crane allows any of his characters to come to controlling their own destiny. Even Maggie is forced toward her end by the circumstances of her life. Crane presents the story with little explanation or...

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This section contains 1,656 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Maggie: A Girl of the Streets Study Guide
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