Reflect back on our novella, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets. Please answer these questions in paragraph format.
1. Look back at your background packet and consider the themes of this novella: poverty and hypocrisy. How are these themes illustrated in the novella through the characters and plot? Explain in a paragraph of 12-15 sentences. Give specific examples from the text to support your answers.
2. In your opinion, who was the most important character in this novella? Why? Respond in a paragraph of 8-10 sentences.
3. What role does religion play in this novella? How do the various characters use religious language and approach religious themes? How does the narrator seem to feel about organized religion? Give examples from the novella to support your answer. Respond in a paragraph of 8-12 sentences.
4. Obviously, the characters in this novel speak in the dialect of lower Manhattan, and Crane makes an attempt to preserve this dialect. Think about the use of dialect in the novel: How does it make the reader feel about the characters? How is it intended to make the reader feel? Think especially about the relationship between how the characters sound and what they are saying.
5. Crane’s novella Maggie: A Girl of the Street raises important questions about the capacity of people to be responsible for their own deeds. Is Maggie to blame for her descent into prostitution? Is Jimmie to blame for his violence, brutishness, and casual cruelty? Or must we point the finger at the social forces and diseases that brought them to the brink of degradation (poverty, coercive capitalism, lack of education, alcoholism)? How does this book steer a path between the two extremes of absolute personal responsibility and entirely contingent morality? Or does it avoid choosing a compromise position, and instead throw itself behind the position that social circumstance, not personal choice, is to blame for Maggie’s tragedy? Respond in a paragraph of 12-15 sentences.
6. Color plays a crucial role in setting the symbolic and emotional overtones in Maggie. Most obviously, there are the repeated references to varying shades of red when describing Mary; it seems that her face is always “crimson” or “fervent red. . . turned almost to purple.” What are the symbolic functions of the color red in this novel? Are there any other colors that Crane uses to symbolic or emotional effect? How? Where? Explain in a paragraph of 8-12 sentences.