Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Maggie: A Girl of the Streets Stephen Crane was known as the "herald" of the twentieth-century revolution in literature. Among famous works such as, The Red Badge of Courage and "War Is Kind," he wrote the incredible, heartfelt story of Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. Written in 1893, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets was the first completely naturalistic novel. Previously, novels had been written about the "level of goodness" of man. If a man was successful, it was due to good character. This story was the first to depict the impact of the environment and the nature of surroundings to human existence.

Crane, a natural born writer, began his career working on a newspaper team for the Detroit Free Press. He was an excellent writer and newspaper work seemed quite effortless for him. However, he experienced professional obstacles and hardships during the beginning of his career. He felt uneasy about reporting factual information and continuing his job on a routine basis.

The first version of Maggie: A Girl of the Streets went unnoticed at first until Hamlin Garland, another well known author, came across the novel. He assisted Crane in the publication process of his story, which in turn, led him to the beginning of his professional career as a writer. The story of Maggie is not a beautiful, romantic, happy-go-lucky story about a prince coming to steal the peasant girl away from ruins, and turn her into a princess. It is a gruesome, horrible glimpse of what life was like on the streets of the New York slums back in the late 1800's. This story precisely tells the tale of a young girl who has to face her life in an environment which will force her to turn back the other way. Stephen Crane is highly...