Maggie: A girl of the Streets as an Exemplar of Literary Naturalism Author: Stephen Crane Title: Maggie: A girl of the Streets

Essay by dimi19College, UndergraduateA+, December 2003

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Stephen Crane's interpretations of life are spawned from his own opinions of the world. These opinions correspond with naturalistic train of thought. He makes use of an observation technique to show the natural law of the universe: One can either accept the laws determining social order or become their victim. In the Novella Maggie: A girl of the Streets, Maggie is used as a medium to paint the picture of the devastating consequences that befall one who attempts to violate this unspoken law, breaching the social and economic boundaries set upon them at birth. Crane's views of the poor allow him to create his characters as shells absent of conscious thought, leaving them susceptible to the ills of their environment.

Crane's writings depict what he believes are the norms of the world. He molds himself after the dying form of realism but finds himself often giving naturalistic qualities to his work.

Such is evident in this literary work. Though this example of Crane's work is realistic, offering an accurate, detailed, unembellished depiction of life, it is written within a frame that can only be deemed as naturalistic. These shifts in writing form leave the reader wondering from which perspective did Crane approached the story, that of realist or naturalist; evidence supports that of the latter more than that of the prior.

Naturalism is synonymous with characters being pitted against forces that are beyond their control. The naturalists of Crane's day "naturalized historical process," making it inevitable. They believed that social circumstances were natural and hence unavoidable. These naturalists created the effect without necessarily elaborating on the cause. Crane supports these factors of naturalism, when he bestows upon Maggie the initiative to venture beyond what she was born into without giving the reason as to why she alone is...