Maggiespeaks a Different LanguageInthis paper I’m going to discuss the language approached by Stephen Crane in hiswork, Maggie: A girl of the Streets and the character of Maggie and how thelanguage decided her life. I believe it is important to get a look upon thelanguage and the power of the word and the way in which affects the maincharacter, Maggie. It also helps with the understanding of the text better andthe character and why did Stephen Crane choose to use this kind of specificlanguage, showing us this dialect and not just simply use the normalvocabulary.First,I’m going to talk about Realism and Naturalism in order to prove my point andthen continue my paper with ideas regarding the language.
Realism is a literarymovement which appeared in the 18th-19th century alongwith jurnalism. They share common features and techniques and that is why thefocus upon reality in this book is quite stunning. Realist writers are all about digging into details,characters’ psychology ,motivations, feelings and aims.
Another important trait of realism is that of describing , analyzingand dramatizing personality. These features of realism help us understand thatcharacter’s psychology , ideas, ideals and aims, because it is all aboutunderstanding the life itself. The book is written in a realistic andnaturalist manner, so that it could be verry accessible to all kinds of people.Crane uses simple ideas in order to pull out a world with wrong ideas andmistakes which people make. ( http://classic-literature.yoexpert.
com/genres-themes-and-topics/what-are-the-features-of-realism-in-fiction-32058.html )Naturalism focuses upon the impact of the environmentand also focuses upon the character’s fate. This can be well applied to thisbook and also upon the characters which revolve around Maggie. In this darkbackground, the characters appear both as victims and as corrupted animals.Crane wanted to underline the idea that the environment in which you live incan affect your life, behaviour, education and also to describe a contemporaryproblem, that in the ghetto are people with no identity and just try to survivethis battle of life. As it shall be seen, Maggie, who at the beginning appearsas a strong child, taking care of her little brother, ends up in a tragical waybecause she lacks power to survive this raw reality. Crane’s dauntingportrayal of a New York ghetto makes Maggie relevant to contemporary readers not only as aclassic work of American literature but also as a social commentary. ( https://literaryyard.
com/2013/06/26/the-villainous-ghetto-the-force-of-naturalism-in-stephen-cranes-maggie/ ) It is important to discover the language and why didCrane choose this idea, to write in a dialect and not adapting the language tothe literary one. As a book of realism, the author wants to make sure that itresemblances the reality one to one, even adapting the language to Irishdialect. The language may seem hard to understand from the first few pages ofthe book, it might sound weird and leave you with the impression that you can’tunderstand a thing. This is a good sign that the author succeeded in bringingyou into his world that he created it. If a person was put in the situation toarrive in a new place where people would talk like this, although he hasenglish as his first language, he would be confused too and would need sometime to get along with the environment. The language has a great impact in this book. Such abig impact that it can end a life and this is well seen in the ending of thebook.
As I said before, the characters need to be strong to survive in thisenvironment. Maggie, a girl who is said to have “blossomed in a mud puddle” ( Crane 22) dies because she couldn’t face theworld. She was described in the beginning to be a careful sister. She lookedafter her brothers, helping them, always talked nicely, in spite of the worldaround her. At her little brother’s funeral, she stole a flower in order tofulfill the ceremonial. She, from all of the characters, had a differentperspective upon life. She worked in a factory, different from her mother, adrunk and mean mother, or from her father.
Her family was aggressive, but shewas not. Maggie was like a innocent flower in a field full of monsters. Aftershe faced love, she became more creative, tried to repair the aspect of herhome but without success, starts to believe in love and goes with Pete. Fromhere, everything gets ruined. She gets admonished by her hypocrite mother andneighbours giving her the next trauma of her life. The neighbour whose nameisn’t even mentioned might indicate the fact that living the life in a ghetto,takes away even your identity and that the words of a ” no-name” can easily affect someone, especially someonewhose ideas and ideals go beyond this ghetto and the poor life.
(https://www.jstor.org/stable/2710134 )The words used by hermother are one of the toughest for that period.
This literary movement doesn’t want tohide the truth about real life or to add some beauty in realist works. Realistwriters describe the problems of the society, the unexceptional events for manybut interesting for lower and middle-class. The words that her mother uses,represent the hypocrisy, uneducated life of a ghetto which pretends at the endto act as a merely pure punished people without having any guild. We can seethat at the end of the book, when after Maggie’s mother insults her and cursesher, Maggie dies and in the end, her mother suffers and is acting like she losteverything she had. After this tragic event, everybody feels pitty for Maggieand leave the impression that she didn’t deserve it .
Maggie speaks another language by being part ofanother world. She belonged somewhere else better, somewhere where she couldhave evolved beautifully and could have had a beautiful future. By adding this contrast between a ghetto whichsteals identities, feelings, moralities, Crane underlines the fact that we candestroy ourselves because we cannot recognise what kind of strength lies ineach one of us. Most critics believethat “Cranereveals quite strikingly his own psychological involvement in his literaryworks” ( Gullason 148) .
This explains the fact that he chose a victim, aninnocent one to murder, exactly as in real life, because the purest do notsurvive long in this world. They do not have this kind of evil which could makethem more powerful. It is well known that a human is made from both evil andgood. This things should be in balance in order to be a strong human being, tolast as much as you can. We can put inbalance, for example, Jimmie.
Ever since the beginning of the book, he is seenin a scene where he fights, he is a fighter. He could get over the shame theMaggie brought home and could end his friendship with Pete and it didn’t affecthim. When his parents were in a quarrel, he knew he had to run away to bepowerful, he went to a neighbour who offered him a place while his parents werefighting. His life in general was full of fights, but he was strong enough topass the obstacles in his way, differently of his sister which after a roughfight with her mother her life ended. (https://www.kibin.com/essay-examples/an-analysis-of-maggie-a-girl-of-the-streets-by-stephen-crane-oXJ5HseE) There is no wonder thatthe publishers were avoiding to publish this book as it does have a vulgar andshocking vocabulary for that time.
(https://www.kibin.com/essay-examples/an-analysis-of-maggie-a-girl-of-the-streets-by-stephen-crane-oXJ5HseE )In this paper Ipresented the language that Crane used and how it affected the main character,Maggie, by detailing some moments of the book and also bringing up somearguments of a reader. This book comes up, after a research, as a shocking andsad exposure of reality which should give us something to think about becausethis had such a great impact upon a writer that he had to put these feelings inpaper and publish them, although people consider it to be too cruel for thistime. I find his book as being impressive as well as the characters who bringthe story to life. As I said in the beginning, realism tries to bring thereader so close to the reality while using journalistic methods, as is the caseof detail which brings a more vivid background in the story and also thisspecific language of the characters which clearly gives a note of originalityto the book. It is not easy to describe this well such a dialect and even hearthe voices of the characters in the same tone. I believe that Crane emphasizedvery well the reality that he had created in his story and included everyfeature of Naturalism and Realism.