speaks a Different LanguageIn
this paper I’m going to discuss the language approached by Stephen Crane in his
work, Maggie: A girl of the Streets  and the character of Maggie and how the
language decided her life. I believe it is important to get a look upon the
language and the power of the word and the way in which affects the main
character, Maggie. It also helps with the understanding of the text better and
the character and why did Stephen Crane choose to use this kind of specific
language, showing us this dialect and not just simply use the normal
I’m going to talk about Realism and Naturalism in order to prove my point and
then continue my paper with ideas regarding the language. Realism is a literary
movement which appeared in the 18th-19th century along
with jurnalism. They share common features and techniques and that is why the
focus 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 , analyzing
and dramatizing personality. These features of realism help us understand that
character’s psychology , ideas, ideals and aims, because it is all about
understanding the life itself. The book is written in a realistic and
naturalist 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 and
mistakes which people make.  ( )Naturalism focuses upon the impact of the environment
and also focuses upon the character’s fate. This can be well applied to this
book and also upon the characters which revolve around Maggie. In this dark
background, the characters appear both as victims and as corrupted animals.
Crane wanted to underline the idea that the environment in which you live in
can affect your life, behaviour, education and also to describe a contemporary
problem, that in the ghetto are people with no identity and just try to survive
this battle of life. As it shall be seen, Maggie, who at the beginning appears
as a strong child, taking care of her little brother, ends up in a tragical way
because she lacks power to survive this raw reality. Crane’s daunting
portrayal of a New York ghetto makes Maggie relevant to contemporary readers not only as a
classic work of American literature but also as a social commentary. ( ) It is important to discover the language and why did
Crane choose this idea, to write in a dialect and not adapting the language to
the literary one. As a book of realism, the author wants to make sure that it
resemblances the reality one to one, even adapting the language to Irish
dialect. The language may seem hard to understand from the first few pages of
the book, it might sound weird and leave you with the impression that you can’t
understand a thing. This is a good sign that the author succeeded in bringing
you into his world that he created it. If a person was put in the situation to
arrive in a new place where people would talk like this, although he has
english as his first language, he would be confused too and would need some
time to get along with the environment. The language has a great impact in this book. Such a
big impact that it can end a life and this is well seen in the ending of the
book. As I said before, the characters need to be strong to survive in this
environment. Maggie, a girl who is said to have ”
blossomed in a mud puddle” ( Crane 22) dies because she couldn’t face the
world. She was described in the beginning to be a careful sister. She looked
after her brothers, helping them, always talked nicely, in spite of the world
around her. At her little brother’s funeral, she stole a flower in order to
fulfill the ceremonial. She, from all of the characters, had a different
perspective upon life. She worked in a factory, different from her mother, a
drunk and mean mother, or from her father. Her family was aggressive, but she
was not. Maggie was like a innocent flower in a field full of monsters. After
she faced love, she became more creative, tried to repair the aspect of her
home but without success, starts to believe in love and goes with Pete. From
here, everything gets ruined. She gets admonished by her hypocrite mother and
neighbours giving her the next trauma of her life. The neighbour whose name
isn’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 someone
whose ideas and ideals go beyond this ghetto and the poor life. ( )The words used by her
mother are one of the toughest for that period. This literary movement doesn’t want to
hide the truth about real life or to add some beauty in realist works. Realist
writers describe the problems of the society, the unexceptional events for many
but interesting for lower and middle-class. The words that her mother uses,
represent the hypocrisy, uneducated life of a ghetto which pretends at the end
to act as a merely pure punished people without having any guild. We can see
that at the end of the book, when after Maggie’s mother insults her and curses
her, Maggie dies and in the end, her mother suffers and is acting like she lost
everything she had. After this tragic event, everybody feels pitty for Maggie
and leave the impression that she didn’t deserve it . Maggie speaks another language by being part of
another world. She belonged somewhere else better, somewhere where she could
have evolved beautifully and could have had a beautiful future. By  adding this contrast between a ghetto which
steals identities, feelings, moralities, Crane underlines the fact that we can
destroy ourselves because we cannot recognise what kind of strength lies in
each one of us.  Most critics believe
that “Crane
reveals quite strikingly his own psychological involvement in his literary
works” ( Gullason 148) . This explains the fact that he chose a victim, an
innocent one to murder, exactly as in real life, because the purest do not
survive long in this world. They do not have this kind of evil which could make
them more powerful. It is well known that a human is made from both evil and
good. This things should be in balance in order to be a strong human being, to
last as much as you can.  We can put in
balance, for example, Jimmie. Ever since the beginning of the book, he is seen
in a scene where he fights, he is a fighter. He could get over the shame the
Maggie brought home and could end his friendship with Pete and it didn’t affect
him. When his parents were in a quarrel, he knew he had to run away to be
powerful, he went to a neighbour who offered him a place while his parents were
fighting. His life in general was full of fights, but he was strong enough to
pass the obstacles in his way, differently of his sister which after a rough
fight with her mother her life ended. ( There is no wonder that
the publishers were avoiding to publish this book as it does have a vulgar and
shocking vocabulary for that time. ( )

In this paper I
presented the language that Crane used and how it affected the main character,
Maggie, by detailing some moments of the book and also bringing up some
arguments of a reader. This book comes up, after a research, as a shocking and
sad exposure of reality which should give us something to think about because
this had such a great impact upon a writer that he had to put these feelings in
paper and publish them, although people consider it to be too cruel for this
time. I find his book as being impressive as well as the characters who bring
the story to life. As I said in the beginning, realism tries to bring the
reader so close to the reality while using journalistic methods, as is the case
of detail which brings a more vivid background in the story and also this
specific language of the characters which clearly gives a note of originality
to the book. It is not easy to describe this well such a dialect and even hear
the voices of the characters in the same tone. I believe that Crane emphasized
very well the reality that he had created in his story and included every
feature of Naturalism and Realism.

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