Maggie: A Girl of the Streets Essay

Submitted By Xtori39
Words: 628
Pages: 3

Sympathetic characters are characters in a novel, book, or short story that appeal to the audience in a way that we can identify with their misfortunes but at the same time, despite their shortcomings, still have high hopes for them in the end. In the short story, “Maggie: A Girl of the Streets,” by Stephen Crane, Maggie, the protagonist, is the perfect example of an individual whom readers root for even though we fully understand what type of circumstances she’s in. She may seem like the underdog but that is exactly why audiences might want to support her character, because in many cases the underdog does end up succeeding. In the opening of the story, readers are being subjected to a scene filled with violence and we begin to acknowledge that the setting in which the story takes place is not ideal. Everyone lives in borderline poverty and tries hard to survive in the neighborhood. Maggie’s parents are always drunk and fighting, her mother is abusive, and her brother, Jimmie, is constantly starting problems with kids on the streets. However, Maggie seems to be the only one in her family trying to do the right thing, staying home, staying away from trouble, and taking care of her younger brother. Audiences at this point are already hoping the best for her character because she seems innocent and naïve compared to the all the craziness around her. As the story progresses, Crane writes, “The girl, Maggie, blossomed in a mud puddle. She grew to be a most rare and wonderful production of a tenement district, a pretty girl,” (956). This quote makes readers feel as if she could be an exception, if Maggie was able to grow up into a beautiful young woman even in her circumstances, then maybe she could make it out of the neighborhood and become something of herself. Audiences have high hopes for her, thus, making them feel sympathetic towards her character. Readers begin to be even more hopeful when she meets Pete. He takes her to an extravagant theater where she becomes acquainted with a luxurious lifestyle. A beautiful girl is fitting to be in a grand theater, surrounded by sophisticated men and women, with the man that she likes. Even though Maggie’s family disapproves, audiences do hope that her defiance was the right thing to do and that she will have a better life because of it. However, Maggie is one underdog