Role Of Determinism In Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl Of The Streets

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Stephen Crane’s “Maggie: A Girl of the Streets” provides an account of the fictional life of Maggie, a young, impoverished Irish-American girl living with her family in New York City. Throughout the novella, Maggie’s feeble ambitions to escape her abusive home life are exhibited, as are the tragic consequences of her noble intentions. It seems evident that Crane uses Maggie’s endeavors as a vehicle for determinism, an integral part of the Naturalist literary period that is defined as the philosophical “belief that all events are caused by things that happened before them and that people have no real ability to make choices or control what happens” (“Determinism”). Maggie’s romanticized view of the world and her desperate attempts at exercising …show more content…
Despite being seemingly contradictory, free will and determinism can be seen almost as a cause and effect. When an individual attempts to change his or her life, determinism steps in, using the person’s decision as a tool to fulfill whatever fate they are meant to have. So, while it may seem confusing or impossible that determinism and free will can even exist together, let alone depend upon one another, it is actually an entirely coherent notion. Maggie’s heartbreaking story allows Stephen Crane to give countless examples of human beings attempting to change their situations while fighting against the forces of determinism. By doing this, he shows that the two rely on one another to properly function. In “Maggie: A Girl of the Streets,” the protagonist’s meager attempts at exercising free will ultimately do nothing more than enable her victimization through determinism, which suggests that Crane is attempting to show that determinism is must act upon the free will of human beings to properly