Power And Control In Maggie Essay, Research Paper
Power and Control in Maggie
The universe of Stephen Crane s novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, is a dark, violent topographic point. Peoples curse one another openly and incite battles over junior-grade issues. The intense poorness of the public leads to a feeling of general desperation and creates a deficiency of assurance in each person. Peoples want to experience that they mean something. They want to cognize that their life does non travel unnoticed. They desire power over others lives. The hapless, who are invariably controlled by the rich, yearn for the chance to command their universe. In a typical society these impulses would be satisfied by successful callings and households but in the torn and destitute universe of Maggie people gain power and control merely through force and the moral profanation of others. This thesis will be shown through the combat amongst the kids, the force of the family, and the household s intervention of Maggie s decease.
The childs in the universe of Maggie fight each other for the places of control and power among other kids. The fresh clears with a scene of force. Two different groups of male childs are engaged in a bloody hassle. Crane writes, A really small male child stood upon a pile of crushed rock for the award of Rum Alley. He was throwing rocks at ululating urchins from Devil s Row who were circling frantically about the pile and rain at him ( Crane 3 ) . That the childs are combating for the alleged award of Rum Alley ( Crane 3 ) shows that the childs are seeking to derive a place of power through conflict. If they can wound those who stand in their manner in forepart of everyone else they will gain the regard and, hence, the control and power they are seeking. Donald Pizer explores this thought in his essay, Stephen Crane s Maggie and American Naturalism. Pizer states that the scene quoted above of the male child on top of the stone heap contending with the other childs has what he calls a basic chivalric dramatis personae ( Pizer 188 ) . He writes, The really small male child is a knight combat on his bastion of crushed rock for the award of his gallant pledge to Rum Alley ( Pizer 188 ) . Pizer compares the contending for control and power to mediaeval conflicts in which knights ( who were all from the baronial category ) battled for celebrity and luck ( Pizer 188 ) . A farther scrutiny of the subject of mediaeval conflict is found in Jay Martin s essay Maggie and Satire. Martin points out the platitude found in Maggie when Pete smites a male child on the dorsum of the caput ( Martin 209 ) . The word smite is a antediluvian term used largely in a mediaeval context. Crane has melded a memory of the yesteryear with the violent nowadays to come up with a universe of heroic desperation ( Martin 210 ) . Merely as the knights hoped to derive position among their equals the male childs hope to demo that they are strong and should be feared and respected.
In a typical society the household unit is a safety from the outside universe. Home is a shelter where we receive love and support for others. In the dark universe of Maggie place is another battlefield where wars over power and laterality rein freely. The characters in the fresh battle physical and emotional conflicts with each other. Poverty, intoxicant maltreatment, and moral debasement fuel this combat into great ageless struggles that destroy everyone involved. In the 2nd chapter of Maggie we find an illustration of this dismaying force. Jimmie has been caught by his male parent combat among the other childs and has taken him home. As they walk through the door the female parent exhibits the same behaviour as her boy. Crane writes, As the male parent and kids filed in she peered at them. Eh, what? Been fightin agin, by Gawd! She threw herself upon Jimmie ( Crane 7 ) . In the following paragraph Crane describes the female parent s intervention of the urchin ( Crane 7 ) . The female parent shook him until he rattled ( Crane 7 ) . She so soaks a shred in H2O and scour his lacerated face humor
H it. Jimmie screamed in hurting and tried to writhe his shoulders out of the clasp of the immense weaponries ( Crane 7 ) . The above kind of intervention of the kids is the regulation and non an exclusion. It is an illustration of the parents deriving power and control over their kids through force. John Berryman writes in his essay, Hallucination and Hysteria in Maggie, a good description of the characters in the household. He writes, Self-indulgent, barbarous, self-pitying, none of these people can assist each other ( Berryman 164 ) . Berryman besides points out that [ I ] T is non that they lack moral thoughts but that these thoughts are the kinky 1s common to their conditions weight ( Berryman 164 ) . The kids posses the best of these thoughts while the parents are far below [ the kids s ethical motives ] already ( Berryman 164 ) . Charles Child Walcutt remarks on the scene in his essay, Hallucination and Hysteria in Maggie. He writes, In stating this narrative, Crane fuses elements of poorness, ignorance, and intolerance in a context of force and inhuman treatment to make a bloodcurdling universe hesitating between hallucination and craze ( Walcutt 165 ) . He farther explains a twosome paragraphs down stating, A dominant thought that grows from this landscape of craze is that these people are victimized by their thoughts of moral properness which are so absolutely unsuitable to their lives that they constitute a societal insanity ( Walcutt 166 ) . In a normal family the parents have control through love and regard. In the universe of Maggie the parent s merely manner of acquiring power and control over their kids is through intense physical and emotional destructiveness.
The last chapter of the book, which inside informations the household s response to Maggie s self-destruction, shows the characters mourning over her decease. But the scene is more like a phase act than a funeral. The characters are playing for an audience to seek to demo that they are non like their misguided ( Crane 57 ) relation Maggie. They are virtues people who can non understand why Maggie would take such a drastic action as self-destruction. The female parent, after hearing of Maggie s decease, laments what a ter ble affliction is a disobed ent chil ( Crane 57 ) . They portray Maggie as a atrocious individual. A individual afflicted ( Crane 57 ) with bad moral values and necessitating forgiveness from everyone. The household does this so that others can see that they are good people who deserve regard. The Johnson s want the power of others blessing and the control that that blessing will convey. They achieve this by portraying Maggie as a atrocious person. Janet Overmyer in her essay, The Structure of Crane s Maggie, writes of the theatre-like ambiance of the novel. She writes, The concluding, distastefully dry remark of Maggie s mother- I ll fergive her! – would non hold been uttered at all but for the neighbours nudging. As they repeatedly ask if the female parent will forgive, she senses that it would be a all right gesture to do; it would do her out a sufferer ( Overmyer 185 ) . Maggie s female parent wants the power and control that being a sufferer encompasses.
Maggie is a powerful work of fiction. It sets us in a desolate and hopeless universe. But the universe that it creates is closer to world than some would wish to believe. The characters in the book are non born with immoralities in their psyches. They are shaped by their environment merely every bit much as everyone else that has of all time lived. It merely so happens that the environment around them is so oppressively black that it affects them in a negative manner. This environment leads people to experience unequal and unimportant. The characters in Maggie want to hold an component of control and power in their lives. But in their horrifying universe they must utilize force and the moral devastation of others to derive that power and control. This is shown through the combat amongst the kids, the force of the family, and the household s intervention of Maggie s decease.