Miriam Patrick B. Hill American Literature to 1900 17 April 2003
"My thoughts. Well, mine along with others who put it better."
"Life without love is like a tree without blossom and fruit." (Kahlil Gibran). The part of Maggie A Girl of the Streets that I thought was heartbreaking was Tommie's death. I thought that Stephen Crane did not give the reader enough time to become acquainted with the small child. I don't think he should have told us every little detail, but he could have at least let us get to know the boy. Then, Crane just ended his life and didn't even write how the other people reacted. It was as if the child was not even part of the family. I think that Stephen Crane should have told the reader more about Tommie. He might have mentioned who the child was around more; Mary, Maggie, Jimmie, or the father, or perhaps how old the child was. This relates to a book I recently read called Dreadful Sorry. In this book, a girl has memories of a previous life in which a mother has about seven or eight children, and doesn't even see them except for a few minutes once a day. I understand that people might not have had time to be with all of their children, especially if there were many, but, there at least should be some reaction when a child dies.
"If you haven't attained true clear vision, this causes you to lapse into extremes, so that you lose contact with reality." (Zen Master Yuanwu). Maggie does not have a clear vision. First she believes that Pete will take care of her. When Pete indulges her and then throws her out, she begins to lose touch with the reality of her situation. "You can close your eyes to reality but not to memories." (Stanislaw J. Lec, Polish author (1909-1966)). This is another thing about Maggie. She closes out reality, but she cannot cut out the memories of her mother, her family, nor that of Pete. When he did take care of her, and when he turned away from her. "Life is just one damned thing after another." (Elbert Hubbard). I loved how Crane captured the fact that life is not always sugary-sweet. He really gave a good mental picture as to what was happening in these people's lives. He didn't seem to hide anything about the severity of these people's lives.
"The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother." (Theodore M. Hesburgh). This is something else missing from Maggie, Jimmie, and Tommie's life. It is unclear as to whether or not Mary and the father actually loved each other. But with all the fighting going around, you don't leave much room for love.
"The part can never be well unless the whole is well." (Plato). This goes for families as well. If one person, such as Mary, goes off and drinks herself into oblivion, then the family as a whole suffers. Crane uses this a lot during the story. I really enjoyed seeing how he related each family members movements back to the other, all except for Tommie.
"Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing." (Bo Short). This relates back to the family situation. What kind of example did Mary set for her children. She drank, beat the father and her children, and did not work. Watch your thoughts; they become words.

"Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny." (Frank Outlaw). This goes for Mary. She thinks about her husband and children fighting, she speaks those words. Next she takes these words to actions, showing her anger. Then it becomes a habit. Whenever she is angry, she fights. Her character reflects all of this. The police, the neighbors, and even her own children see her as what she really is, a monster.

"Friends have all things in common." (Plato). This quote goes along with exactly what Pete and Jimmie are to each other. After Pete "ruins" Maggie, Jimmie wants nothing to do with him, but in reality they are no better than the other. They share the same situations and have the same hobbies, like drinking, in reality they have everything in common.
"At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet." (Plato). This is just like what happens to Maggie. One touch from Pete and she falls head over heels. She becomes a poet in a sense that she sees Pete in that romantic way. She sees him a chivalrous and polite. Crane uses poetic words when describing how she sees him.
"Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young." (Sir Arthur Wing Pinero (1855-1934)). This applies to all of the characters. Tommie wasn't really loved by his parents, he died young, but probably felt older. Maggie was rushed into adulthood and was shunned by her mother, Pete, and society and died. Jimmie, was also rushed into adulthood and became old and mean in his young life. Mary was a drunkard who was not loved nor loved others. She felt the need to hate everyone and shut them out.