Topics: Literature, Realism, American literature Pages: 4 (1317 words) Published: December 5, 2012
Realism in American literature

The novel "Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane. Is a work of fiction challenging trained English enthusiasts to determine where it fits in; the category of true naturalism or realism. Steven Crains first novel written in 1893 falls after the end of a realist movement starting in 1860 to 1890 this was realism/naturalism in a time when people were ready and wanting stories the common man can relate to. The story starts out in the bowery with a fight indicative of the struggles many were facing being from the middle or lower classes; just one sign of realism. Another good point of realism is expressed thru a vivid telling of the characters, Timmy a rough neck lacking sympathy and having a chip on his shoulder, as well as speaking a dialect of the time and local was expressed clearly in the opening lines A very little boy stood upon a heap of gravel for the honor of Rum Alley. He was throwing stones at howling urchins from Devil's Row who were circling madly about the heap and pelting at him. His infantile countenance was livid with fury. His small body was writhing in the delivery of great, crimson oaths. "Run, Jimmie, run! Dey'll get yehs," screamed a retreating Rum Alley child.

Jimmy is made to be very understandable and the depth of his character is complex yet explained very well in terms of realism. Realists center their attention to a remarkable degree on the immediate, the here and now, the specific action, and the verifiable consequence" (A Handbook to Literature 428). The alcoholic mother is the dysfunctional matriarch in this story and is the cause of much of the problems plaguing the lives of her children by driving them out thru drunken rages and a grave lack of compassion; a person’s actions are the cause, not extraneous forces, like a naturalist would expect you to believe. In this short story the family consisting of, Pete, jimmy, Maggie, tommy,...
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