The Tragedy of The Girl
On the basic level The Girl can simply be summarized as follows: The Girl is a simple country girl who travels to St. Paul to find work at the German Village, a bootleg joint run by Belle, Hoinck, and Ack. She falls in love with Butch, an unemployed former baseball player who occasionally works as a scab during strikes. She quickly becomes pregnant by Butch and resists the attempts of Butch and others to provide an abortion. Gantz, a gangster to whom Belle, Hoinck, and Ack pay protection for the German Village, pulls them all together for a heist on a bank. The heist goes awry when Gantz shoots Ack and Hoinck in order to escape with all the money; Butch shoots him and, while dying, Gantz shoots Butch. Although Butch makes it to the girl in the getaway car, he dies later that same day, and she is forced to abandon him near a cornfield in Iowa. The fortunes of Belle, The Girl, Amelia (a Workers Alliance leader), and their friend Clara (a prostitute) take a turn for the worse after the robbery. Clara is physically ill and stressed by hardship; the relief workers take her for electric shock treatments, which eventually kill her. The girl, trying to get enough relief to nurture her pregnancy, is betrayed by relief workers who plan to sterilize her after the birth of her baby; she is briefly incarcerated in a relief maternity ward, but Amelia helps her get out. The end of the novel brings the triumphant birth of the girl's baby, who is named Clara. But to understand the tragedy that plaquesThe Girl, you must dig deeper. Set in the years of the Depression, in the speakeasies and among prostitutes who had no other choice but to take up sex work, the story of The Girl unravels itself .We’re told that The Girl, innocent, is forced to work among bootleggers, down and out of job men looking for a drink or a working woman to drown their helplessness, strike busters, wise women who have been through hell (Le Sueur, 1-5). She comes into her own in the...
Cited: Le Sueur, Meridel. The Girl. 2nd ed. Albuquerque, NM: West End Press, 2006. Print.
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