Reading Guide Book Discussion Hour: U. S. History Rogers 2 nd Qtr. Project Date: Book Discussion Maggie: a girl of the streets By Stephen Crane



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Name: Reading Guide – Book Discussion

Hour: U.S. History - Rogers – 2nd Qtr. Project

Date: Book Discussion ___________________

Maggie: A girl of the streets

By Stephen Crane



  1. Examine the ways in which Crane uses atmosphere to create a sense of the oppression of poverty. Cite page number.




Johnson House

The Streets

Places of Business









2. Favorite Quote: page and why?

3. Trace the development of the character of Maggie from beginning to end. Is she a dynamic character (does she change)? Use quotes and cite page numbers

4. Examine the relationship between Mrs. and Mr. Johnson. How does Crane portray the power relationship between them?

5. Look at the support characters in the novel, i.e., the old beggar woman or the women who live in the Johnson’s tenement house, and examine their role in filling out the social world of the slums of New York.

6. Does Crane reject or endorse the sexual double standard which allows men like Jimmie to impregnate and then abandon women while at the same time condemning his sister to life on the streets for sexual activity?

7. What happens to Maggie in the end? Does she commit suicide or is she murdered? What leads you to this conclusion?

8. Respond to the last paragraph.


  1. Your thoughts and reflections on the entire book.

After reading Maggie, read and examine excerpts from Jacob Riis’, How the Other Half Lives. http://www.yale.edu/amstud/inforev/riis/title.html and http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/wilson/sfeature/sf_poverty.html



http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/mdbquery.html Put Riis in the search field and make sure to change the pull down menu to "search in author/creator field."
Focus on the text and photos from the following:
Introduction

Chapter 1 – Genesis of the Tenement

Chapter 14 – The Common Herd

Chapter 15 – The Problem of the Children




  1. Discuss the main causes of poverty in New York City in the late 1800s?



  1. Why didn’t immigrants just “move out”? Discuss reasons they were imprisoned in the tenements.



  1. Examine the photos and choose three to compare and contrast to the story of Maggie. Where do you see Maggie or any of the other Crane’s fictional characters in Jacob Riis’ journalistic photos? (cite the page number)




  1. What photo “speaks” to you and what does it “say”? (cite page number)



  1. Contemporary writers, journalists and photographers tell these same stories today. Choose a location of extreme poverty from anywhere in the world and examine the reasons behind that poverty. How are the causes of poverty in 1890 the same and how are they different than today?


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