Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets

Rate this book
In 1892 Stephen Crane (1871-1900) published Maggie, Girl of the Streets at his own expense. Considered at the time to be immature, it was a failure. Since that time it has come to be considered one of the earliest American realistic novels. Maggie is the story of a pretty child of the Bowery which is written with the same intensity and vivid scenes of his masterpiece -- The Red Badge of Courage. In her short life, Maggie "blossomed in a mud puddle", was driven to prostitution, and died by her own hand while still a teenager.

Crane, who worked as a free lance reporter, was in many ways addicted to the low life of the cities. He died at the age of 29.

92 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1893

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Stephen Crane

1,852 books689 followers
Stephen Crane (1871-1900) was an American novelist, poet and journalist, best known for the novel, The Red Badge of Courage. That work introduced the reading world to Crane's striking prose, a mix of impressionism, naturalism and symbolism. He died at age 28 in Badenweiler, Baden, Germany.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author by this name in the Goodreads database.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,196 (13%)
4 stars
2,452 (28%)
3 stars
3,210 (37%)
2 stars
1,288 (15%)
1 star
406 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 517 reviews
Profile Image for Amit Mishra.
234 reviews671 followers
July 9, 2019
The novel sets in the Bowery area of New York City, It describes the sordid and almost hopeless existence of Maggie Johnson. As children, she and her brothers are alternately neglected and abused by their drunken parents, and her baby brother Tommie dies as a result of this mistreatment.
Profile Image for Alex.
1,419 reviews4,497 followers
March 19, 2021
What men love is sluts. Show a man a poor innocent pretty young girl forced by circumstance or evil into prostitution and he cannot wait to start sighing and what-a-pitying and that-poor-waifing and but-what-was-she-wearinging and it's liable to get pretty maudlin in here by the time she dies. (Wait, she dies? Of course she dies.)

This one, though, is special: this is a landmark in the genre of young and corrupted women, or anyway of realistic novels. It was written in 1892 by Stephen Crane, whom you know from his book Red Badge of Courage, which you read in ninth grade for some reason. Maggie was his first novel, and it's a landmark because, as opposed to, say, Moby-Dick, it's about real people who do real things, and specifically Crane is trying to show how Maggie's environment - her poverty and her alcoholic, abusive family - left her on the highway to degradation with no exits. Which, again, like, that's a noble idea but can no one think of any way to make that point that doesn't involve prostitution?

Give Crane credit, he did his research: his life partner was a for-real brothel madam. He caused a scandal by appearing in court to defend a different prostitute. But you won't get any of that compassion from this book, which presents all its doomed and uneducated characters with a curious load of sarcasm and contempt. They do things like have a dim idea it perhaps "wasn't common courtesy for a friend to come to one's house and ruin one's sister." It may be a landmark, but in the pantheon of Slut Literature there's more sympathy in Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders or Eliza Haywood's Love in Excess, both written almost 200 years earlier, and for that matter in Fanny Hill which is actual porn.

Stephen Crane is a great writer, in his way. He's a great describer of things. The opening to Red Badge of Courage is incredibly powerful. His short story Open Water, based on his own experience of getting shipwrecked and stranded in a rowboat for 30 hours, is basically perfect. But Crane more or less sucks at people: he can't do character arcs and he has no feel for psychology. That makes Maggie, where the whole goal is to describe how a nice person could end up a prostitute, basically a lost cause. The theory here is called naturalism - that idea that one's environment determines one's character - and this is the first American example of it. It's sortof a subgenre of realism, and it was defined by the mighty French author Emile Zola, and once you start comparing Crane to Zola...Crane looks like a shabby slut indeed. Of course - growing up amongst metaphor warriors like Nathaniel Hawthorne, what chance did he have?
Profile Image for Jen Knox.
Author 25 books478 followers
August 4, 2010
This book is a treasure, as much for the story of Crane's trying to get it published as for the story itself. I am always drawn to authors' first books. There's often an energy there lost in latter books. The energy and intensity of this story made gave it a momentum that wasn't lost on The Red Badge of Courage but was toned down. I admire the raw honesty of the prose here; there's something alive in it that refuses to be toned down for the audience's sake.

Profile Image for Toby.
836 reviews332 followers
December 11, 2014
This tiny novella, this "shocking portrait" of working class life, might win points for its approach towards capturing the dialect and mileau of the time and place but the overall feeling I took from it was not a call to understand the people that were trodden underfoot by the educated classes but more a sense of humouous observation, almost like these drunks and whores, these scoundrels and brutes are a human zoo fit only for ogling from afar by their betters. There's a fine line between capturing mileau and condescending at how other it all is and I think Crane crosses it very early on with his relentless "attention to detail" and purposeful fatalism. No, I cannot look at this from the point of view of his contemporaries I'm afraid, my jaded educated 21st Century eyes are all I have to lead me in this instance.
Profile Image for P.E..
779 reviews558 followers
December 2, 2019
A fine if grievous overview of squalid Bowery and its way of life... The story stands out as resolutely immersive to say the least!

Some comparison may be drawn between this one and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, as both yield naturalistic-friendly contents and gloomy depictions of human misery.

Matching Soundtrack :
Alabama Song - The Doors
May 19, 2021
I wasn't sure how I was going to rate this one ; I can't apply my usual criteria because, while I didn't exactly enjoy it, I have to respect what it does and says as a classic work of literature.

Maggie Johnson, the ostensible protagonist in Stephen Crane’s controversial 1893 novella, exists not “for [her] own sake" (Enlo) but as a pastiche of female functions. For her lover she is a challenge and a conquest. She is an emblem of her mother’s authority and of her brother’s credibility. She is a repository for male desire, a source of carnal pleasure whose sexuality is not her own.

Maggie functions to delineate manifestations of gendered utility, even as she exemplifies the consequences of their forfeiture. Crane illustrates the plight of womanhood in the context of a problematic milieu: in the bowery, womanhood is a dangerous affliction. Thus, female utility is the fundamental difference between girls who disappear and women who survive.

Rather than get into naturalism as a genre and philosophy, I'm going to foreground gender instead.

The first thing I want to address is the relationship between gender binaries, double standards, and Maggie’s figurative, then literal, disappearance. It becomes very clear, very quickly, that utility is a currency which females exchange for survival; Maggie’s fatal descent into superfluity is a consequence of a bankruptcy that is uniquely female.
The young female characters in Crane’s novella operate in a social microcosm wherein Attractiveness, dutifulness, domesticity, or carnal talent can be redeemed for familial or masculine shelter.

That said, I Wouldn’t go so far as to call this a didactic treatise on proper behavior, not even a thinly veiled one. Crane’s bowery is no place for feminist or hegemonic precepts. More specifically, Maggie doesn’t really function to frighten bad little girls into staying good ones. Her story isn't really even meant to castigate patriarchy, not exactly. What Crane is doing is chronicling, rather dispassionately, the experiences of women operating in a misogynist, kill or be killed society.
He isn’t telling all women everywhere to fall back and let men guide, direct, and maintain them, nor does he advocate for or introduce new feminist precepts into the conversation. He isn't using Maggie to demonstrate that all women are dirty whores who'd live longer if they did what men said or, as some have argued, charging men with the deaths of Maggies everywhere.

He is, however,saying that women, essentially, worked harder to survive than men, especially if they were of the working class. After all, they didn't get to sit back, pop out kids, or eat, shop, or vacation on a patriarch’s dime. Unlike their wealthier counterparts, these women were *always* employed and on the clock.

And what jobs were available? Well, women could make a decent living remaining loyal to or reflecting positively on their families, even toxic ones like Maggie’s. They could do quite well as prostitutes. They could capture and maintain the interest of powerful, dangerous and, most importantly, wealthy men.

Bottom line, to survive in Maggie’s society, a woman needed to relinquish everything about herself that wasn’t useful to or pleasing to someone else. Those who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, often wound up drowning in the “mud puddle” that was “rum Alley” (Crane).

The problem, Crane’s novella argues, is that Women who became objects of sexual utility not only lost their appeal but also contracted a contagious shame. These women were of no value to their families because their behaviors were regarded as indicative of poor parenting. Families intent on maintaining the appearance of respectability would almost always cast them out.

Again, I’d argue that the novella is a journalistic endeavor, one intended to shed light on the fait of girls and women who occupied the lower rungs of late 19th century American society.

The gist of Crane’s report is that Life in the bowery sucked hard for men but even harder for women ;this was an unfortunate, objective reality that could not and should not be ignored.

Now, anyone who knows me knows how I feel about mysterious endings, especially ones that involve the ultimate fate of the protagonist. Again, I understand why Crane does this, even as I stamp my feet and scream at not being told what really became of Maggie.
Ultimately, this is an interesting, if not necessarily fun or exciting, read. I give it a grudging four stars.
Profile Image for Dagio_maya .
933 reviews280 followers
July 7, 2021
★★★ e ½

Maggie ragazza di strada è l’esordio letterario di Stephen Crane, scrittore e giornalista statunitense che morì giovane (1871-1900).
Il breve romanzo fu pubblicato per la prima volta nel 1893 ed è indicato come la prima opera del Realismo americano.

Fin dalle prime righe si è catapultati in storia di violenza fisica e psicologica.
Siamo nel Bowery, quartiere malfamato dell’isola di Manhattan dove la vita è un lotta spietata per la sopravvivenza, una lezione che si deve imparare sin da piccoli.
Maggie fioriva nel fango :
una bellezza che risalta nella cornice fatiscente in cui si ritrova.

Un destino segnato da una tragicità che s’insinua durante la lettura attraverso le "riprese dall’alto" di tutto un ambiente marcio da ogni punto di vista.
Questo sguardo distanziato dell’autore è la peculiarità della sua scrittura; é la cifra stilistica che definirà quello che è stato chiamato “realismo reticente”, ossia, il racconto ambientale scevro da romanticismi, approfondimenti psicologici e giudizi morali.

Qualcuno ha accostato Crane a Zola ma leggendo la storia di Maggie salta all’occhio la distanza abissale.
Qui la scrittura non si sofferma sui particolari e catapulta il lettore in un inferno lasciandolo in balìa di una sintassi secca.

Stephen Crane conobbe maggiore successo più tardi con The Red Badge of Courage (“Il segno rosso del coraggio”, 1895), ambientato durante la guerra civile americana.

Maggie ragazza di strada, tuttavia, è un’opera che mette in scena per la prima volta in modo crudo la realtà di un ghetto newyorkese:
la storia di un mondo fatto solo di privazioni e di insulti”.

” Naturalmente, in pubblico Jimmie condannava sua sorella, in modo da porsi su un piano sociale più elevato. Ma, tra sé e sé, vagando col pensiero per sentieri noti a lui solo, una volta giunse quasi alla conclusione che sua sorella sarebbe stata senza dubbio migliore se soltanto avesse saputo come esserlo. Sentì, però, che non poteva sostenere un punto di vista del genere, e si affrettò a cambiarlo.”
Profile Image for Kandice.
1,565 reviews250 followers
November 19, 2008
I think the moral of the story was lost on me, as the times have changed so much. Everything was inferred instead of said outright. Did she actually have "relations" with Pete? I can't be sure, so am unclear why her mother disowned her. Did she kill herself? Was her situation really so severe that was her only way out? Obviously there was quite the double standard. Sins were not arranged in order of importance. The parents could be alcoholic lowlifes, and beat their children, but she was thrown out for going on a date? I liked the way he portrayed their speaking mannerisms, but the repetitiveness was grating.
Profile Image for robin friedman.
1,815 reviews242 followers
October 26, 2021
Rereading Maggie

I have read Steven Crane's short novel, "Maggie: A Girl of the Streets" many times over the years and returned to read it again recently together with Crane's more famous book, "The Red Badge of Courage." Crane wrote "Maggie" in 1891 at the age of 21 and published the book at his own expense in 1893 under the pseudonym Johnston Smith. Some famous writers, including William Dean Howells praised "Maggie" enthusiastically, but for the most part the book was indifferently received.

I have always cared more about "Maggie" than about the "Red Badge of Courage". It is difficult to understand why this is the case, other than perhaps the subject matter, but there have always been readers who also thought this way. It may be due to the intense, sincere character of this book, obviously the product of a young, rebellious man. I still love the book, even though I am older and presumably wiser than when I first read it years ago.

Maggie is set in the New York slums of the Bowery in the late 1890s. The plot is simple. Crane describes a family in the Bowery, the Johnsons, living in the midst of poverty, alcohol, violence, and squalor. For most of the book, the family consists of the alcoholic brutal mother, Mary, her wastrel, philandering son, Jim, and the young, innocently naive daughter, Maggie. Crane says Maggie "blossomed in a mud puddle. She grew to be a most rare and wonderful production of a tenement district, a pretty girl."

Maggie has a spirit-numbing job in a sweatshop. She soon takes up with a rakish bartender and friend of her brother, Nick. Maggie comes to see Nick ideally, as her knight. Nick soon seduces Maggie and her mother, in a show of righteousness, orders her to leave home. Nick summarily jilts Maggie in favor of a prostitute, Nell, with whom he earlier had a relationship. Maggie becomes a prostitute wandering the New York City streets and, within months commits suicide.

This is the bare bones of a common story. Crane's artistry and passion bring the story to life. The passion seethes through the writing even though Crane tell the tale with ironic detachment and frequently with sharp humor.

The book is told in a heavily episodic way in short chapters which may seem disjointed. Most readers at first find the book overwritten in its long descriptive passages and heavy-handed use of violence, brutality, and metaphor on almost every page. There is a sense of exaggeration, almost of caricature, in the depictions of slum life, especially in the many scenes of domestic violence. Much of the writing is fresh and suggestive, parts of it may be less so. It works to capture the environment Crane is describing.

Many readers see "Maggie" as the first work of American naturalism, meaning that the characters are shown as determined by their shocking surroundings in the slums. Other readers, including myself, think that naturalistic character of the book frequently is overstated. In a letter written shortly after the publication of the book, Crane qualified the naturalistic interpretation of the book. He wrote that "Maggie tries to show that environment is a tremendous thing in the world and frequently shapes lives regardless. If one proves that theory one makes room in Heaven for all sorts of souls (notably an occasional street girl) who are not confidently expected to be there by many people,"

The book does not take a position of environmental determinism. Rather, it is an implicit critique of the lives of some people in the slums who criticize others and refuse to work to better themselves. Even more so, it is a critique of the values of the larger society, in matters of sexual morality and in matters of callousness towards the poor and unfortunate. The book is full of religious metaphor and scenes. Crane, the son of a Methodist minister, has little sympathy with religion as practiced, but the message of compassion and forgiveness in the book has strong religious overtones. Maggie herself, while not a fully developed character, is a romantic figure in what is essentially still a romantic novel.

"Maggie" is still widely read and discussed among readers, for all the differences in interpretation of the book and disagreements about its literary quality. The lasting quality, its ability to inspire passion and disagreement, of the book alone makes "Maggie" a substantial achievement for a young writer. The book is readily accessible in various editions, including a Library of America volume devoted to the writing of Steven Crane. I was pleased to reread "Maggie" and to share my thoughts on the book with interested readers.

Robin Friedman
Profile Image for Warren Fournier.
602 reviews73 followers
January 6, 2022
This is a very short novel that really packs a punch, written by Stephen Crane at the tender age of just 21. I'm not sure I liked it as much as his more famous "Red Badge of Courage," but it sure is one impressive debut.

The problem for me is that the synopsis of the novel sounds much more emotionally impactful than the work as a whole. A young girl named Maggie grows up in a chaotic household in the seedy heart of the Bowery. Her alcoholic mother spends all her time loafing around the flat, getting drunk, and smashing furniture. Maggie and her brother are in fact the real adults, working and providing for the household. But when her brother introduces her to a loudmouth bartender who freely spends his time, money, and attention on Maggie, she becomes smitten with his tough exterior, imagining him to be her shining knight. After another of her mother's destructive drunken rows, Maggie leaves home, and her mother projects all of her own failures of fortitude onto her daughter, spreading it around that Maggie has "gone to the devil," and is of low moral character. She is shunned and abandoned by the family, and eventually by her "knight" as well, leaving her at the mercy of the merciless city where there is no charity and no welfare.

Now if this doesn't move you to appreciate the plight of women in our not-so-distant past as well as the importance of the early women's rights movement, nothing will. But the book itself doesn't actually deliver. Why?

Well, first of all, Maggie herself is hardly developed as a character, so we have little investment in her situation. The focus of the novel remains very male-centric. We spend most of our time with Pete (the knight) and her brother Jimmy, watching them drink, brawl, and treat Maggie like dirt. We see a little of their guilt over their role in Maggie's outcome. But Maggie herself is barely a person, and her ultimate fate occurs "off-screen."

Therefore, so much of the story is taken up with senseless Bowery slang. "Well, it's like this, see? This here mug wants to start a thumping, and I tells him not to make trouble, see? You's better not make no trouble, I says, or I'll lay ya flat, see mug? Myeah, myeah, myeah..."

And to think I made fun of "Red Badge" for sounding like a Bugs Bunny cartoon. If just some of this was trimmed down, this could've made quite a tight novelette, a parable about hypocrisy. It is the behavior of Maggie's mother that destroys what Maggie builds, alienates her daughter and sends her into the arms of a stranger, yet she drunkenly and publically denounces Maggie for being immoral. We don't need to read endlessly about Jimmy's scraps with the local hoodlums, or watch Pete throwing money around saying, "We're having a hell of a time, ain't we?"

I also don't subscribe to books that espouse environmental or genetic determinism. Some say that this novel is not about that at all, but it sure seems to carry that message. Despite growing up in a neglectful and violent environment, Maggie is still quite innocent and has a strong work ethic. She does nothing wrong, and yet succumbs to the lack of support, empathy, opportunity, and humanity within her low class family and peers. That certainly seems like a scathing and pessimistic indictment of what it means to be poor in America. And I'm not sure I buy into Maggie suddenly having no prospects upon which to survive just because her drunken mother disowned her. In fact, she'd probably be better off without the liability of supporting such a miserable bint.

Regardless, this is a classic story that I think should be read by anyone at least once, but I do not think it comes anywhere close to "Red Badge," or to many other greats of literature. Crane certainly proved himself once again with this story to be an immensely sensitive and precocious young author who sadly was taken from us far too early. But in the end, I feel I can only give this three stars out of five.
Profile Image for Jose Moa.
519 reviews68 followers
October 3, 2015
This is perhaps the most sordid short novel i ever read;the journey to depravity prostitution and death forced by the loneliness, doublé moral and necesity of a por beautifull girl born in a miserable suburb of New York.The prostitution of the body not of the soul that remains pure and clean to his final death.This is i think the firs naturalist novel in USA
Profile Image for Anina e gambette di pollo.
78 reviews29 followers
April 18, 2018
Questo suo primo romanzo Stephen Crane lo ha scritto a 20 anni e ci impiegò due giorni e due notti. Presumo a mano. Avrebbe potuto darci qualcosa di più, oltre il secondo romanzo Il segno rosso del coraggio ed alcuni racconti, se non fosse morto a 29 anni.

Storia di strada, quartiere Bowery, che all’epoca era abitato da un’umanità misera, annegata nell’alcool, vile, feroce, con un senso d’accatto per ciò che non è decoroso. I bambini vivono la strada, le risse e le sassaiole per trovare a casa punizioni a base di botte e genitori ubriachi.
Due fratelli, Jimmie e Maggie.
Jimmie cresce con l’unica occupazione di starsene agli angoli delle strade a guardare il mondo passare. “Egli sfidava l’umanità ai crocicchi. Era agli angoli nella vita e della vita.” Poi farà il carrettiere di pessimo carattere avendo rispetto solo dei Vigili del Fuoco. Arrestato fin da bambino e con una fedina bella grassa ancor prima di essere diventato adulto.

Maggie vive una vita meno movimentata, perché è una donna e per carattere.
Lavora in un buco che produce colletti e polsini, guadagna poco ed è bella.
S’innamora, come accade alle ragazze senza esperienza, di un amico del fratello che fa il barman e sfoggia abiti che, nel fango del quartiere, appaiono fichissimi.
Nulla di più di un fasullo, prepotente e vanitoso, ma Maggie lo vede risplendere di un tipo di vita che lei non conosce.
Le fa frequentare locali che a lei sembrano scintillanti e lussuosi, un mondo di favola.
Naturalmente, non sappiamo quando, la seduce.
La via dove abitano lo indovina, le lingue si muovo, la madre, tra un soggiorno e l’altro in galera, diventa severa manco fosse Lucrezia e così pure Jimmie.
Quando il fasullo l’abbandona, e a casa non ce la vogliono più, che può fare Maggie?
Non lo vediamo, lo sapremo dalla gente della strada.

Si può dire che i personaggi non diventano tali perché così sono all’inizio e così sono alla fine.
Ma sono poi veramente personaggi? o non piuttosto maschere di quella vita tanto degradata?
Il Ragazzo, il Fasullo, la Madre, la Nonna e la Ragazza hanno un nome e cognome o possono essere solo persone uguali alle altre perché le loro storie sono uguali tra loro?
L’orripilante e ironica scena finale dove si rappresenta l’ipocrisia tutta vestita delle frasi consolatorie e di dolore tante volte sentite è la pietra tombale di tante Maggie.

Crane aveva letto poco (anche se bene), diceva per non cadere nella trappola dell’imitazione. Lui voleva il parlato della gente e i colori della realtà. Magari cent’anni dopo avrebbe fatto il regista o il documentarista, chissà.
La traduzione non risulta agevole proprio per il linguaggio, ma nello stesso tempo, Crane si è guadagnato questa osservazione “Egli insegnò all’America a scrivere in americano.”

(1987) – 17.04.2018
Profile Image for Evelina | AvalinahsBooks.
880 reviews446 followers
November 26, 2019
Must've been a bold book at the time, and is a little hyperbolized in order to make the reader draw the right conclusions of where the blame lay. I imagine a lot of people may have been outraged about an author choosing to talk about such subjects at the end of the 19th century, when polite society was everything. A very, very sad story, but it's likely such a story was enacted many, many times by women in unfortunate circumstances and abusive families. And probably still is, although I only hope not as often.
Profile Image for WJEP.
250 reviews16 followers
August 9, 2023
A dewy-eyed girl gets dumped. That's pretty much it, but Crane drags the story out with overly descriptive writing. Furthermore, the Bowery dialect was convincing but clangorous.
Profile Image for Sarah.
70 reviews10 followers
September 2, 2015
Considered "too immature" by critics when it was released, I also consider it shallow. It seemed like the same few phrases were repeated by every character until they said it enough to qualify enough words for a novel. This seems more of a sneer at the lower class rather than the narrative on how women with little resources and restricted freedom could be forced and then harshly judged for living immorally by society's standards. And I was hoping for the latter.

I suppose the ambiguity of Maggies fallen graces is due to the time period but, besides her brother's early upbringing and profession, everything else is vague. What is Maggie thinking besides "He's neat" during the entire novel? What is the back story in such a belligerent woman as Maggie's mother becoming married with two children? What happened to the family? Who is fixing all the perpetually broken furniture in such a dysfunctional and poor household? What was their town like besides having busy streets and idle boys? What does Maggie do when she isn't at the bar with Pete and he is at work? How do his neighbors receive her? What does she want? What are her dreams? Didn't she have a friend in the world to talk to and the drama that could have unfolded between the two as Maggie became the lost in ill repute. For a teenager, the scorn from her peers would have been far more damaging than that of gossiping neighbors. What do Pete and Maggie talk about? There could have been more of a climax to their relationship besides going to an entertaining bar.
Profile Image for Brian.
Author 1 book1,027 followers
July 2, 2016
For as much as I love Crane, I just can't get over the hump on this one and connect the dots to many of his other works I find nearly perfect. It might be the disconnected ending that makes the reader flip back pages to see if we accidentally missed a chapter, the Irish patois of the chronically indigent, or maybe it's Crane's thumb on the moral scale that keeps me from engaging fully - whatever the case, this is an example of either a short story made too long or a novel entirely too short; as a novella it fails pretty soundly.

There are great Cranesque lines throughout the work that save it from complete tosh-dom, and maybe that's why I keep coming back to this work over the years to see if I missed something. But this re-reading made it feel like a poor fictionalized version of Angela's Ashes published 100 years later. If you're new to Crane, this is not the place to start. Go with Red Badge of Courage or Open Boat to understand why so many authors in the early 20th century looked to Crane as their north star.
Profile Image for Sara.
69 reviews3 followers
March 16, 2011
I read this book on-screen in my down time at work. It's set in late 19th-century New York, from what I gather, which is what attracted me to it, as I'm in the midst of a long documentary on New York. I don't know that I would include the book among my top 10, but I like it very much. The language is absolutely delectable. I want to eat it and hug Crane for writing it. His language is crystal clear; he constructs sentences in such a way to emit a vivid visual experience from between the words. His adjectives are active; he uses colors as verbs. The book ends with the sun's "ghastly cheerfulness," ghastly in light of the story's grim events--grim in the particulars of the story's characters and of the larger setting in which they live.
Profile Image for Christina.
41 reviews39 followers
April 17, 2011
Really loved this novella. It directly transports one to 1880's Lower East side Manhattan. I thought Crane was born and raised in the Irish slums of the Bowery, but he had spent very little time there before the novel. His use of dialogue and slang made me feel like I was there in the tenement with Jimmy and Maggie. It taught me about history, the slums of old New York, and the puritanical views of lower class Irish at the time. I got a little bit of sociology, anthropology, history, and fictional story; everything I need in a book. Also, the story was very different from other things I've read. I recommend this to everyone, especially those into New York City history.
Profile Image for Musab.
213 reviews
November 12, 2021
Maggie ve evlerinin alt katında yaşayan komşu kadın hariç bu kitaptaki herkesin allah belasını versin ya. Sinir oldum vallahi.
Profile Image for Ahmed K-masterly {Cruel Sanity}.
316 reviews17 followers
January 6, 2023
في تعرفي على أوّل روايات الكاتب الأمريكي ستيفن كرين الذي اقرأ له للمرة الأولى من هذا الكتاب الذي صدر من دار ماركيز (البصره - العراق) من السنة الماضية من معرض الكتاب واستمر الحماس لديّ لقرائتها، وهذه هي رواية واقعية اعتبرت جريئةً وفاضحةً لدرجة أنّ دور النّشر قد رفضت نشرها في ذلك الحين، واضطر الكاتب أن ينشرها على نفقته الخاصّة وتحت اسم مستعار، تناقش الروايه القصيرة نبذة عن وحشية الحياة الحقيقية في أحياء نيويورك الفقيرة، وتطرح قضايا تتعلّق بالأخلاق والدّين والمشاعر الإنسانية بلا زَيفٍ أو بهرجة . ماغي فتاة تعيش في "حي باوري" في نيويورك تحت ظروفٍ قاسية يسودها العنف والفقر والنّفاق الاجتماعي. تسلط الضوء على كينونة الأشخاص المحيطين بماري مثل امها وأخوها والفتى الذي رافقته ولكن لا تبدو أبداََ من وجهة نظر ماري نفسها لأن في هذة الروايه ليست مجرد شخصيه إنما مثال وايقونة مهمه في المجتمع المزيف.
Profile Image for George K..
2,438 reviews317 followers
January 8, 2019
Αν και έχω εδώ και κάμποσα χρόνια το "Το κόκκινο σήμα του θάρρους", που είναι με διαφορά το πιο πολυδιαβασμένο έργο του Στίβεν Κρέιν και ένα από τα κλασικότερα Αμερικάνικα μυθιστορήματα, είπα να γνωρίσω τον συγγραφέα με το "Η Μάγκυ των δρόμων", που αγόρασα μόλις χθες. Σίγουρα είναι ένα βιβλίο που δείχνει τα εκατόν εικοσιπέντε και πλέον χρόνια του και έτσι όπως είναι γραμμένο μπορεί να μην αγγίξει και ιδιαίτερα τους σημερινούς αναγνώστες, όμως οι διάφορες περιγραφές της φτωχολογιάς και των υποβαθμισμένων γειτονιών μου φάνηκαν αρκετά ρεαλιστικές. Από πλοκή και χαρακτήρες δεν λέει και πολλά πράγματα, ενώ η προσπάθεια του συγγραφέα να παρουσιάσει ένα "σοκαριστικό" πορτρέτο της εργατικής τάξης της εποχής του θα έλεγα ότι μάλλον χαρακτηρίζεται από μια κάποια ανωριμότητα. Με τέτοια θεματολογία έχουν γραφτεί πολύ δυνατά βιβλία, αυτό όμως μου φάνηκε ολίγον τι αδιάφορο και γεμάτο κλισέ. Πάντως μου άρεσαν ορισμένες περιγραφές και σκηνές, καθώς και η γενικότερη ατμόσφαιρα. Αξίζει μια ανάγνωση γιατί είναι ένα κλασικό νατουραλιστικό έργο της Αμερικάνικης λογοτεχνίας, όμως μην έχετε ιδιαίτερα ψηλά τον πήχη.
Profile Image for Marjan Nikoloski.
36 reviews7 followers
February 24, 2021
Ah, what deh hell?!
I will take it upon myself and say that Stephen Crane's intention was to demonstrate the danger of blind belief in the so-called "American Dream", and the high price of industrialization and overpopulation the American society had to pay. The scenes are quite filthy, even in those supposedly "graceful" places, where those of the working class went to feel like they are more than the sewage they live in.

I've read some of the reviews and I realized that for some of you the fact that the book is from the 19th century somehow justifies the idea that the ordinary man should live like a rat.
*Insert "Understandable, have a great day" meme here* FFS.

When it comes to the characters in the story... Well, they sure are hypocritical. They have no hesitation whatsoever to blame the others for the mistakes they themselves made. They are all miserable, but you know how it goes, they seem to have found comfort in their misery. In another case, if there is a rebellion against the eternal misery, as one steps on everyone to move upward hoping to find a way out, everyone simultaneously pulls one down. In other words, the story is a stagnant and hopeless cycle.

It is horrible to see people wandering hopelessly in their own misery and yet unmercifully causing pain to others who are already suffering enough.
Profile Image for Oziel Bispo.
523 reviews72 followers
September 15, 2018
A vida de Maggie não é nada boa.  Ela é pobre, mora no pior bairro de Nova York  ,Seus pais são bêbados e se espancam. Tratam ela e  o seu irmão Jimmy como lixos. Ambos tentam, cada um do seu jeito , trazer o sustento para casa mas não adianta nada , gastam o dinheiro com bebidas e Mary ,a “mãe” no dia que não acorda bem resolve quebrar tudo na casa.

Um alívio: o pai morre,  um sofrimento: seu outro irmãozinho (Tommie)também.

Um dia aparece na sua casa um colega do seu irmão chamado Peter. Peter parece gostar da pobre garota: leva a para as festas, para os teatros e para as baladas da época. Diante disso Jimmy e sua mãe Mary começam a falar da moral e do caráter dela  e sua permanência na casa se torna impossível. Foge de casa, vai para as ruas, descobre que Peter não a ama, volta pra casa, é humilhada ,volta para as ruas….o texto dá a entender que se transforma em uma prostituta, apesar de não mostrar isso claramente.

Destruída, julgada por quem não tem um pingo de moral ela desiste de sua vida, morre ou se mata, não se sabe. Só se sabe que a pobreza, os abusos,o alcoolismo destruiu os sonhos dessa garota, dessa família!!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
May 8, 2018
I'm not really sure how this book flopped when it came out...the portrayals of how many immigrants living in squalor in New York City should have been relatable to many of those unfortunate (maybe people were too frightened to relate).

This is indeed a somewhat realistic portrayal of a girl with and Irish drunk immigrant mother, who struggles through her daily life with alcohol and racism (this was a time when the Irish were treated very poorly). Yes, this novel is sad. It does not have a happy ending, just want to warn you all.

I think the final review for this book is a 3.75 out of 5 stars. I haven't rated a book like this before. I honestly had a hard time rating it, but this is my final review.
Profile Image for Derek.
1,504 reviews61 followers
June 1, 2023
Crane could really write but reading this well-told tale often felt like watching someone hit every stair on the way down a very long flight of steps. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Somehow this reminded of a more modern book: Cruddy. “Son, somebody dealt you a real bad hand of cards… I’d fold if I were you.”
Displaying 1 - 30 of 517 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.