How Maggie Died BY 13 Sarah Virile Conformity: The Main Issue with the Johnson Family Parenting plays a huge role in every person’s life, whether they think so or not. How you were parented when you were younger defines who you are today; whether it meaner that you are completely opposite of your parent’s or similar to how they parented and raised you. You “take” the ways that they parented that you liked, and add in other ways that you acquire over time. In “Maggie: A Girl of the Streets”, Maggie, Jimmie, and Tommie are parented absolutely horrifically.
Their parent’s are runner, arrogant individuals who have absolutely no regard for their children, or anyone else for that matter In “Maggie: A girl of the Streets” by Steven Crane, Maggie, tries to make something of herself by getting a Job and not falling into the footsteps and conforming to those around her, especially her family. Maggie wondered if she could achieve great things in life; “by a girl who lived in a tenement house and worked in a shirt factory. ” (Crane, p 245) She and her two brothers live in an apartment complex in the ghetto with their “parent’s”.
Her youngest brother, Tommie, ends up passing away because of their neglect. Both Maggie and Jimmie end up conforming to how they were raised even though Maggie fought it. If their parent’s hadn’t been such terrible people, Maggie and Jimmie wouldn’t have conformed to their negative mannerisms, and they would have had a chance in this world. . Although Magpie’s family lived in the ghetto of New York, and were constantly being surrounded by negativity, her parent’s could have actually been parent’s regardless of where they lived.
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They could have been there for their children physically and mentally, as well as being positive role models. Magpie’s mother even looked down on Maggie for her using proper manners, “An’ now, sit out an’ go ann. wide data doe-faced elude of yours” (Crane, p 251) Jude is a slang word from that times that meant that someone was overly worried with the use of proper manners and concerned with appearance. Her mother was looking down on her for trying to improve her manners and appearance. If her parent’s would have actually stepped up and fulfilled their duties as parent’s, Tommie and Maggie would have still been alive.
When Tommie died, it did not even seem as if his parent’s cared. Tommie was constantly being neglected because of their constant need and want for alcohol. He would crawl around and hide under the table during their many disputes, and he was constantly not being tended to. He was an infant; infants require a lot of nurturing and attention, which is probably why he died. If Magpie’s parent’s had actually cared, she would probably still be alive as well. Instead her mother kicked her out and she was forced to live with Pete. Then after
Pete abandoned her, she was forced to the streets and she began prostituting. But as I said, if Magpie’s parent’s were actually parent’s and were there for her, instead of getting drunk and hitting each other along with their children, she most likely would not have been making the same decisions no matter where she was from. Some people may say that it is all Magpie’s fault that she ended up the way she did and it had nothing to do with the conforming to her parent’s “ways”. Yes Maggie is her own person and could make near own decisions, but now could seen do that when seen was ever shown how?
In the article “Authenticity and Role-playing in S. Crane’s Maggie: A Girl of the Streets”, by Nazi AY-Syllabi, Syllabi says that conformity is a problem because it gets in the way of an individual’s way of being an individual. If one conforms then their actions and decisions will be based on social acceptance and not on their own feelings and beliefs. (AY-Syllabi, p 199) Maggie conformed to her parent’s ways which in turn shadowed her own beliefs that she had stated before. If her parent’s acted more like role models Maggie may have had a different outcome.
She instead entered off into the ghetto selling her body for money, Just to survive. Jimmie too conformed in this story. In the beginning of the story, one of the opening scenes is Jimmie clutching onto Maggie all night crying because of how their parent’s were acting. Crane wrote, “Jimmie grew large enough to take the vague position of head of the family. As incumbent of that office, he stumbled up the stairs late at night, as his father had done before him. ” (Crane, 235) Jimmie saw his parent’s actions and poor decisions over and over again, night after night, so that was all he knew how to do.
It also is the same with how he started to treat Maggie, he went from protecting her, to seeing her parent’s shun and degrade her in front of everyone so he started doing the same, leading Maggie to rebel and turning to the streets. With Jimmie and Maggie conforming to the ways of their parent’s parented, they miss out on living how they want to. Syllabi says, “They lose their authenticity by not living their own life and not following their passions and feelings. ” (AY-Syllabi, p 200). If Maggie hadn’t conformed and got out of her house before it was too late, she would have dad something of herself because of how she had aspired to do so.
She showed this when she was talking about how “She imagined herself, in an exasperating future, as a scrawny woman with an external grievance. ” (Crane, p 245) Syllabi goes onto say, “Caught up in a whirlwind of self-deception and consumed with faking out those around them, the Johnson’ sole objective is to maintain their public image, enabling them to play the role of someone they are not. Lacking self- respect, the Johnson do not have the courage of their mistakes. If they had self -respect, they retainer would not worry what would happen to their reputation. (Syllabi, p 200) Maggie and Jimmies parent’s were so worried about what their neighbors would say about Maggie moving out that they started to badmouth Maggie to everyone that they talked to Just because they thought that who they were talking to felt the same way about Maggie. Yet when Maggie died her mother acted as if she was so upset when a couple chapters before she had disowned her and talked so poorly of her. Conformity plays a huge role in this story, and it would not have turned out to be the name if there hadn’t been conformity in the Johnson “household”.
Their children were influenced by how they were raised and how they were parented and ended up conforming to their parent’s ways. How Maggie conformed was that she used to want something of herself and she had aspirations, but after being put down over and over again for trying to reach her goals and dreams by her family and neighbors, she stopped trying, and resorted to prostitution. The mother and father, up until the day that their father died, were drunks who did not give a damn about their children, which is absolutely disgraceful and vile.