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MonkeyNotes-Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane
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Chapter 4

Tommie dies. He is taken away in a "white, insignificant coffin." Maggie steals a flower for him. She and Jimmie live on. Jimmie becomes a "young man of leather." He spends some time unemployed. He watches people and feels nothing for their degradation since he has never seen anything better and has never been taught any higher goals. He spends some time hanging around a mission church to get the free soup. He stands on street corners and watches the world go by. He taunts women and menaces men. He thinks of all well-dressed men as less than manly. He hates all obvious Christians. He hates philanthropists from the wealthy class coming into his neighborhood.

He becomes a truck driver. His enemies become the police who beat him and hinder him in his progress through the streets driving his team of horses. He drives in a caravan of trucks. He thinks of pedestrians as stupid nuisances getting in his way. He often jumps down to fight. He is often arrested. He thinks of all police as corrupt and brutal, out to get people like him. He loves above all things the fire truck. When the street is in the most embroiled traffic jam, the fire truck can clear it in no time, overturning cars as it rushes through the streets. He gets into the habit of jumping down from his rig to fight with other drivers. He gets two women pregnant and avoids getting married. Even with all this brutality of his life, he is still able to look at the moon and exclaim over its beauty.


Notes

Much time passes in this chapter. Childhood ends, signified by the death of Tommie, the baby of the first three chapters. Crane describes the adult life of Jimmie Johnson in broad terms. The adult Jimmie is described as a violent man who has no illusions, but who nevertheless has idols and moments of aesthetic pleasure. His idols are the men who drive the fire trucks. These trucks are formidable in Jimmyís eyes. They clear the path of the most congested street. They are a symbol of absolute power for Jimmy. The moment of aesthetic pleasure is portrayed in the language of the streets as Jimmy exclaims over a beautiful moon "Deh moon looks like hell, donít it?" One other tidbit of information about Jimmie will be important later in the novel he gets two women pregnant and abandons them. He thinks of them as nothing more than annoyances.

The family life of the Johnsons is absent from this chapter with the exception of the report of two deaths. Tommie dies when he is still an infant. The narrator implies that he is the luckiest of the three Johnson children. Maggie and Jimmie must continue to live. The second death is told incidentally, as if it were nothing more than a change of residence "His father died and his motherís days were divided up into periods of thirty days."

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