Crane, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets

In Donald Pizer’s essay “Stephen Crane’s ‘Maggie’ and American Naturalism” (posted in the Week 4 Modules folder), he writes: “Crane … is a naturalistic writer in the sense that he believes that environment molds lives. But he is more than this, for his primary concern is not a dispassionate, pessimistic tracing of inevitable forces but a satiric assault on weaknesses in social morality. He seems to be saying that though we may not control our destinies, we can at least destroy those systems of value which uncritically assume we can. If we do this, a Maggie … will at least be saved from condemnation and destruction by an unjust code.” Do harmful moral standards exist today in American social life? What are they and, if they are so harmful, why does society continue to obey them? Using Crane as a model, write a satirical sketch in which you use exaggeration and irony to attack a particular unjust moral code that exists in contemporary society. Include a brief statement at the end that describes how your understanding of naturalism and your reading of Crane’s “Maggie” influenced your sketch.

Sample Solution