Maggie Readings - E 316K, Berry Two readings of Maggie to...

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E 316K, Berry Two readings of Maggie to consider: I focus on two, co-existing—and quite contrary readings—of Crane’s Maggie, A Girl of the Streets . Just as “The Open Boat” exhibits the strictest tenets of seeing the world through naturalism’s lens, Crane’s story also exhibits hopeful intrusions, a lifting from the strictly pessimistic boundaries of pure naturalism: the “subtle brotherhood” established on the seas; the sympathy the correspondent eventually feels for a soldier dying on a battlefield in a poem; the mysterious illogic of Billie drowning despite the Darwinian imperative of survival of the fittest; the internalization of the life- and-death experience as a “best moment” in the men’s lives; the correspondent’s contention to nature that he loves himself; he idea that by recognizing their abilities as potential “interpreters” at story’s end implies that meaning exists to be interpreted (just to cite several examples of the story’s temporary “lifts” from the bleak constraints of the naturalist aesthetic).
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