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Maggie Girl of the Streets & Huck Finn - Family Life

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 10:08 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 54.1 
  • Words: 958
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Life in the 1800s has taken on an almost idealistic quality in the minds of many Americans. The images linked to this era of our history are, on the surface, pleasurable to recall: one room school houses; severe self-reliance; steam-powered railroads and individual freedom.

All in all, we seem to recall a well-scrubbed past.   Maybe, as we cross into the next century, it\'s time to take another look at the so-called \"good old days.\"

Two very well written works that help to see the latter side of family life in the late 1800s are Maggie: A Girl Of The Streets and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. By chance, an evident parallel is drawn in comparing Huck Finn\'s relationship with his father to that of the relationship between Maggie and her parents. Huck is the son of the town drunkard, a man who goes away for long stretches and beats his son when he\'s home.   Maggie is quite the same, with the exception of residing in her household with two town drunks.   Maggie and her family are in a small, miserable tenement residing in a dark crevis of New York City with the life of those around them passing them by.   Similarly, Huck and “Pap” live in a bantam shanty on a sordid island in the Mississippi River, America surging past them as well.

Maggie Johnson grows up amid abuse and poverty in the Bowery .   Her mother, Mary, is a vicious alcoholic; her brother, Jimmie, is mean-spirited and brutish; her youngest brother Tommie dies at a very young age.   Her alcoholic father is nameless, largely absent and casually cruel when present.   He deems it necessary to beat the sense into people.   These constant beatings in Maggie Johnson’s home, furniture thrown from parent to parent, and every aspect of her family life as being negative, her family situation is not an extremly healthy one. But, despite her hardships, Maggie grows up to become a beautiful young lady whose romantic hopes for a more desirable life remain untarnished.

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