In this essay I am going to talkabout Stephen Crane`s novella ‘Maggie.
AGirl of the Streets’ from the point of view of the narrative structure andnarrative technique. I will give a brief definition for some concepts and thenI will apply them on the quoted text giving some examples in order to supportthe definition. A novella is sometimes called a long short story because has somewherebetween 17.000 and 40.
000 words. A novella may have more sub-plots andcharacters. Because of its length in writing, it may have fewer conflicts thanit can have a novel. Also because of the fact that at the beginning it waswritten in order to satirize or to educate, the novella presents the story of asingle narrative character but it can involve others too. ‘Maggie. A Girl ofthe Streets’ is a novella which presents Maggie`s life. In the play are twoconflicts that trigger the plot. First of them occurred when Maggie was thrownout of the house and she had to live with the old woman next door.
The secondone appeared when, being in love with Pete, he leaves her so she becomes aprostitute. First of all, according to ‘The Living of Handbook of Narratology’, ‘theterm “plot” designates the ways in which the events and characters’ actions ina story are arranged and how this arrangement in turn facilitatesidentification of their motivations and consequences.’ Also ‘plot thereforelies between the events of a narrative on the level of story and theirpresentation on the level of discourse.’ In other words, through this literaryword ‘plot’ we can describe the events that triggered the action or at least alarge part of it. In ‘Maggie. A girl of the Streets’, the plot is not a classicalone because the author shifts the emphasis from the drama of the event orsituation to that of thinking and feeling, namely from the external drama tothe inner one. The important events in the story are often marked by theirviolence, as an incentive for the inner feeling of the characters. For example, there is a little bit about the battlebetween Jimmie and the neighboring band, but a big importance is given to thedetails that describe the feelings of anger and heroism that Jimmie has.
Speech representation means the ways a narrator expresses the thoughtsand the way of speech of a character.There are three major types of speech representation in a novelty, namelydirect speech, indirect speech and free indirect speech. Direct Speech ischaracterized by the exact transcription of the words used by the speaker,highlighting him and using exactly the speech he uses. Characteristic of directspeech are verbs like ‘to say’, ‘to murmur’, ‘to shout’, ‘to confess’, ‘towhisper’. Statement verbs may be both at the end and within the sentence in thereproduced communication.
Through direct speech, the intonation is preserved orreproduced, be it interrogatory or exclamatory. Also, in writing, there is usedthe dialog line or quotation marks. Besides all these, there appear the firstor second person pronouns in singular or in plural. In ‘Maggie. A Girl of theStreets’ direct speech is present throughout the action. Take for example thefollowing lines: ‘”Go teh hell,” he murmured, tranquilly.'(ChapterII). Here is the verb ‘to murmur’ at the end of the sentence which ischaracteristic of the direct speech and the quotation marks are used.
Anotherexample to state this speech representation is the next one: ‘”I met achump deh odder day way up in deh city,” he said. “I was goin’ tehsee a frien’ of mine.’ (Chapter VI). The first person singular ‘I’ is presentand the verb ‘to say’ is within the sentence.
There are also the followinglines: ‘”Jimmie! Jimmie! Are yehs dere?” it whispered.’ (Chapter III).In these lines both interrogating intonation and the exclamatory one arepointed out by the question mark and exclamation mark. Second, ‘perspective in narrative may be defined as the way therepresentation of the story is influenced by the position, personality andvalues of the narrator, the characters and, possibly, other, more hypotheticalentities in the storyworld.’ In short, the narrative perspective refers to theangle from which the events are viewed and enunciated and is shows the relationbetween the author and the storyworld. It can be of three types, i.e.
the zerofocalization perspective, internal focusing perspective and the perspective bywhich the narrator knows less than the character, the latter being theperspective with external focalization. In ‘Maggie. A Girl of the Streets’ thenarrative perspective is an external and an objective one, meaning that we havean outside perspective upon the characters. The narrator knows less than any of the characters, he onlydescribes what he sees and what he hears, but does not penetrate theconsciousness of any character.
In this novella, the narrator isdetached from the characters, he has no connection with them in terms ofemotions or feelings. The following lines shows this thing: ‘ A stone hassmashed into Jimmie`s mouth. Blood was bubbling over his chin and down upon hisragged shirt.
Tears made furrows on his dirt-stained cheeks. His thin legs hadbegun to tremble and turn weak, causing his small body to reel. His roaringcurses of the first part of the fight had changed to a blasphemous chatter.'(Chapter I). Instead, in text is presented the narrator who is looking ateverything from outside, this being an extradiegetic narrator. His omniscienceis a quality that allows him to oversee the way in which the action takes placebut also the way events evolve.
The factthat the narrator is omniscient doesn’t restrict our access to the thoughts andfeelings of the characters in question. According to the French literary theorist Gerard Genette, the term’focalization’ can also be used as a substitute for ‘perspective’ and ‘point ofview’. He finds three types of focalization in literature, including the externalfocalization. It records the events like a camera and it produces the effect ofneutrality and objectivity through the absence of emotion recording. Genette describes this one as the one throughwhich ‘the narrator says less than the character knows’. There is an example which can show this: ‘Hismother laughed a laugh that seemed to ring through the city and be echoed and reechoed bycountless other laughs.
“Oh, yes, I will, won’t I! Sure!” ‘(ChapterXIII). The narrator is an objectiveobserver to the action and all he does in the presented situation is just tosurprise the mother`s behavior. In the following lines we can observe thereactions of psycho-affective experiences, using indirect analytical techniques:’The fact that the neighbors talked of it, maddened her.
When women came in,and in the course of their conversation casually asked, “Where’s Maggiedese days?” the mother shook her fuzzy head at them and appalled them withcurses. Cunning hints inviting confidence she rebuffed with violence.’. (ChapterXIII). The narrator neither has value judgments, nor does he think about what`sgoing on with the characters.
In conclusion, I consider that I have approached the narrativetechniques giving some examples that support the presented ones. ‘Maggie. AGirl of the Streets’ by Stephen Crane can be analyzed from the point of viewof perspective structure.