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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
The Bowery district of New York City in the late nineteenth century.
LIST OF CHARACTERS
Jimmie - the boy in the opening scene who is in the fight with the boys from Devil’s Row. He is Maggie’s elder brother.
Pete - the sixteen-year old boy in the opening chapter who defends Jimmie and stops the fight. He is described as having a "chronic sneer." He becomes Maggie’s lover and then abandons her to the streets.
Maggie - protagonist of the novel, a very poor girl who lives in a family of abuse until she escapes with a boyfriend. She eventually becomes a prostitute and soon afterwards dies.
Mrs. Johnson - the abusive, alcoholic mother of Maggie. She is represented as the antithesis of the late nineteenth century image of the mother as sanctified.
Tommie - Maggie’s baby brother. He dies by the fourth chapter of abuse, malnutrition, and neglect.
Mr. Johnson - the abusive, alcoholic father of Maggie.
Old woman - a beggar who lives next door to the Johnsons and lets Jimmie spend nights with her when his family fights.
Nellie - the "brilliant woman" who leads Pete away from Maggie.
The mere boy - the young man who is the companion of Nellie in the last hall scene.
Hattie - the "forlorn woman" who searches for Jimmie after he has "ruined" and then abandoned her.