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Maggie begins to hate all her clothes and spends all her extra money on her looks. She begins to hate the collar factory where she works and the manager who yells at the workers all day. Pete takes Maggie to all forms of entertainment from the zoo to the museum. He gets nothing out of these trips, finding them boring. Maggie, though, finds every experience a world of excitement to treasure. Pete takes Maggie to plays during the week nights. Maggie sits entranced through the melodramas which depict swooning and virtuous maidens and evil villains. Virtue is always rewarded in the end and Maggie along with the rest of the audience is satisfied.
Mrs. Johnson continues her drunken career through life. Street children follow her from the bar to her house taunting her in her drunken and screaming ugliness. Her neighbors make fun of her drunken wretchedness. Jimmie finds her in the hallway and wrestles her into their own apartment where they fight. Pete comes to get Maggie and finds her standing in the middle of the rubble. He tells her to come with him and they will have a good time. She leaves. Mrs. Johnson becomes enraged and tells Maggie she has gone to the devil and that she cannot come back home.
Jimmie is bothered by the fact that Pete, his supposed friend, has seduced his sister. He hears from the old beggar woman about Maggie and Pete. The old woman overheard Pete and Maggie’s conversation in which Maggie was begging Pete to proclaim his love for her. Jimmie goes upstairs and tells his mother that Maggie has "gone to hell." She screams out her condemnation of Maggie. She hopes Maggie will have to sleep in the gutter. She cannot understand how Maggie could have gone bad when she was raised by such a good mother.
Pete and Maggie go to a dance hall, seedier than the first, and Maggie shows signs of dejection. She hangs on Pete as if she cannot stand on her own. She notices the men are looking at her as if she were a prostitute. On their way out, some women pull their skirts aside as if they would be contaminated by Maggie.
Jimmie arrives home several days after the fight. His mother is in a rage over Maggie’s continued absence. He wonders if he shouldn’t go and bring Maggie back home as a way to save the family’s reputation. Mrs. Johnson wails her disapproval of this plan, shocked that her son would let such a beast as Maggie to sleep under the same roof with his mother. She wanders down the hallway telling all her neighbors of Maggie’s downfall and getting them on her side as the injured mother. From then on, Mrs. Johnson uses the story of Maggie’s downfall any time she needs to garner the sympathy of judges when she is brought before them on charges of drunkenness. Jimmie also disavows his connection with Maggie in order to save his own reputation.
In a dance hall, Maggie and Pete come in to watch the show. Maggie is clinging to his arm and Pete is acting like he is a very important man. A woman comes in who catches Pete’s eye. He calls out to her and engages her in earnest conversation. This woman, named Nellie, is with a young man, but she ignores him to give Pete her attention. Pete completely ignores Maggie. Nellie urges Pete to leave with her. He tries to tell her he can’t because of Maggie, but finally he does. Maggie sits at the table for a long time and finally the man who was with Nellie tells her that Pete will never come back for her. She leaves and he escorts her to the elevated car.