Maggie A Girl of the Streets: Novel Summary: Chapter 10

Jimmie spends the next day wondering whether Pete knows that it is impolite to take Maggie and thereby ruin her. That night, on his way in from work, the old beggar woman who he used to shelter with during his parents fights delightedly tells him of scene she witnessed the night before. She tells him that Maggie and Pete returned very late and Maggie was crying as if her heart would break. Maggie asked Pete if he loved her and the old woman could tell that Maggie had asked that particular question a lot that evening. Petes response, “Oh, hell, yes” was absolutely hilarious to the old woman and she repeats it as Jimmie storms up the stairs. Jimmie finds that the apartment has been hastily straightened but there is nobody there and Maggies jacket and hat are gone. Jimmie looks out the grimy window and thinks. He begins to wonder if some of the women hes been with have brothers but instead his thoughts turn to anger. He considers that Pete was his friend and exclaims aloud: “Ill kill deh jay!” just as his mother enters. Jimmie tells Mary that Maggie has “gone teh deh devil” and the woman is genuinely astounded. She delivers a stream of oaths and begs God to curse her daughter forever. She wonders how such a bad girl could have grown up in their family and enumerates all the good advice shed given her. She begins to compare Maggie to a girl down the hall that was ruined but Jimmie interjects that Maggie was different but he cannot explain why. Jimmie barrels out of the apartment determined to thrash Pete for all hes worth. On his way out of the building Jimmie passes a group of ladies discussing Maggie and delivering their verdict that she was meant to be damned. In the street Jimmie encounters a friend who sympathizes with his cause but warns him hell be overwhelmed and arrested if he chooses to fight Pete in a public place. Jimmie, however, is determined.
Analysis of Chapter 10
Mary apparently remembers nothing of her behavior the night before or chooses to discount that her treatment of her daughter would affect the girl to such a degree as to take up with Pete. She judges her daughter based on her actions and completely disregards the possibility that she might have done something to affect the girls choice. True to their nature, Mary responds to the news by loudly condemning her daughter and defending herself as a worthy mother. Jimmie, after briefly considering that he has duped girls in the same manner as Pete, covers whatever introspection he might have entertained by turning immediately to violence as an answer. Though this chapter determines Maggies fate she is entirely absent from it.