Maggie A Girl of the Streets: Novel Summary: Chapter 9

This chapter opens with a group of street urchins who witness Marys expulsion from a bar. She stumbles down the steps, cursing the owner of the establishment and begins her walk home. Along the way the urchins taunt her and she pauses from time to time to hurl maledictions at them. Finally she reaches the tenement house and makes her way upstairs. She notices that several of the doors in the hall are open and curious faces are watching her noisy arrival but when she steps toward one of the doors it closes in her face. Despite her cursing and kicking the owner of the door refuses to open though the other doors in the hallway creak open so the residents can watch her fuming effort. She becomes the subject of catcalls and several people throw things at her. Jimmie arrives home to find his mother thus engaged. “Shet yer face, an come home, yeh damned old fool,” her yells at her. Much to the delight of the other residents Mary lands a powerful blow on her sons backside and the two begin to struggle. Eventually Jimmie is able to throw his mother into their apartment. A great struggle ensues and Maggie flees to the other room. When she returns Jimmie is covered in bloody bruises, her mother is weeping and cursing on the floor and the apartment is a shambles. Pete arrives and seeing the mess exclaims: “Oh, Gawd.” Then he whispers in Maggies ear: “Ah, what deh hell Mag? Come ahn and well have a hell of a time.” This arouses Mary who proclaims that Maggie has “gone teh deh devil” and tells her shes a disgrace to the family. Maggie begins to tremble and Pete assures her that it will blow over and she should come with him and have some fun. Jimmie is concerned only with his wounds and pays no heed when Mary tells Maggie “Go teh hell an good riddance” and Maggie leaves.
Analysis of Chapter 9
Although this chapter culminates in Maggies ejection from the apartment but it follows Mary up to that moment so that the reader can appreciate Marys state of mind when she tells her daughter to “Go teh hell.” Mary has confronted the neighbors with her surly behavior and injured her son but she reserves her cruelest moment for Maggie. The difference between this scene and previous such outbursts is that in this case Pete offers Maggie a choice. The preceding descriptions of the melodramas establish the rationale for Maggie to accept Pete as her protector and salvation and to trust him with her care.