Thecharacterization of Jimmie and Mary contribute to the theme of fate versus freewill and advocates for the idea that the environment that one lives in willdirectly affect the person that they become when they’re older. Jimmieis the ultimate product of his surroundings, reflecting the nasty attitudes ofhis parents and his neighborhood. He personifies the violence andrelentlessness of living life in the city and is doesn’t believe in anything asthe world hasn’t given him much to believe in.
Jimmie’s angry ways aredemonstrated in his refusal to forgive his sister for her moral foibles andtosses her to the street despite knowing that there is no hope for her in doingso. Even though she may not have known better in her mistakes, Jimmie expressesthe hardness that he’s acquired from his loss with humanity and just doesn’tcare. Mary,Maggie’s mother, has lost her husband and raised her children in poverty anddrinks to forget the pain in the reality of her life. Her drunken self wasviolent and intimidating to her children and she would often badmouth them tothe neighborhood. Mrs. Johnson’s cruel and alcoholic personality can hardly bethat of a responsible, caring mother and is in no way a role model for herchildren. It is obvious that she does not understand the unconditional love ofa mother when she throws Maggie out of the house and disowns her.
Maggieis desperate and trying to survive however possible once her family and herboyfriend leave her. She has been exposed to an awful lifestyle and is driveninto prostitution as a means of survival. Eventually, she is left with nooption besides suicide due to the breach between her intolerant realities andunrealistic.Maggieis the only character actively trying to get out of Bowery and escaping herfate but she is unable to do so.
Her attempt and failure even though shedoesn’t replicate many of the attitudes and character traits of her familyindicates that everyone is stuck in this cycle of violence and poverty and destinedto live out their lives of misery. Maggieis just someone with dreams and hopes just like the ambitions of any othergirl. Should she have been born anyone else and grown up elsewhere, she mayhave had a chance at achieving those hopes and dreams. However, her family’sneglect, unusually harsh treatment, and unstable system ultimately decide herfuture and deem her powerless in her effort to develop her own character.