Ann Petry’s 1946 novel, The Street. Raw, real, and vibrant, life on the street pulses on, dominated by sharply drawn characters. Ann Petry’s first novel, “The Street,” was a literary event in 1946, praised and translated around the world — the first book by a black woman to sell more than a million copies. By crafting Lutie as beautifully human, while simultaneously paying close attention to the relationship that exists between physical space and freedom, Petry persuades readers that white people bear the ultimate responsibility for the fate of her characters. Hence, The Streetis also concerned with different aspects of urban life. Analysis Of The Street By Ann Petry 1129 Words | 5 Pages In the novel, The Street by Ann Petry the main character Lutie Johnson, a black woman is a single mother raising her son Bub in 1944 Harlem. The story begins with the main character, Lutie Johnson, looking at an apartment available for rent. How does Petry address the issue of the "woman as a . It pushed the walls back and back into space. Lutie has two strikes against her from birth. The Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement which brought out the literary interest of many black American writers is the theme behind many novels written in the period 1920-1935. The Street tells the poignant, often heartbreaking story of Lutie Johnson, a young black woman, and her spirited struggle to raise her son amid the violence, poverty, and … The novel begins in New York City on a cold and windy day in November of 1944. The Street opens with the story’s main character, Lutie Johnson, braving a bitter, cold wind as she walks through Harlem in New York City. After her audition with Mr. Crosse for a position as a singer, Lutie feels trapped, and comes to realize that her attempts to escape have been futile because ‘‘from the time she was born, she had been hemmed into an ever-narrowing space, until now she was very nearly walled in and the wall had been built up brick by brick by eager white hands.’’ Nor can she control the anger she feels in response to being trapped: ‘‘She was neatly caged here on this street and tonight’s experience had increased this growing frustration and hatred in her.’’ To preemptively counter those readers who are inclined to disagree, Lutie’s perspective is immediately juxtaposed with that of Bub’s white teacher, Miss Rinner, who incorrectly attributes the erratic animal-like behavior of her black students to their lack of morality rather than differences in privilege that existed between white and black residents of New York. Sara Constantakis, Novels for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Novels, Ann Petry, Volume 33, Gale-Cengage Learning, 2010. As a strong, beautiful woman, she evokes the sympathy of readers, who cannot help but admire her strength and perseverance while those around her insist that she succumb to the lure of easy money by prostituting herself—a proposition that Lutie rejects in spite of her desperation. Petry's novel is a commentary on the social injustices that confronted her character, Lutie Johnson, as a single black mother in this time period. And then she thought about the other streets. Ann Petry’s “The Street” was the first novel by a black woman to sell more than a million copies. Read the selection carefully and then write an essay analyzing how Petry establishes Lutie Johnson’s relationship to the urban setting through the use of such literary devices as imagery, personification, selection of detail, and figurative language. The Street, written by Ann Petry and published in 1946, follows Lutie Johnson, a single mother of a young boy named Bub, who moves into a new apartment in Harlem during the 1940s. The score for an exceptionally well-written essay may be raised by It pushed the world of people’s kitchen sinks back where it belonged and destroyed the existence of the dirty streets and small shadowed rooms.”. To make her protest against institutional racism rhetorically compelling, Petry must successfully dispel the misguided notion that problems of the ghetto may be attributed to some failing on the part of its residents. Willing to do anything short of selling her body for money, Lutie makes every effort to escape the physical walls of her apartment in Harlem and overcome the many racial barriers to opportunity that press in on her with increasing force as she moves closer to her tragic fate. In The Street, Ann Petry utilizes dark personification, violent imagery, and terrifying selection of detail to compare the “cold November wind” to life’s obstacles. The setting of this novel is Harlem in the 1940s. The first 34 lines of the novel are mainly focused on describing the environment. Her 1946 debut novel The Street became the first novel by an African-American woman to sell more than a million copies. In The Street, Petry uses imagery as a tool to establish a relationship between the setting and Lutie. Organized into eighteen chapters and set in … . Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1946. This was the reality. Despite the squalid conditions of the apartment, and the strange and even threatening behavior of the building’s superintendent, Jones , Lutie takes the apartment because she knows she has few other options … The Street by Ann Petry: Literary Analysis “There was a cold November wind blowing through 116 th Street.” You’re alone in an unfamiliar, grimy and bitter city, just looking for a place to spend the night. In the beginning of the novel, Petry introduces the idea that Lutie’s perception of space is tied to her life journey: ‘‘As the train gathered speed for the long run to 125th Street, the passengers settled down into small private worlds, thus creating the illusion of space between them and their fellow passengers.’’ Implying that everyone has a need for a private psychological world, Petry’s description of the crowded train suggests that a relationship exists between the need for physical and psychological space. The same people who had made themselves small on the train, even on the platform, suddenly grew so large they could hardly get up the stairs to the street together.”. The wind Lutie faces is personified as a hostile character, mirroring the aggressive attitude of many white Americans toward … By quietly earning the readers’s sympathy for Lutie as a human being and then gradually introducing readers to the idea that white people are to blame for the one-way train Lutie boarded at birth, Petry gives herself a chance to be heard by white and black readers alike and succeeds in protesting the status quo. Petry, Ann. By aligning the plights of her characters, Petry bridges the gap between her feminine ideal, Lutie, and those characters who gave up the futile fight against institutional racism long ago, thereby extending the implications of Lutie’s story to all African Americans who are forced to live in the ghettos of the inner city by unfair governmental and business lending practices. Ann Petry This Study Guide consists of approximately 50 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Street. The story deals with the life and trials of the Mulatto woman Lutie Johnson and her struggle to find a place in this environment for herself and her son. Country Place by Ann Petry (1947) came on the heels of the massive success of her first novel, The Street, published just the year before. Your online site for school work help and homework help. Supe was captain of the detectives and he, Bub, was his most valued henchman.”. Sara Constantakis, Novels for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Novels, Ann Petry, Volume 33, Gale-Cengage Learning, 2010 Laura Noll, Critical Essay on The Street, in Novels for Students, Gale, Cengage Learning, 2010. By introducing Lutie’s experience of changing physical and psychological spaces in a neutral context relevant to all people regardless of race, Petry builds a foundation onto which she can build an argument with universal appeal: “She noticed that once the crowd walked the length of the platform and started up the stairs toward the street, it expanded in size. Science Teacher and Lover of Essays. Most of the imagery included in the novel, such as, “the dirt got into their noses, making it hard to breathe,” reveals more about the hostile and nearly uninhabitable environment. The wind is described negatively by its actions towards pedestrians further, as driving people off the streets and doing “everything it could to discourage the people walking along the street.” (Lines 21-22) By giving the setting human-like qualities, it makes it easier for the reader compare it with Lutie, and find the relationship between the two. With Lutie’s uncompromising attitude toward her body, Petry insists to readers that black people are human. ANN PETRY (1908-1997) was a reporter, pharmacist, teacher, and community activist. The apartment is located on 116th Street in Harlem, New York, and Johnson immediately despises the apartment supervisor, Jones, as he has taken a sexual fantasy to Lutie. In his famous essay ‘‘Everybody’s Protest Novel,’’ writer James Baldwin critiques the genre of protest fiction popular with African American authors, arguing that the ‘‘failure of the protest novel lies in its rejection of life, the human being, the denial of beauty.’’ With the very human, sympathetic Lutie, Petry appears to succeed where her contemporaries fail. Article last reviewed: 2019 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2020 | Creative Commons 4.0. Capitalism & The American Dream The Sexual Politics of Race and the Racial Politics of Gender Classism: How do Lutie and Min attempt to break free of the constraints living in society where they are constantly victimized by men? An Analysis of "The Street" by Ann Petry by Sirinya Pakditawan (Author) ISBN-13: 978-3656841746 ISBN-10: 3656841748 Why is ISBN important? Later, Lutie sings and catches the attention of Boots Smith, a sly man who falsely promises a music career to her. For this purpose her determined protagonist, Lutie Johnson, is perfect. Unfortunately, as becomes increasingly obvious throughout the novel, the escapes available to African Americans, especially women and children in Harlem, are no more than dangerous traps that seal their fate. Intimately tied to the success of her protest is Petry’s treatment of space. In her novel, Petry uses personification in the interest of establishing a relationship between the setting and Lutie Johnson. Analysis Of The Street By Ann Petry 1129 Words5 Pages In the novel, The Street by Ann Petry the main character Lutie Johnson, a black woman is a single mother raising her son Bub in 1944 Harlem. Lutie’s unsuccessful attempts to find more space for herself and Bub are not unlike Mrs. Hedges’s escape from a burning building, ‘‘determined that she would force her body through the narrow window.’’ Like Mrs. Hedges, Lutie survives the novel physically, escaping on a train to Chicago; however, also like Mrs. Hedges, she withdraws from the people who love her. . “There was a cold November wind blowing through 116th Street.” You’re alone in an unfamiliar, grimy and bitter city, just looking for a place to spend the night. The Street, naturalistic novel by Ann Petry, published in 1946, that was one of the first novels by an African American woman to receive widespread critical acclaim. In order to establish this complex relationship between Lutie and the urban setting, Petry employs personification, imagery and characterization. It was any street where people were packed together like sardines in a can. The Street is a novel published in 1946 by African-American writer Ann Petry. . Science, English, History, Civics, Art, Business, Law, Geography, all free! The struggle by Lutie Johnson to make a home for her eight-year-old son, Bub, to keep him off the streets, to give him the opportunity to grow up unwrapped by fear and violence and evil … with the setting in Harlem we see a slice of life hitherto unknown to most of us. Petry is able to establish the After she had been in them just a few minutes, the walls seemed to come in toward her, to push against her.’’ Likewise, Lutie’s desire to find a better place to live is framed in terms of a need for space: ‘‘Now that she had this apartment, perhaps the next thing she ought to do was to find another one with bigger rooms.’’ Again keeping the prejudices of white readers at bay, Petry conveys Lutie’s experience in terms that are not racially specific while simultaneously evoking sympathy for Lutie’s struggle. She reworked her experiences as a reporter for two Harlem newspapers, The Amsterdam News and The People’s News, into her novel The Street. Students are rewarded for what they do well. so they could believe in themselves again,’’ and with the powerful relief provided by the illusion of increased space: “The big mirror in front of her made the Junto an enormous room. Let us do your homework! Going upstairs after school to a silent, empty house was not real either. Ann Petry (October 12, 1908 – April 28, 1997) was an American writer of novels, short stories, children's books and journalism. 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Through the combined use of these devices and others, Petry is able to make the reader relate to Lutie in this new, harsh and confusing environment. Print. Our May 2020 pick for the PBS NewsHour-New York Times book club is Ann Petry’s “The Street.” Become a member of the Now Read This book club … The other was a bad dream. Like Lutie’s, the parallel struggles of other adult women in the novel are tragic. Theodore Roethke’s "My Papa's Waltz": Summary & Analysis, Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "The Street by Ann Petry: Literary Analysis," in. The Street Chapters 1-3 Summary & Analysis Chapter 1 Summary The novel opens as Lutie Johnson walks the uninviting streets of Harlem looking for a new apartment for herself and her 8-year-old son, Bub. Tutor and Freelance Writer. Throughout these lines, Petry uses words like “dirt and dust and grime,” to negatively characterize the setting and make it seem unappealing to the reader. The streets are dirty and empty and the harsh wind outside does “everything it could to discourage the people walking along the street,” (2). As Lutie discovers after noticing the disparity between her own observations of an event and the way it is presented in the newspaper, ‘‘it all depended on where you sat how these things looked.’’ Viewing her situation from a new vantage point after experiencing multiple setbacks in her attempt to find decent work, Lutie begins to recognize that her situation is not unique: ‘‘It was a bad street. (Lines 36-38) Each piece of imagery that Petry chooses to include in her novel reveals a little bit more about the relationship between Lutie and the setting. The train is in motion, serving as a metaphor for Lutie’s life journey and the processes of changing race relations in the inner-city. At the end of the third paragraph, the wind is described ‘assaulting’ people on the street, “the wind grabbed their hats, pried their scarves from around their necks, stuck its fingers inside their coat collars, blew their coats away from their bodies.” (Lines 31-34) Personifying the wind as having “fingers” is enough to create a tense and eerie tone. Print Word PDF Like the other black characters in Petry’s work, the novel’s protagonist Lutie Johnson and her son Bub are victims of an institutional racism that grants privileges to Anglo Americans while denying them to African Americans. Of Lutie Johnson, looking at an apartment available for rent in his devious ploy to hurt Lutie and main! Humanity out of people—slowly, surely, inevitably. ’ ’, imagery and characterization meet your deadline. She illuminated the range of black and white experience in her novels, short stories, and racism others! Experience in her novel, Petry uses imagery as a tool to establish a between. 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