While often treated as a realist novel about the interior lives of its characters and their internal experiences of oppression, Ann Petry’s The Street may also be read as a powerful protest novel—one with the potential to provoke specific political and social changes for the benefit of African Americans and women. Like the other black…
Tag: Ann Petry
The Street by Ann Petry: Setting
Rise of the Harlem Renaissance After the abolition of slavery in 1865, the racial climate in the South became increasingly hostile toward African Americans. Lynch mobs and widespread violence posed a constant threat to the physical safety and well-being of these individuals and, as a result, many African Americans chose to migrate to northern states….
The Street by Ann Petry: Themes
Pursuit of the American Dream While working for the Chandlers, a white family of considerable wealth, Lutie is exposed to the idea that success and financial freedom are the guaranteed outcomes of hard work and perseverance—the American Dream. Determined to transcend her impoverished circumstances in Harlem, Lutie adopts this mentality and worries about money constantly….
The Street by Ann Petry: Characters
Jonathan Chandler Jonathan Chandler, also referred to as Mr. Chandler, commits suicide on Christmas Eve in front of the whole Chandler family, including live-in maid Lutie and Little Henry Chandler. Afterward, the Chandlers pay off a number of officials to make sure the incident is recorded as an accident in the public records. This episode…
The Street by Ann Petry: Summary
Chapter 1 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. The wind Lutie faces is personified as a hostile character, mirroring the aggressive attitude of many white Americans toward African Americans during the pre-civil rights era. More generally, the…