The Street Setting Analysis

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In the novel, The Street, the author harnesses the use of multiple literary tools in order to convey the theme throughout the entirety of the story. Ann Petry makes proper use of setting and characterization in The Street, which illustrate how a person cannot always control what happens in their life despite the efforts they put into doing so. The main character of the book, Lutie Johnson, serves as a prime example of how one’s life can change because of the environment that a person is in. No matter how hard she works, the things around her seem to take over her life. The Street’s setting is shown to have a significant importance, as it affects both the characters in the story as well as the the perspective that the readers receive from…show more content…
One of the che character that troubles Lutie the most is the superintendent of the building where she lives, called Jones. Jones is portrayed to be a very bitter, troubled, and unattractive man who desires to be with Lutie. Described as “a tall gaunt man [that] towered in the doorway, looking at her… [H]is eyes had filled with a hunger so urgent that she was instantly afraid of him and afraid to show her fear” (10). The readers of the novel become aware that Jones is not a man that Lutie feels unsafe around. Jones is full of rage once he realizes Lutie does not want to be with him and contemplates how he can get back at her. His vengeful self is revealed as he proceeds to try to get Bub in trouble with the law and succeeds, impacting Lutie in a way that leaves her in hysterical tears. Bub being taken away from her was her worst fear that came to life because of someone else’s hatred for her. The final characters that affected Lutie’s life were Boots Smith and Junto. Junto held the key to her success in the palm of his hand but refused to help her unless she agreed to be with him. Junto is almost like puppet master, as he controls what so many people do and could change their lives for the better or worse if he wanted to. Boots’ career also relied on Junto and he refused to go backwards and live the undesirable life he once had. When Boots had hit Lutie, all the pent up anger within…show more content…
“[S]he was striking, not at Boots Smith, but at a handy, anonymous figure - a figure which her angry resentment transformed into everything she had hated, everything she had fought against, everything that had served to frustrate her… A lifetime of pent-up resentment went into the blows… First she was venting her rage against the dirty, crowded street. She saw the rows of dilapidated old houses… Jim and the slender girl she’d found him with… the gaunt Super pulling her down… she was striking at the white world which thrust black people into a walled enclosure from which there was no escape; and at the turn-of-events that forced her to leave Bub alone” (429-430). Lutie was angry at everyone and everything that caused her frustration and pain. Every person and environment she had been around shaped her life into something that she strove to change but was unable to. The Street puts real life into perspective, one does not have the power to rule over each aspect of their own life. Furthermore, this theme is relevant throughout the novel and proves true; living in a specific environment does influence who a person
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