The Street By Ann Petry Essay

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Ann Petry’s novel The Street (1946) is a commentary on the social injustices that confronted the protagonist Lutie Johnson. Lutie is a single African American mother who lives in segregated America during the 1940’s. Throughout the novel, we see that during this time period Lutie is confronted by racism, sexism, and classism on a daily basis while in her pursuit of the American Dream for herself and her son Bub. Lutie is convinced that if she follows the example of Benjamin Franklin, by working hard and saving wisely, she will be able to achieve the dream of being financially independent and therefore be able to move out from the Street in which she is confined to. Benjamin Franklin is embodied in the text through the character Junto. It is Junto that is supposed to get Lutie closer towards her dream. However, Junto, through his secret manipulations tries to possess Lutie sexually, ultimately leading Lutie towards her path of destruction and she ends up committing the murder of Junto’s henchman, Boots. Junto represents the writer Petry’s deep disillusionment with this cultural myth of the so-called American dream. In Richard Wright’s novel Native Son (1940), The protagonist Bigger Thomas, is a 20-year-old African American youth who grew up in segregated America during the 1930s. Throughout this novel, we see Bigger also striving towards the pursuit of the American Dream. Bigger risks everything to not compromise his pursuit towards success. Unfortunately, he ends up falling

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