Political import this novel was nearly impossible for me to put down despite its simple plot I ust had to know what would happen next If I were writing the blurb I d call it compulsive and compulsory This book treats with unflinching clarity the poverty racism and sexism that trap the young black woman Lutie Johnson Her husband is unable to find work so she takes a The Deepest Sin job as a maid in the suburbs This separates her from her husband and son for weeks at a time leading to the destruction of the marriage She and her 8 year old son Bub wind up living in the only apartment she can afford on 116th Street in Harlem Every step Ludie takes to pull herself up is thwarted by her color her lack of money and by men who surround her like a pack of dogs slobbering over their prey Things do not go well for her or Bub Whether in Harlem in the 1940s Paris in the late 18th century as depicted by Emile Zola in The Gin Palace or today sometimes it isust not possible to escape your circumstances This book was very sad but uite realistic and wonderfully written I listened to the audio book and the narrator Shayna Small was excellent however some idiot producer decided that it would be a good idea to insert random and poorly executed sound effects like doors slamming dogs snoring doorbells trains etc They really cheapened the experience Don t talk to me about Germans They re only doing the same thing in Europe that s been done in this country since the time it started Since a grand ury ruled that Daniel Pantaleo s The Street to Lutie Johnson meant 116th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues New York City For those who don t know that s Harlem Lutie is looking here for an apartment for her and her son Bub She wants her own apartment away from her Pop where she believed Lil her Pop s current live in girlfriend is a bad influence to BubThe apartment in uestion is a fourth floor walkup with dark narrow hallways located in the back of the building There is a bedroom a living room a kitchen and a bathroom Bub will have to sleep on the sofa She did not care much for the Super Mr Jones who showed her the apartment or for the nosey neighbor Mrs Hedges who had her head sticking out her first floor window when Lutie had arrived But at twenty nine fifty 2950 a month at least she would be getting her eight 8 year old away from Pop s place The Street was a big change for Lutie who had at one time had her own house with her husband Jim But things did not work out when Lutie became the sole provider for the family She had to take a ob as a live in maid in Connecticut and was only able to come home twice a month to her husband and son Lutie was a high school graduate but it was the only ob she could find at the time Her husband could find no ob Much later after receiving a call from her Pop Lutie came home to find Jim with another women Jim was not apologetic and Lutie took Bub and moved in with Pop Lutie took the civil service exam and was able to get a lower level government ob She was ambitious and thought she could move up and do better for her and Bub After paying rent she did not have much left over and must abide by a strict budgetThe Super had wanted Lutie from the time he first saw her and vowed to himself to win her over The Super currently lived on the first floor with a woman named Min who he lost interest in the minute he first saw Lutie Mrs Hedges had eyes on Lutie for a man that she knew a nice white gentleman Bud went from coming home to an undesirable environment to coming home to an empty apartment on The Street Lutie was convinced that she was doing better and would continue to make advancements if they could ust keep on their budget and she could save money She kept expressing this to BubThe Super thinks that if he can get rid of Min that he can get Lutie So he decides that he will put her out Min feels that she is at risk and visits the Prophet David A Root Doctor After Min Explains Her root doctor After Min explains her to Prophet David he gave a red liuid to put in the Super s coffee two candles to burn some power to spread around for protection and a cross He also told her to make sure the house was cleaned well Ten dollars please Prophet David said he could not do anything about Lutie but that Min would not get put out It is amazing how things change with a confidence boost Min went home knowing that she would not be put out And she wasn t Lutie spurges one evening and goes to a bar Junto Bar and Grill After a few beers she is feeling good and singing loud with the music She has a good voice and gets noticed One of the persons that notices her was Boots Smith another is Old Man Junto a nice white gentleman Boots tell Lutie she can make money singing with his band She is excited with the possibility The plan is for her to tryout with his band the next night Lutie is a hit with the band and the patrons Lutie had been warned about men by her grandmother She knows that Boots wants than to help her But she waits till the second night to ask about her salary In the meantime Old Man Junto had summoned Boots and told him he wanted Lutie for himself and not to offer her a salary Old Man Junto owned both the bar and grill and the club where Boots band played Lutie leaves the club
the second night after hearing that she won t paid because the Old Man says she IS NOT READY MRS HEDGES HAS not ready Mrs Hedges has told the Super to stay away from Lutie It turns out the Old Man also owns the apartment buildingThe Super is PISSED He can t have Lutie and for some reason is scared to put Min out He believes that Lutie has turned him down and is messing around with Old Man Junto He tries to think of a way to get back at her He decides to get Bub in trouble Bub gets arrested from a scheme designed and put in place by the Super Lutie finds an attorney and he agrees to get Bub out of trouble but it will cost her two hundred dollarsShe has no idea where to get this money She finally thinks of Boots who she believes will loan it to her Of course Boots gets Old Man Junto involved When Lutie goes to Boots apartment to get the loan he has promised her she sees the Old Man Boots takes her in the bedroom to explain She wants no part of this and screams for Boots to get the Old Man out of there Boots thinks this is his opportunity to have Lutie than give her to the Old Man It does not work out that way After the Old Man leaves Boots tries to force himself on Lutie He smacks her several times in the face Lutie is fast enough to grab an iron candlestick The candlestick proves harder than Boots skullNow Lutie believes she has murdered Boots She takes money out of his wallet for Bub s attorney Then after removing the door key from his pocket leaves to go to the attorney It comes to her that she will probably be known as an unfit mother for murdering Boots Who would release Bub to an unfit mother Lutie thinks that Bub will be better off without her Lutie take the money and takes a train to Chicago She thinks that Bub will have a better chance by going to reform schoolThe story is about race gender and class This is a debut novel for Ann Petry first published in 1946 There are many conflicts twists and turns In the end Lutie had talked to Bub so much about money that he ended up trying to get money by helping the Super who had actually tricked him into thinking he was helping to catch crooks. Rk The Street was Ann Petry's first novel a beloved bestseller with than a million copies in print Its haunting tale still resonates today.
On The Second Night After Hearing That She Won T
Summary Ï PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free ´ Ann PetryA blurb on the back cover of my edition calls The Street as much a historical document as it is a novel I think that is accurate The novel records the corrosive effects of racism poverty and sexism on Lutie Johnson a single mother living in Harlem in the mid 1940s The grim existence of Lutie and others on the street is unrelenting and left me reeling What an ending I didn t see it coming but it did feel like Lutie Johnson the main character was teetering on the edge since page one and I guess they pushed her too many times I feel like The Street relates so much so to the here and now It s 70 years later and has many things changed Not really This book was an excercise in how not to lose your mind but it s so much than that It s about how microaggressions and racism can push a woman to the extreme ends of sanity and rage I haven t felt so mindfucked from an ending since Bend Sinister Yet whereas Nabokov does it simply because he can in The Street it serves to underline the message and I would say message rather than plot because Petry was a political writer and this novel certainly is that besides being a wonderful piece of fiction Some books shouldn t have happy endings life in 1940 s Harlem as a single mother didn t often have a happy ending and some types of books should ust completely break you because maybe it wouldn t get through otherwise In Petry s novel the characters are not simply good or bad they are ust people acting according to the natural logical conseuences of their conditions the result of genocidal economics in action Yet even the character Junto who comes to embody the crudest kind of predatory capitalism much in the way Ben Harrison embodies dickface trolling is still a pawn in the socialeconomic conditions of which he is largely unaware I see Petry often compared to Richard Wright and there is certainly a compassion to be made with this novel and Native Son yet for me as much as I did understand what Wright was saying and the significance of his protagonist becoming a murderer on a rational level I ust never really bought it as a narrative Petry I buy and based on this novel I say she is far talented than Wright best Wright storyThe Man Who Lived Underground The paradox of Lutie s very resistance to the pressures of the unrelenting ontological angst of living in such dehumanizing conditions leading her to commit a horrendous act is illuminated in a way Wright never captured My only complaint of this novel is the noticeable lack of unicorns 27220What a ride Such a stellar and heartbreaking book I m so glad I got to read this with my book club It s now one of my all time favourites2720Reading this book with my patrons this month SO EXCITED28220Found this one during one of my book scave The street could motivate or obliterate The street could consume and devour Here the street is a personified stronghold dreams come alive or they burn because of the streetSometimes I start the first few pages of a book and realize immediately that it will have a treasured rating on my physical and goodreads shelves Sometimes after the finality I sit in silence and thumb the highlighted pages of my copy flipping again through its contents physically and mentally attempting to pinpoint its uniueness allowing myself to once again become consumed by the singularity of a particular book The measured movement of the words in this novel captivates rhythm forming a parallel with a meaningful plot of heartbreak and pain Her voice had a thin thread of sadness running through it that made the song important that made it tell a story that wasn t in the words a story of despair of loneliness of frustrationListen to the tunes of a young black immigrant woman who moves to New York City to work and support a husband and child in Jamaica hear a refrain of disloyalty and toil a stanza of child rearing and long hours of work in a place where the neighbors are the worst enemies notice the repeated hook of a torturous street that can t be avoided when it is all a person can afford what you ll hear is a melancholic hymn of a dream displaced She had come this far poor and black and shut out as though a door had been slammed in her face Well she would shove it open she would beat and bang on it and push against it and use a chisel in order to get it open I suspect Petry became the first black woman to sell than a million copies of a novel not because she wrote like the Richard Wrights before her but because she did not From these words the real portrait of a hard working segment of women rarely illuminated emerges and if you ve ever spent a few years in inner city New York huddled in a small apartment fearful of spending too much time on the street you understand Lutie s despair over her son Dirty dark filthy traps Upstairs Downstairs In my lady s chamber Click goes the trap when you pay the first month s rent Walk right in It s a free country Dark little hallways Stinking toiletsI read Petry and I see the words of Buchi Emecheta and Fumiko Enchi I see the Lutie Johnsons of this world who must balance long work hours with proper childcare and in the interim be classified as bad mothers I see the women who must escape the prison of prostitution that looms around them I see unmarried mothers engaged in the struggle to get paid eually so that they too can manage their households I see the women who raise men I see women of the city who spend hours getting from home to work and back women whose children lose their childhoods those women who can never seem to find their way out of the poverty cycle I read Petry and I see the street clearly I m hesitant to give this four stars for a couple of reasons one because I know it was flawed in certain important ways but to me the stars have to do with how much I personally enjoyed a book not how technically good it was so I think that s okay The main reason I m afraid of singing this book s praises too loudly is that I really loved it and being able to see its problems and knowing other people might not think it s good really hurts my feelings I feel protective of this book and it upsets me to think about other people maligning it So please don t read this unless you re going to like it The Street is Ann Petry s 1946 novel about single mother Lutie Johnson s efforts to raise her son and
escape poverty while living on 116h street betweenpoverty while living on 116h Street between and Eighth Avenues In Harlem Young Black in Harlem Young black poor and socially isolated Lutie is constantly and acutely aware of the ways in which her existence and her son s future are limited and crushed by the forces of racism and class I am sure that today s college students really freak out about this book for its sophisticated mid twentieth century examination of the paradigm of intersectionality race class gender It s all here in this artfully structured novel that moves easily among the perspectives of a handful of the Street s denizens I found the characters in this book to be brilliantly crafted Petry has us see through the eyes not ust of Lutie but of her eight year old son their malevolent predatory mentally deranged super the super s pathetic oppressed but resilient companion the building s massive and fire scarred red kerchiefed madam and other characters whose individuality comes to life even as Petry lends them each the dignity of her distinctive. THE STREET tells the poignant often heartbreaking story of Lutie Johnson a young black woman and her spirited struggle to raise her son am. And I thought uite beautiful voice That s really hard to do and this book accomplished it The characters make decisions and behave in ways that are often strange morally uestionable or undoubtably wrong but the author successfully makes them so human that we understand their reasoning and can t fully udge them The Street suffered from two major problems one social novel syndrome by which I mean that Petry s obvious efforts to show the effects of racism and injustice on individuals lives did often overwhelm the story and get too annoyingly obvious Every page has Lutie s meditations on the the effects of racism poverty and segregated urban slums and it did get tiresome and undermined the book s power But a lot of this might have been due to its other flaw first novel syndrome The Street was Petry s first book and it has many marks of that including unnecessary repetition a failure at crucial points to trust the reader and what I thought was a hasty melodramatic and unbelievable ending I m definitely interested in reading Petry s other books to see what she was like when she matured as a writer Her gifts of character and description are I thought sensational I can picture Lutie s apartment the building and her street nearly as vividly as I can see my own and all the characters were as physically and nearly as psychologically real to me as the people I encounter in daily life Since few books can convey a physical environment to me so well I really found this to be specialI definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in a depiction of Harlem in the days before drugs on a wide scale guns housing projects white gentrification and extensive social services and welfare benefits I m pretty familiar with the neighborhood she s talking about and it was very interesting to see how things have and have not changed since the 1940s This is one of the better novels I ve read about Black American urban life in the pre Civil Rights era and I might recommend it for that to some parties But the real reason I thought The Street was so good was on its merits as a work of fiction While I know the social novel stuff could turn off a lot of readers I felt the same delight from this as from a good children s storybook a very disturbing upsetting children s storybook with a lot of sex and violence and human suffering But it almost seemed illustrated that s how vivid it was I will definitely be reading by Ann Petry and I ll recommend this book despite my concerns though if you think it s bad I don t really want to hear about it Lutie Johnson does everything right She works hard struggles to save puts her son first tries to protect him from loneliness discomfort and the influences of the street full of poor struggling folks While working for a white family as a live in housekeeper she absorbed the philosophy the men espoused wealth is available to anyone who works for it in this country She studies gets a respectable white collar ob and keeps studying so that she can some day get a piddling promotion She isn t color struck She takes responsibility for her own success or lack of it keeps healthy and has an innate store of self respect If anyone can pull herself up by her bootstraps it s Lutie and for me the most vivid takeaway from this story is that bootstraps theory is a barbed cruel trapFor Lutie her family and all tge residents of the street one weighty materialisation of this trap is RENT Living in London I can relate but the opening of the book in which Lutie contemplates the horrible living conditions she is about to pay such an extortionate price for showed how much uglier the word looms for people trying to make the frayed ends of small salaries and low wages meet In such grinding poverty conditions the motivation to seek any kind of hustle is intense and affects Lutie s eight year old son who tries to take up shining shoes like other boys on the streetLutie s description of the division between her and white people as a wall erected
BY THEM NOT HER BUT VISIBLE TO HER NOTthem not her but visible to her not reminded me of Sara Ahmed s work she often writes about walls that obstruct some bodies and not others Lutie is
Baffled By The Factby the fact white women are worried she might have an affair with one of their thin unhappy husbands she wondered why they had the idea that all colored girls were whores The looks full of contempt and assumptions from white people make her never feel human until she reaches Harlem At the time formal segregation confined black people to the neighbourhood though of course white people own the properties rented out so expensively as well as the shops They also take the obs one of the voices Petry takes on is that of a disinterested lazy white teacher who works in a Harlem school full of hate for her charges and so ashamed to work in such poor conditions that she keeps her workplace secret Lutie also sees the neighbourhood as a bad environment that she keeps her workplace secret Lutie also sees the neighbourhood as a bad environment her attitudes contrast with the white teacher s who sees black people inherently as the problem Lutie sees clearly what is wrong there are no obs for black men so the women go out to work in low paying domestic service and the men become idle Why is there no outside work for the men and why don t they take on the burden of house work and child care Simple white supremacist capitalist patriarchyTo broaden the perspective the other main characters include the superintendant of the building Lutie moves into who has become malevolent and obsessive from spending too much time living in cellars and a middle aged domestic service worker who now that she has found a way of living rent free will do almost anything to maintain the situation These characters have highly developed idiosyncratic voices Petry calls them startlingly into being Mrs Hedges who sits watching the street and makes an adeuate living from the sex workers who make use of her apartment is a complex interesting character seen very differently by Lutie the super and other people on the street She is kind and protective but at times reveals an exploitative attitude to other people that is reflected in her unfeeling eyesLutie s attractiveness to black men who are meant to be helping her because they have taken on positions that place this obligation on them and white men who are gatekeepers to all the exit routes from her oppressive situation has a huge weight in the narrative At times I felt this was too important but I started to uestion my white feminist perspective and to think that this was deliberate not ust a prop to make the plot work but important for two reasons firstly because the attractiveness of black women is maligned by white supremacist media and advertising which positions the white woman as the ideal of attractiveness and femininity Here Lutie is considered beautiful by everyone and desired by black and white men belying the trope Secondly white supremacist capitalist patriarchy defines how Lutie s attractiveness will function men long to own her body and constantly leverage their different forms of power over her to try to fulfil their desire The reflection she wondered why they had the idea that all colored girls were whores becomes increasingly ironic as the constantly arising pressures created by the actions or complicity of those whites pushing Lutie into sex work stack upAs well as being of great social and. Id the violence poverty and racial dissonance of Harlem in the late 1940s Originally published in 1946 and hailed by critics as a masterwo.