The Street Writing Style & Techniques

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The Street is often described as a female version of Richard Wright's Native Son, and Lutie Johnson has been called a female Bigger Thomas. Petry's first novel is also seen as an example of the naturalism characteristic of twentieth-century African-American fiction.

But to see Petry as a lesser Richard Wright is to slight her achievement.

The Street protests the racism and sexism in the urban North. Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) is another novel of womanist protest that has an African-American female protagonist. But Hurston's protagonist, Janie Crawford, is rural and southern and transcends her condition through self-discovery and self-definition. The Street presents a poor northern urban protagonist and does not go beyond protest. While Janie protests her condition as black and female and eventually transcends her status, Lutie's story is one of protest and defeat, and she eventually flees the...

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This section contains 219 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy The Street Study Guide
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