The Street by Ann Petry Essay

1579 Words7 Pages
In reflecting upon society, a monk, Swami Nirmalananda, thought, “Our modern society is engaged in polishing and decorating the cage in which man is kept imprisoned.” Society is full of cages whether its schools systems, laws, classism, etc. And of course, the biggest one, Racism. The cage of education is always being polished and decorated. That is why the achievement gap is still present and in many cases is correct about the education white, rich students receive compared to the one low class students receive. Education is a clear demonstration of cage that has been “polished and decorated” in history and is still today. The cage of Racism has also been reoccurring throughout history. In Harlem, around the 1970s, the dreams of black men, women and even children have been deferred. Their constant hard work has only been capable of paying rent and other necessities. Cages don’t only limit people and force them to believe they won’t accomplish their ultimate goals of success, but they also turn people into the things society expects. For example, in Harlem tenants were treated and viewed as animals and many of them converted into beasts with their attitudes and behaviors. Ann Petry’s renowned novel The Street, is a fictional story that presents all the realistic issues that were occurring in Harlem in the 1970’s and many that still occur today. Through the symbolism of the dog, Jones inner conflict, and the symbolism of Lutie’s Dream Ann Petry presents Jones as a manifestation of a dehumanizing society as he grows more animalistic. Petry characterizes Jones as animalistic through the symbolism of the dog. When Lutie meets the Jones She “hears the faint sound of steam hissing in the radiators” , she finds that the apartment is like hell the instant she opens it and before Jones speaks Petry presents the readers with the dog “the dog tried to plunge past the man and

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