The Street Essay

Topics: African American, White people, Black people Pages: 3 (842 words) Published: September 12, 2010
A women’s role in society can differ based on the environment they live in, whether it be an expectation to resort to prostitution, or developing a high social status, each atmosphere varies. In The Street, by Ann Petry, like Lutie Johnson, in addition to being a minority, the women living there are trapped by their surroundings because they are vulnerable and at risk. Lutie Johnson changed the roles of women in society because she is a dominant successful intellectual that was not allowing herself become a victim.

In the past, women’s roles were basically centered around cooking and cleaning, while the men went to work. The man was always seen as superior, powerful, and contained maximum control. Women were never expected to be able to obtain a job, "It's best that the man do the work when the babies are young… Not good for the woman to work when she‘s young" (Petry 33). In the society that Lutie is living in, women are expected to be housewives and always be lower than the higher male status. Because Lutie, on the other hand, was the “bread-winner” of the family, she developed dominance and authority over their household. She became a wife with power and leadership which led her to become a strong independent woman. Lutie proved to society that she can become a successful and independent women supporting a family, while facing racial discrimination, and sexist assumptions. Especially in Harlem, wherever one turns, it is very rare to seek a perception of a flourishing sovereign black woman, but Lutie was aspiring to make it possible. Lutie is an exception to the social normality and repetition of the expectation that African-American women will resort to prostitution as a savior to their collapsing lives.

Like the other women in Harlem, Lutie struggled to overcome poverty and become financially stable to support her household, while being a single mother. Lutie is unalike the other women in their environment, because she does not resort to...
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