In the excerpt from Ann Petry’s The Street, Lutie Johnson’s resistance to the city and the surrounding area of 110th street is shown through explicit imagery and personification of the wind. Petry is able to establish the obstacles of understanding a new place that may seem dark and harsh. .
Petry again personifies the wind“fingering its way along the curb” and trying to discourage the people walking along the street” to further show the constant chaos that exists within the Urban setting. In luties attempt to read the sign she in fact fails because the wind is “twisting the sign away from her and holding it at “an impossible angle.” Petry uses tthe wind to symbolize Lutie Jonson’s separation from the urban setting. She does this by personifying “the wind. When the wind “lifted Lutie Johnson’s hair away from the back of her neck so that she felt suddenly naked and bald,” readers were able to recognize the separation from the urban setting. Lutie Johnson had difficulty adjusting to the city while she yearned for the softly and warmly” resting environment she was used to.
Petry begins with personification of the “cold” wind that “rattled” and “sucked” and set windows “flapping.” This personification of the wind emphasizes Luties resistance towards the urban setting. The “barrage of paper swirled into the faces of the people on the street” represents the unwelcoming and unfriendliness qualities of the urban setting. However, Petry then describes the relationship Lutie has with the city by including details such as the sign “streaked with rust” and “the grit stung their skin.” further emphasize the harsh relationship Lutie Johnson has with the stark urban scene she experiences. Petry utilizes hyperbole in the line “its violent assault.” This shows the new, unfamiliar conditions Lutie Jonson will eventually endure in her urban environment. Petry uses the rusting metal “making a dark stain like blood” as a simile to eventually convey future events. Petry’s foreshadowing, paired with her imagery and personification, creates a dark future relationship between Lutie Johnson and the urban setting. Also, the personification the wind “stuck its fingers inside their coats “ conveys a feeling of resistance because the people seem to want to be away from the wind.
Petry is able to establish Lutie Johnson’s opposition to the, unfriendly urban setting through the personification of the wind. Petry conveys the difficulty of a new setting and the obstacles that may come along to see the positive things in a new place.