Lovecraft, Lovecraft-H.P.

The Street

The StreetThe Street

There once was a street that started out as only a few settlers. There were a few shacks. People had come from across the ocean and settled there. The land was harsh. There were dangers and unfriendly natives. A man in a tall hat would often patrol the street at night with a musket. Time went on. The street grew. There began to be more shacks. Then there began to be actual houses. There were all sorts of people there.

Then more and more people started to come. All sorts of people started to be on the street. There were people from all parts of the globe on the street. It was not the same place it once was. The street was dangerous in its way. IT was said that terrorists were living on the street, plotting some evil plot. Before they could fulfill their plot, the buildings on the street collapsed on top of the terrorists, and once again, there were visions of gardens and trees.

Observations

I feel as if this story could apply to any location. Times change and places change. The T word wasn’t a big word back in the early 1900s, but apparently it had been tossed around a bit.

Themes

Things do change, as I mentioned before. Neighborhoods that were once nice, and safe, are no longer that way. I feel that this story could be speaking of any neighborhood that has gone from a respected neighborhood, to housing crime. I’m going to say crime, because that’s what I feel it should be, although, there are those who will say that the neighborhood has gotten to be inhabited by different kinds of people and that’s what makes it bad, but that’s not the case, it’s crime that makes a neighborhood bad, not the fact that a bunch of circus performers moved in the neighborhood, or whatever.

Things progress. A few shacks can turn into a city. With that, things can certainly change. Neighborhoods that were once nice places to live can turn into places were drugs are sold on the corner and homes are broken into nightly. It happens. Neighborhoods can also house very dangerous people–drug lords, terrorists, and gang members, just to mention a few unsavory groups of people. Neighborhoods do not take it upon themselves to fall down upon bad people, though.

Here’s the thing–I feel that H.P. is drawing a rather broad assumption in this story. The story speaks of foreigners moving into the neighborhood and that somehow makes it less desirable. That’s called racism, or in a broader sense, discrimination. It doesn’t have to be the neighborhood where all the people of one specific race live, what generally happens is this “bad” neighborhood is where all the poor people live, regardless of race. The poor neighborhood is usually the bad neighborhood. Yeah, maybe there are a bunch of thieves and drug dealers living there, generally, because they’re poor and they’re trying to make ends meet however they can, even if that is selling pot to twelve-year olds on the corner. It’s not something to be condoned, but it’s certainly a harsh truth.

People don’t like being reminded that there is this big group of poor people over in XYZ neighborhood. They’ll complain about how nice the neighborhood used to be, before all those people moved in there. Well, where else were they supposed to go? Often, cities will make projects out of the poorer neighborhoods because all the other, not poor, people don’t like the idea of there being a poor neighborhood in their town. Spartanburg, SC is doing that very thing. It’s small news, but Spartanburg used eminent domain to claim an apartment complex where many poorer people lived to build some community project. Does the project need to happen? Nope. It’s pretty much a way to move the poor people out of a certain area of town. It happens.

This is kind of the same attitude that H.P. has about the immigrants in this story. Turns out, H.P. was totally justified in being hard on the immigrants in this story because they were terrorists, surprise, surprise, but how often is that actually true? A neighborhood is not “bad” because poor people, or foreign people, or people of a different race live there. A bad neighborhood is a place where you have to lock your car door if you walk five feet away to get your mail because someone will jack your stereo, while you have your back turned, because they were totally hiding behind a bush all day just waiting for you to open your car door. so they could steal your stereo.

I think bad neighborhoods do exist, but they’re not the poor neighborhoods, and they’re not bad for the reasons H.P. tends to think that they’re bad. Does any of that make sense?

Overall

H.P. is like, “Oh, no! We got some new neighbors and they’re not just like me!”

Weigh In

Does H.P. seem a little racism-y?

In your experience, is the so-called “bad neighborhood”considered bad because of crime, or is it considered bad because the poor people live there?

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