Discussing “Muttsy”

Muttsy is a story about how a man named Muttsy becomes enthralled with a young woman who was arrived in Harlem from Eatonville, Florida.

Like the conversion of Sam, Muttsy must change his ways. He was a gambler, and he ends up changing his ways in order to become a suitable man for the woman he loves. That is the crux of the story, but there is a lot more in there. What I got out of it was the way the story depicted the life of Pinky, the young woman who came up from the South.

She left the South, and she talks about how the treatment there was so bad, and she just wanted to get away. I am sure there were stories of the utopia that the North was supposed to be. She finds herself in a place where she does not have a home and she has no home to go back to. She is now in a juke joint where all sorts of things are going on.

She is not comfortable. You see how her life is just in turmoil and she is feeling powerless. When she does take control and says, no, I am not going to be here and I am not going to deal with Muttsy, that ends up changing at the end. There is a real heavy theme of possession of women by men. We saw the same theme in “The Conversion of Sam”, but you really see it in this story.

Because of the way Pinkie carries herself. And also because of her looks and her long hair, which is another big thing that people in the story went on and on about, she becomes this prize that all the men want to have and Muttsy gets her because he's the big man. He is the man's man of the group.

If you read it with a 2020 mentality, you will probably be very shocked at the way Pinkie is treated, but we must remember that this is the 1920s and the world was a different place. Opportunities for women were vastly different. So, keep that in mind when you read the story.

Compared to other stories I have read; this one is not my favorite. It is not bad. Compared to the previous stories, I just did not feel it was as complete. But again, I might be expecting too much out of a short story. I recommend that your read it and share your impressions. It is a good story for an impression of one woman's experience during the migration from the South to North. It is similar to the immigrant experience of people who left their country in Europe and came to New York. People were leaving their homes to go to a world that was quite different.

More discussions of Hurston's short stories.