The Making of a New Yorker (Henry)

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The Making of a New Yorker
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Trimmed Lamp»
Microsummary: A wandering poet struggled to understand the heart of New York City until an accident led to an outpouring of kindness and concern from its residents, making him feel at home.

Raggles was a wandering poet who traveled from city to city, seeking to understand the essence of each place. He had a unique way of perceiving cities, seeing them as feminine entities with distinct personalities. He had experienced the warmth and friendliness of cities like Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Boston, but when he arrived in New York City, he found it cold, impersonal, and impenetrable.

As Raggles wandered the streets of Manhattan, he felt ignored and overwhelmed by the city's apparent lack of humanity. He noticed certain types of people who seemed to embody the city's characteristics, such as an elderly gentleman who represented wealth and indifference, a beautiful woman who personified elegance and coldness, and a tough, swaggering man who exuded contempt for the world.

Raggles — wandering poet; observant, sensitive, curious; seeking the essence of cities.

Feeling defeated and disheartened, Raggles tried to beg for alms, but the people of New York paid him no attention. He began to believe that the city had no soul and that its inhabitants were merely lifeless mannequins. As he attempted to cross a busy street, he was struck by a vehicle and knocked unconscious.

When Raggles awoke, he found himself surrounded by concerned New Yorkers who had rushed to his aid. The elderly gentleman was angrily scolding the reckless driver, the beautiful woman was tending to his wounds with a gentle touch, and the tough man brought him a refreshing drink. The crowd that had gathered showed genuine concern for his well-being, and Raggles realized that he had finally found the heart of the city.

Me? said Raggles, with a seraphic smile, I feel fine.

After recovering in the hospital, Raggles defended New York's honor by attacking a fellow patient who spoke ill of the city. When asked why he did it, Raggles proudly declared his loyalty to his newfound home.

He was runnin’ down me town, said Raggles.