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Course Handout 5 (II

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READING LIST:
 John Dos Passos, The Big Money, collected 1938.

 Jean Toomer, Cane (1923).

 Anzia Yezierska “Children of Loneliness” (1923).

John Dos Passos, The Big Money

1. NEWSREEL LXVIII
WALL STREET STUNNED
This is not Thirty-eight but it's old Ninety-seven You must put her in Center on time MARKET

SURE TO RECOVER FROM SLUMP
Decline in Contracts
POLICE TURN MACHINE GUNS ON COLORADO MINE STRIKERS KILL 5 WOUND 40
sympathizers appeared on the scene just as thousands of office workers were pouring out of the buildings at the
lunch hour. As they raised their placard high and started an indefinite march from one side to the other, they
were jeered and hooted not only by the office workers but also by workmen on a building under construction
NEW METHODS OF SELLING SEEN
Rescue Crews Try To Upend Ill-fated Craft While Waiting For Pontoons
We looked 'round an' said to his black greasy fireman Jus' shovel in a little more coal
And when we cross that White Oak Mountain You can watch your Ninety-seven roll
I find your column interesting and need advice. I have saved four thousand dollars which I want to invest for a
better income. Do you think I might buy stocks?
2. THE CAMERA EYE (51)
at the head of the valley in the dark of the hills on the broken floor of a lurchedover cabin a man halfsits halflies
propped up by an old woman two wrinkled girls that might be young chunks of coal flare in the hearth flicker in
his face white and sagging as dough blacken the cavedin mouth the taut throat the belly swelled enormous with
the wound he got working on the minetipple the barefoot girl brings him a tincup of water the woman wipes
sweat off his streaming face with a dirty denim sleeve the firelight flares in his eyes stretched big with fever in
the women's scared eyes and in the blanched faces of the foreigners

"No. the creamy brown color of her upper lip. I cannot tell you. I'm not tired. "Aren't you. after noticing it. When a roar of applause answered his last words and the hall filled suddenly with voices and the scrape and shuffle of feet she ran out ahead of the crowd and up the alley to the back door. Without looking at her he swept her along with the men he was talking to and walked them fast towards the corner of the street. Face flowed into her eyes. His face had the flushed smile. there was the shine in his eye he often had after speaking. if he has toughed you and made your own . the look. Don was just coming out of the black sheetiron door talking over his shoulder as he came to two of the miners' delegates. I'm hungry. "Tired?" She nodded. it immediately thereafter wavered in the direction of her eyes. Cane (1923) 1. The sky. Don?" He laughed and drawled. in such a way that wherever you glance may momentarily have rested. you sought her eyes. lazily disdaining to pursue The setting sun." Jean Toomer. It was some time before Don saw her in the group that gathered round him in the alley. Why. of a man who had just come from a date with his best girl. He stopped a second to hold the door open for them with a long arm. Her nose was aquiline. The soft suggestion of her down slightly darkened. MARY FRENCH Mary French had to stay late at the office and couldn't get to the hall until the meeting was almost over. Flowed in soft cream foam and plaintive ripples. she could only hear his ringing harsh voice and feel the tense attention in the silence during his pauses. too indolent to hold A lengthened tournament for the flashing gold Passively darkens for night’s barbecue A feast of moon and men and barking hounds An orgy for some genius of the South With blood-hot eyes and cane-lipped scented mouth Surprised in making folk-songs from soul sounds. There were no seats left so she stood in the back.without help in the valley hemmed by dark strikesilent hills the man will die (my father died. we know what it is like to see a man die) the women will lay him out on the rickety cot the miners will bury him in the jail it's light too hot the steamheat hisses we talk through the greenpainted iron bars to a tall white mustachioed old man some smiling miners in shirtsleeves a boy faces white from mining have already the tallowy look of jailfaces 3. Semitic. Mary tingled with the feeling of warm ownership in the looks of the workers as their eyes followed Don Stevens down the street. If you have heard a Jewish cantor sing. Mary used to tell herself. Eyes looked after them as they went from the groups of furworkers and garmentworkers that dotted the pavement in front of the hall. It wasn't until they were seated in a small lunchroom under the el that Don turned to Mary and squeezed her hand. like the shadow of a bird’s wing might. So many people were standing in front of her that she couldn't see Don. 2.

She could no longer sustain the conflict which raged within her higher and higher at every moment. you want to learn me in my old age how to put the bite in my mouth?’ The mother dropped the potato back into her plate. like mobile rivers. too wounded to eat. ‘But am I really alone in my seeking? I’m one of the millions of immigrant children. Our teacherin said you dassn’t touch no eatings with the hands. Ravinsky took the shell of the baked potato in her fingers and raised it to the watering mouth. ‘God! God!’ she sobbed as she turned her head away from them. children of loneliness. Wiping her hands on her blue-checked apron. I must hope for no help from the outside. The shelter from the storms of life that the artist finds in his art. ‘Yankev. she turned her glance to her husband.’ she said bitterly. wandering between worlds that are at once too old and too new to live in. I’m alone till I get there.’ retorted the old man. Yankev Ravinsky found in his prescribed communion with God. I’m through with it. and they gave the impression that nothing was to be denied. were in his sobbing voice. In this. And she felt as if she had torn away from the flesh and blood of her own body. merely because I can’t strangle my aching ambition to rise in the world. 2. ‘Oh. 3. to their common delta. I’m alone. Teacherin mine. Mother. can’t you use a fork?’ exclaimed Rachel as Mrs. I must face this loneliness till I get to the new world. “Children of Loneliness”) . ‘I have broken away from the old world. ‘Here. They were strange eyes. he felt the man of flesh drop away in the outflow of God around him. you will know my feeling when I follow the curves of her profile. for something outside myself. Frank Baker can’t help me. nothing that was obvious and tangible and that one could see.’ He continued to suck the marrow out if the bone with that nosy relish that was so exasperating to Rachel. But as he entered into the spirit of his prayer. ‘stick your bone on a fork. ‘if all this suffering were at least for something worth while. Anzia Yezierska “Children of Loneliness” (1923) 1. at the opposite side of the table. sorrow seem trivial when compared to his. ‘I ain’t going to learn nothing new no more from my American daughter. that they sought nothing – that is. All the despair cause by his daughter’s apostasy. It’s already behind me. (A.’ ‘All my teachers died in the old country. But to have to break them and crush them merely because I have a fastidious soul that can’t stomach their table manners. the insults and disappointments he suffered. With a sudden tension of all her nerves she pulled herself together and stumbled blindly downstairs and out of her house. Yezierska. 4.

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