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by Sholom Asch

Genre: Drama
Format of Original Source: Play
Recommended Adaptation Length:

Candidate for Adaptation? Not Reviewed


THIEF. Look at yourself. What have they made of you? You walk the street all night like an outcast. Your children are afraid of you. They hide when they see you drunk on the street, and weep for you. Are you to blame for it? You were made one with a mass of flesh you hate. You sit bent over your boots the whole day long, and curses and blows are hurled at your head. And when night comes you crawl in the gutter, and you will crawl there till you will be freed from shame.

DRUNKARD. What are you telling me this for?

THIEF. And are you to blame for this? Have you had one minute of happiness in your whole life? Who took care of you? You were raised by your stepfather’s cane. Show me the scars on your body. They beat you from childhood on; first your stepfather, then your “step-wife.” No one ever spoke to you as to a friend. No one ever comforted you in your grief.

[The Drunkard falls to the ground and weeps.]

THIEF [to the Woman]. And he is an honest man. I know him. We went to the same school. He had an honest mother. She loved him only as a mother can. [Whispering to the Woman.] She brought him bread behind his stepfather’s back.

DRUNKARD. I will never drink again. I give my word of honor.

[He weeps.]

THIEF. Don’t cry, brother. We are all dogs of the street. But we unite to-day. Come with us, come. We will care for you. We will all be together. Take the Prostitute, and come with us.

[The old Prostitute rises and looks amazed.]


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