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"Yes, you could put it like that. Existentialism also had a great influence on literature, from the forties to the present day, ebittorrent android descargasspecially on drama. Sartre himself wrote plays as well as novels. Other important writers were the Frenchman Albert Camus, the Irishman Samuel Beckett, Eugene lonesco, who was from Romania, and Witold Gombro-wicz from Poland. Their characteristic style, and that of many other modern writers, was what we call absurdism. The term is especially used about the 'theater of the absurd.' ""Ah."

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"Do you know what we mean by the 'absurd'?""Isn't it something that is meaningless or irrational?""Precisely. The theater of the absurd represented a contrast to realistic theater. Its aim was to show the lack of meaning in life in order to get the audience to disagree. The idea was not to cultivate the meaningless. On the contrary. But by showing and exposing the absurd in ordinary everyday situations, the onlookers are forced to seek a truer and more essential life for themselves.""It sounds interesting.""The theater of the absurd often portrays situations that are absolutely trivial. It can therefore also be called a kind of 'hyperrealism.' People are portrayed precisely as they are. But if you reproduce on stage exactly what goes on in the bathroom on a perfectly ordinary morning in a perfectly ordinary home, the audience would laugh. Their laughter could be interpreted as a defense mechanism against seeing themselves lampooned on stage."

"Yes, exactly.""The absurd theater can also have certain surrealistic features. Its characters often find themselves in highly unrealistic and dreamlike situations. When they accept this without surprise, the audience is compelled to react in surprise at the characters' lack of surprise. This was how Charlie Chaplin worked in his silent movies. The comic effect in these silent movies was often Chaplin's laconic acceptance of all the absurd things that happen to him. That compelled the audience to look into themselves for something more genuine and true.""And, when you are really sick, and have to stop work, what areyou going to do then? Do you know, Mr. Gilder, that the firsttime a straight girl steals, it's often because she had to have adoctor--or some luxury like that? And some of them do worse thansteal. Yes, they do--girls that started straight, and wanted tostay that way. But, of course, some of them get so tired of thewhole grind that--that----"The man who was the employer of hundreds concerning whom thesegrim truths were uttered, stirred uneasily in his chair, andthere came a touch of color into the healthy brown of his cheeksas he spoke his protest.

"I'm not their guardian. I can't watch over them after theyleave the store. They are paid the current rate of wages--asmuch as any other store pays." As he spoke, the anger provokedby this unexpected assault on him out of the mouth of a convictflamed high in virtuous repudiation. "Why," he went onvehemently, "no man living does more for his employees than I do.Who gave the girls their fine rest-rooms upstairs? I did! Whogave them the cheap lunch-rooms? I did!""But you won't pay them enough to live on!" The very fact thatthe words were spoken without any trace of rancor merely madethis statement of indisputable truth obnoxious to the man, whowas stung to more savage resentment in asserting his impugnedself-righteousness."I pay them the same as the other stores do," he repeated,sullenly.Yet once again, the gently cadenced voice gave answer, an answerinformed with that repulsive insistence to the man who sought toresist her indictment of him.

"But you won't pay them enough to live on." The simple lucidityof the charge forbade direct reply.Gilder betook himself to evasion by harking back to theestablished ground of complaint.

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"And, so, you claim that you were forced to steal. That's theplea you make for yourself and your friends.""I wasn't forced to steal," came the answer, spoken in themonotone that had marked her utterance throughout most of theinterview. "I wasn't forced to steal, and I didn't steal. But,all the same, that's the plea, as you call it, that I'm makingfor the other girls. There are hundreds of them who stealbecause they don't get enough to eat. I said I would tell youhow to stop the stealing. Well, I have done it. Give the girlsa fair chance to be honest. You asked me for the names, Mr.Gilder. There's only one name on which to put the blame for thewhole business--and that name is Edward Gilder!... Now, won't youdo something about it?"At that naked question, the owner of the store jumped up from hischair, and stood glowering at the girl who risked a request sofull of vituperation against himself."How dare you speak to me like this?" he thundered.There was no disconcertion exhibited by the one thus challenged.

On the contrary, she repeated her question with a simple dignitythat still further outraged the man."Won't you, please, do something about it?""How dare you?" he shouted again. Now, there was stark wonderin his eyes as he put the question."Why, I dared," Mary Turner explained, "because you have done allthe harm you can to me. And, now, I'm trying to give you thechance to do better by the others. You ask me why I dare. Ihave a right to dare! I have been straight all my life. I havewanted decent food and warm clothes, and--a little happiness, allthe time I have worked for you, and I have gone without thosethings, just to stay straight.... The end of it all is: You aresending me to prison for something I didn't do. That's why Idare!"Cassidy, the officer in charge of Mary Turner, had stoodpatiently beside her all this while, always holding her by thewrist. He had been mildly interested in the verbal duel betweenthe big man of the department store and this convict in his ownkeeping. Vaguely, he had marveled at the success of the frailgirl in declaiming of her injuries before the magnate. He hadfelt no particular interest beyond that, merely looking on as onemight at any entertaining spectacle. The question at issue wasno concern of his. His sole business was to take the girl awaywhen the interview should be ended. It occurred to him now thatthis might, in fact, be the time to depart. It seemed, indeed,that the insistent reiteration of the girl had at last left heowner of the store quite powerless to answer. It was possible,then, that it were wiser the girl should be removed. With theidea in mind, he stared inquiringly at Gilder until he caughtthat flustered gentleman's eye. A nod from the magnate sufficedhim. Gilder, in truth, could not trust himself just then to anaudible command. He was seriously disturbed by the gently spokentruths that had issued from the girl's lips. He was not preparedwith any answer, though he hotly resented every word of heraccusation. So, when he caught the question in the glance of theofficer, he felt a guilty sensation of relief as he signified anaffirmative by his gesture.Cassidy faced about, and in his movement there was a tug at thewrist of the girl that set her moving toward the door. Herrealization of what this meant was shown in her final speech.

"Oh, he can take me now," she said, bitterly. Then her voicerose above the monotone that had contented her hitherto. Intothe music of her tones beat something sinister, evillyvindictive, as she faced about at the doorway to which Cassidyhad led her. Her face, as she scrutinized once again the man atthe desk, was coldly malignant."Three years isn't forever," she said, in a level voice. "When Icome out, you are going to pay for every minute of them, Mr.

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Gilder. There won't be a day or an hour that I won't rememberthat at the last it was your word sent me to prison. And you aregoing to pay me for that. You are going to pay me for the fiveyears I have starved making money for you--that, too! You aregoing to pay me for all the things I am losing today, and----"The girl thrust forth her left hand, on that side where stood theofficer. So vigorous was her movement that Cassidy's clasp wasthrown off the wrist. But the bond between the two was notbroken, for from wrist to wrist showed taut the steel chain ofthe manacles. The girl shook the links of the handcuffs in agesture stronger than words. In her final utterance to theagitated man at the desk, there was a cold threat, a prophecy ofdisaster. From the symbol of her degradation, she looked to theman whose action had placed it there. In the clashing of theirglances, hers won the victory, so that his eyes fell before themenace in hers."You are going to pay me for this!" she said. Her voice waslittle more than a whisper, but it was loud in the listener'sheart. "Yes, you are going to pay--for this!"

Chapter 6 InfernoThey were grim years, those three during which Mary Turner servedher sentence in Burnsing. There was no time off for goodbehavior. The girl learned soon that the favor of those set inauthority over her could only be won at a cost against which herevery maidenly instinct revolted. So, she went through theinferno of days and nights in a dreariness of suffering that wasdeadly. Naturally, the life there was altogether an evil thing.There was the material ill ever present in the round of wearisomephysical toil, the coarse, distasteful food, the hard, narrowcouch, the constant, gnawing irksomeness of imprisonment, awayfrom light and air, away from all that makes life worth while.Yet, these afflictions were not the worst injuries to mar thegirl convict's life. That which bore upon her most weightily andincessantly was the degradation of this environment from whichthere was never any respite, the viciousness of this spot whereinshe had been cast through no fault of her own. Vileness waseverywhere, visibly in the faces of many, and it was brimmingfrom the souls of more, subtly hideous. The girl held herselfrigidly from any personal intimacy with her fellows. To someextent, at least, she could separate herself from theircorruption in the matter of personal association. But, everpresent, there was a secret energy of vice that could not beescaped so simply--nor, indeed, by any device; that breathed inthe spiritual atmosphere itself of the place. Always, thismysterious, invisible, yet horribly potent, power of sin was likea miasma throughout the prison. Always, it was striving to reachher soul, to make her of its own. She fought the insidious,fetid force as best she might. She was not evil by nature. Shehad been well grounded in principles of righteousness.Nevertheless, though she maintained the integrity of hercharacter, that character suffered from the taint. Theredeveloped over the girl's original sensibility a shell ofhardness, which in time would surely come to make her lessscrupulous in her reckoning of right and wrong.Yet, as a rule, character remains the same throughout life as toits prime essentials, and, in this case, Mary Turner at the endof her term was vitally almost as wholesome as on the day whenshe began the serving of the sentence. The change wrought in herwas chiefly of an external sort. The kindliness of her heart andher desire for the seemly joys of life were unweakened. But overthe better qualities of her nature was now spread a crust ofworldly hardness, a denial of appeal to her sensibilities. It wasthis that would eventually bring her perilously close tocontented companioning with crime.

The best evidence of the fact that Mary Turner's soul was notfatally soiled must be found in the fact that still, at theexpiration of her sentence, she was fully resolved to livestraight, as the saying is which she had quoted to Gilder. This,too, in the face of sure knowledge as to the difficulties thatwould beset the effort, and in the face of the temptationsoffered to follow an easier path.There was, for example, Aggie Lynch, a fellow convict, with whomshe had a slight degree of acquaintance, nothing more. Thisyoung woman, a criminal by training, offered allurements ofillegitimate employment in the outer world when they should befree. Mary endured the companionship with this prisoner becausea sixth sense proclaimed the fact that here was one unmoral,rather than immoral--and the difference is mighty. For thatreason, Aggie Lynch was not actively offensive, as were most ofthe others. She was a dainty little blonde, with a baby face, inwhich were set two light-blue eyes, of a sort to widen often indemure wonder over most things in a surprising and naughty world.

She had been convicted of blackmail, and she made no pretenseeven of innocence. Instead, she was inclined to boast over herability to bamboozle men at her will. She was a natural actressof the ingenue role, and in that pose she could unfailinglybeguile the heart of the wisest of worldly men.Perhaps, the very keen student of physiognomy might havediscovered grounds for suspecting her demureness by reason of thethick, level brows that cast a shadow on the bland innocence ofher face. For the rest, she possessed a knack of rather harmlessperversity, a fair smattering of grammar and spelling, and alively sense of humor within her own limitations, with aparticularly small intelligence in other directions. Her one artwas histrionics of the kind that made an individual appeal. Insuch, she was inimitable. She had been reared in a criminalfamily, which must excuse much. Long ago, she had lost track ofher father; her mother she had never known. Her one relation wasa brother of high standing as a pickpocket. One principal reasonof her success in leading on men to make fools of themselves overher, to their everlasting regret afterward, lay in the fact that,in spite of all the gross irregularities of her life, sheremained chaste. She deserved no credit for such restraint,since it was a matter purely of temperament, not of resolve.

The girl saw in Mary Turner the possibilities of a ladylikepersonality that might mean much financial profit in the deviousways of which she was a mistress. With the franknesscharacteristic of her, she proceeded to paint glowing pictures ofa future shared to the undoing of ardent and fatuous swains.Mary Turner listened with curiosity, but she was in no wise movedto follow such a life, even though it did not necessitateanything worse than a fraudulent playing at love, withoutphysical degradation. So, she steadfastly continued herrefusals, to the great astonishment of Aggie, who actually couldnot understand in the least, even while she believed the other'sdeclaration of innocence of the crime for which she was serving asentence. But, for her own part, such innocence had nothing todo with the matter. Where, indeed, could be the harm in makingsome old sinner pay a round price for his folly? And always, inresponse to every argument, Mary shook her head in negation. Shewould live straight.

Then, the heavy brows of Aggie would draw down a little, and thebaby face would harden."You will find that you are up against a hell of a frost," shewould declare, brutally.Mary found the profane prophecy true. Back in New York, sheexperienced a poverty more ravaging than any she had known inthose five lean years of her working in the store. She had beenabsolutely penniless for two days, and without food through thegnawing hours, when she at last found employment of the humblestin a milliner's shop. Followed a blessed interval in which sheworked contentedly, happy over the meager stipend, since itserved to give her shelter and food honestly earned.But the ways of the police are not always those of ordinarydecency. In due time, an officer informed Mary's employerconcerning the fact of her record as a convict, and thereupon shewas at once discharged. The unfortunate victim of the law cameperilously close to despair then. Yet, her spirit triumphed, andagain she persevered in that resolve to live straight. Finally,for the second time, she secured a cheap position in a cheapshop--only to be again persecuted by the police, so that shespeedily lost the place.

Nevertheless, indomitable in her purpose, she maintained thestruggle. A third time she obtained work, and there, after alittle, she told her employer, a candy manufacturer in a smallway, the truth as to her having been in prison. The man had akindly heart, and, in addition, he ran little risk in the matter,so he allowed her to remain. When, presently, the police calledhis attention to the girl's criminal record, he paid no heed totheir advice against retaining her services. But such action onhis part offended the greatness of the law's dignity. The policebrought pressure to bear on the man. They even called in theassistance of Edward Gilder himself, who obligingly wrote a verysevere letter to the girl's employer. In the end, such tacticsalarmed the man. For the sake of his own interests, thoughunwillingly enough, he dismissed Mary from his service.It was then that despair did come upon the girl. She had triedwith all the strength of her to live straight. Yet, despite herinnocence, the world would not let her live according to her ownconscience. It demanded that she be the criminal it had brandedher--if she were to live at all. So, it was despair! For shewould not turn to evil, and without such turning she could notlive. She still walked the streets falteringly, seeking someplace; but her heart was gone from the quest. Now, she wassunken in an apathy that saved her from the worst pangs ofmisery. She had suffered so much, so poignantly, that at lasther emotions had grown sluggish. She did not mind much even whenher tiny hoard of money was quite gone, and she roamed the city,starving.... Came an hour when she thought of the river, and wasglad!

Mary remembered, with a wan smile, how, long ago, she had thoughtwith amazed horror of suicide, unable to imagine any troublesufficient to drive one to death as the only relief. Now,however, the thing was simple to her. Since there was nothingelse, she must turn to that--to death. Indeed, it was so verysimple, so final, and so easy, after the agonies she had endured,that she marveled over her own folly in not having sought suchescape before.... Even with the first wild fancy, she hadunconsciously bent her steps westward toward the North River.Now, she quickened her pace, anxious for the plunge that shouldset the term to sorrow. In her numbed brain was no flicker ofthought as to whatever might come to her afterward. Her soleguide was that compelling passion of desire to be done with thisunbearable present. Nothing else mattered--not in the least!

So, she came through the long stretch of ill-lighted streets,crossed some railroad tracks to a pier, over which she hurried tothe far end, where it projected out to the fiercer currents ofthe Hudson. There, without giving herself a moment's pause forreflection or hesitation, she leaped out as far as her strengthpermitted into the coil of waters.... But, in that final second,natural terror in the face of death overcame the lethargy ofdespair--a shriek burst from her lips.But for that scream of fear, the story of Mary Turner had endedthere and then. Only one person was anywhere near to catch thesound. And that single person heard. On the south side of thepier a man had just tied up a motor-boat. He stood up in alarmat the cry, and was just in time to gain a glimpse of a whiteface under the dim moonlight as it swept down with the tide, tworods beyond him. On the instant, he threw off his coat andsprang far out after the drifting body. He came to it in a fewfurious strokes, caught it. Then began the savage struggle tosave her and himself. The currents tore at him wrathfully, but hefought against them with all the fierceness of his nature. Hehad strength a-plenty, but it needed all of it, and more, to winout of the river's hungry clutch. What saved the two of them wasthe violent temper of the man. Always, it had been the demon toset him aflame. To-night, there in the faint light, within thegrip of the waters, he was moved to insensate fury against theelement that menaced. His rage mounted, and gave him new powerin the battle. Maniacal strength grew out of supreme wrath.

Under the urge of it, he conquered--at last brought himself andhis charge to the shore.When, finally, the rescuer was able to do something more thangasp chokingly, he gave anxious attention to the woman whom hehad brought out from the river. Yet, at the outset, he could notbe sure that she still lived. She had shown no sign of life atany time since he had first seized her. That fact had been ofincalculable advantage to him in his efforts to reach the shorewith her. Now, however, it alarmed him mightily, though ithardly seemed possible that she could have drowned. So far as hecould determine, she: had not even sunk once beneath the surface.Nevertheless, she displayed no evidence of vitality, though hechafed her hands for a long time. The shore here was verylonely; it would take precious time to summon aid. It seemed,notwithstanding, that this must be the only course. Then just asthe man was about to leave her, the girl sighed, very faintly,with an infinite weariness, and opened her eyes. The man echoedthe sigh, but his was of joy, since now he knew that his strifein the girl's behalf had not been in vain.Afterward, the rescuer experienced no great difficulty incarrying out his work to a satisfactory conclusion. Mary revivedto clear consciousness, which was at first inclined towardhysteria, but this phase yielded soon under the sympatheticministrations of the man. His rather low voice was soothing toher tired soul, and his whole air was at once masterful andgently tender. Moreover, there was an inexpressible balm to herspirit in the very fact that some one was thus ministering toher. It was the first time for many dreadful years that any onehad taken thought for her welfare. The effect of it was like adraught of rarest wine to warm her heart. So, she restedobediently as he busied himself with her complete restoration,and, when finally she was able to stand, and to walk with thesupport of his arm, she went forward slowly at his side withoutso much even as a question of whither.

And, curiously, the man himself shared the gladness that touchedthe mood of the girl, for he experienced a sudden pride in hisaccomplishment of the night, a pride that delighted a starvedpart of his nature. Somewhere in him were the seeds ofself-sacrifice, the seeds of a generous devotion to others. Butthose seeds had been left undeveloped in a life that had beenlived since early boyhood outside the pale of respectability.To-night, Joe Garson had performed, perhaps, his first actionwith no thought of self at the back of it. He had risked hislife to save that of a stranger. The fact astonished him, whileit pleased him hugely. The sensation was at once novel andthrilling. Since it was so agreeable, he meant to prolong theglow of self-satisfaction by continuing to care for this waif ofthe river. He must make his rescue complete. It did not occur tohim to question his fitness for the work. His introspection didnot reach to a point of suspecting that he, an habitual criminal,was necessarily of a sort to be most objectionable as theprotector of a young girl. Indeed, had any one suggested thethought to him, he would have met it with a sneer, to the effectthat a wretch thus tired of life could hardly object to any onewho constituted himself her savior.

In this manner, Joe Garson, the notorious forger, led thedripping girl eastward through the squalid streets, until at lastthey came to an adequately lighted avenue, and there a taxicabwas found. It carried them farther north, and to the east still,until at last it came to a halt before an apartment house thatwas rather imposing, set in a street of humbler dwellings. Here,Garson paid the fare, and then helped the girl to alight, and oninto the hallway. Mary went with him quite unafraid, though nowwith a growing curiosity. Strange as it all was, she felt thatshe could trust this man who had plucked her from death, who hadworked over her with so much of tender kindliness. So, shewaited patiently; only, watched with intentness as he pressed thebutton of a flat number. She observed with interest the thick,wavy gray of his hair, which contradicted pleasantly theyouthfulness of his clean-shaven, resolute face, and the spare,yet well-muscled form.The clicking of the door-latch sounded soon, and the two entered,and went slowly up three flights of stairs. On the landing beyondthe third flight, the door of a rear flat stood open, and in thedoorway appeared the figure of a woman.

"Well, Joe, who's the skirt?" this person demanded, as the manand his charge halted before her. Then, abruptly, the round,baby-like face of the woman puckered in amazement. Her voicerose shrill. "My Gawd, if it ain't Mary Turner!"At that, the newcomer's eyes opened swiftly to their widest, andshe stared astounded in her turn."Aggie!" she cried.

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC#

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster