Upton Sinclair, ed. (18781968).
The Cry for Justice: An Anthology of the Literature of Social Protest. 1915.
(From The House of Bondage)
By Reginald Wright Kauffman
(American novelist, born 1877)
|WHEREVER there is squalor seeking ease, he is there. Wherever there is distress crying for succor, discontent complaining for relief, weariness sighing for rest, there is this missionary, offering the quack salvation of his temporal church. He knows and takes subtle advantage of the Jewish sisters sent to work for the education of Jewish brothers; the Irish, the Germans, the Russians, and the Syrians ground in one or another economic mill; the restless neurotic native daughters untrained for work and spoiled for play. He is at the door of the factory when it releases its white-faced women for a breath of night air; he is at the cheap lunch-room where the stenographers bolt unwholesome noonday food handed about by underpaid waitresses; he lurks around the corner for the servant and the shop-clerk. He remembers that these are girls too tired to do household work in their evenings, too untaught to find continued solace in books; that they must go out, that they must move about; and so he passes his own nights at the restaurants and theaters, the moving-picture shows, the dancing academies, the dance-halls. He may go into those stifling rooms where immigrants, long before they learn to make a half-complete sentence of what they call the American language, learn what they are told are American dances: the whirling spiel with blowing skirts, the half-time waltz with jerking hips. He may frequent the more sophisticated forms of these places, may even be seen in the more expensive cafés, or may journey into the provinces. But he scents poverty from afar.|| 1|