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The Straw

Eugene O'Neill

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .She stands looking appealingly at Nicholls, who avoids her glance. Her eyes have a startled, stunned expression as if the doctor's verdict were still in her ears.)

EILEEN (faintly—forcing a smile). Good evening, Fred. (Her eyes search his face anxiously.)

NICHOLLS (confusedly). Hello, Eileen. I'm so sorry to—— (Clumsily trying to cover up his confusion, he goes over and leads her to a chair.) You must sit down. You've got to take care of yourself. You never ought to have got up to-night.

EILEEN (sits down). I wanted to talk to you. (She raises her face with a pitiful smile. Nicholls hurriedly moves back to his own chair.)

NICHOLLS (almost brusquely). I could have talked to you from the hall. You're silly to take chances just now.

(Eileen's eyes show her hurt at his tone.)

CARMODY (seeing his chance—hastily). You'll be stayin' a while now, Fred? I'll take a wa. . . Read More

Community Reviews

O’Neill drew on his experiences in a tuberculosis sanatorium for this early play. When I first read it in graduate school, I was struck by the suspense of the scene when the patients are summoned one by one to step on the scale (less weight means they’re sicker); now, I notice more the one-sided, tr

Tragic, just like I was looking for, but I'm just not into romantic tragedies.

This was a very sentimental play based on O'Neill's real relationship with a woman who loved him while he spent time in a sanatorium for tuberculosis. O'Neill also cited this time as the time that made him a playwright. It was a turning point for him. The play seems to follow the autobiographical po

Unrequited love gets me every time

This is a quaint play filled with confronting the unpleasantries of familial relationships, unrequited love, and death as humans most often do... Lie.