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clay and tools and doing nothing; better than argument

      Action was better than argument. Besides, he knew argument could not make things seem right to the child. Words were utterly useless. He went to the telephone and called up the police department and asked them to send some one for the baby.
      The rest of the morning passed like a distorted dream. The little, plaster figures about the room seemed suddenly imbued with silent, condemning souls. Dudley Crane moved restlessly about, puttering with his clay and tools and doing nothing. Gladiola sat with the baby against her breast, rubbing the tiny hands and feet, blowing upon the transparent cheeks...

— Ruth Sawyer, Gladiola Murphy (1923) : 117 : link (google)
same (Ohio State U copy/scan, via hathitrust) : link

“The product of mixed blood, Irish, Indian and Yankee is Gladiola Murphy. Her history is interesting, as it shows that one can be superior to one’s surroundings and family. Although Gladiola is surrounded by drunkenness, shiftlessness, moral and physical dirt, she is naturally refined and intelligent, an inheritance from an early ancestor of sturdy character. The redemption of the child and her marriage to a Boston aristocrat, who proves to be a cad and unworthy of her is the subject of the story... delightful humor and some pathos are there, but the characters are too well manipulated and are too idealistic to be convincing.”
Boston Transcript Review (March 14, 1923),
in Marion A. Knight and Mertice M. James, eds., Book Review Digest, Nineteenth Annual Cumulation: Reviews of 1923 books (1924) : link

current viewing of Ozu Yasujiro — his silent films especially — prompts some rethinking about melodramatic “manipulation.”

Ruth Sawyer (1880-1970), “storyteller and a writer of fiction and non-fiction for children and adults”
wikipedia : link

17 July 2023