In 1936, James Agee and Walker Evans traveled to Alabama on a magazine assignment to report on the conditions of sharecroppers during The Great Depression. In the resulting book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, both broke new ground in their respective fields-- Agee in journalism and Evans in documentary photography.
In one of the book's most poignant sections, Agee sets up an imagined dialog between the thoughts of mother and daughter. His use of modern writing style, including unusual punctuation and capitalization, give an immediacy and spontaneity to the passage, excerpted here. [Elipses mine, indicating a break in the passage.]
In what way were we trapped? where, our mistake? what, where, how, when, what way, might all these things have been different, if only we had done otherwise? if only we might have known. Where lost that bright health of love that knew so surely it would stay;
How did we get caught? Why is it things always seem to go against us? Why is there can't ever be any pleasure in living? I'm so tired it don't seem like I ever could get rest enough... sometimes it seems like there wouldn't never be no end to it, nor even a let-up.
(But I am young; and I am young, and strong, and in good health; and I am young, and pretty to look at; and I am too young to worry...
and we run in the bright air like animals, and our bare feet like plants in the wholesome earth: the natural world is around us like a lake and a wide smile and we are growing: one by one we are becoming stronger, and one by one in the terrible emptiness and the leisure we shall burn and tremble and shake with lust, and one by one we shall loosen ourselves from this place...)
How was it we were caught?
Dress: ~~Ivalde~~ Lovinda in green
Jewelry: Caroline's Retro Dots Necklace and Bracelet; /artilleri/ Glitter Love earrings in just black
Shoes: ETD Starley Pumps in black
Hair: Tiny Bird Nantes in White
Skin: Tyranny designs Wrath- Lorena Skins
Dress: Mimikri, 5th Avenue in neptune
Bracelet: Fresh Baked Goods Muted Jelly Tots Bracelet in gold
Shoes: [Gos] Espadrilles in Meadow
Hair: TRUTH Nora in snow
Skin:T U L I Jade tone 2 makeup 7c
Poses from Olive Juice. Locations: AM Radio at IDIA Laboratories and AM Radio's The Far Away.
Text from Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans. Published by First Mariner Books, 2001. First published in 1939.
See Evans' photos at the Library of Congress website.