Soul Survivor by R. J. Cardullo | Script Revolution

Soul Survivor

In "Soul Survivor", a man disabled in an industrial accident struggles to retain his identity—particularly as an amateur botanist, a cultivator of flowers—in the face of company attempts to limit his financial compensation.



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Based On: 
“The Self-Seeker” (1914), a poem by Robert Frost.

"Soul Survivor" takes place in a boarding house in Derry, New Hampshire, in the early 1900s. It tells of a man called Broken Joe, who has been injured in an accident at the mill where he works and will probably never walk again. The condition of his mangled legs and feet prevents Joe from gathering information about the flowers around the countryside that he loves, and about which he has become something of an expert.

Broken Joe is prepared to settle with the mill (in the person of a Boston lawyer who comes to his room) for only five hundred dollars—a sum that upsets his visiting friend Willis very much. But Joe realizes he has lost more than any amount of money can satisfy, and that his chance of being a whole man again has been forfeited forever. The only choice left to him now is between taking his luck, as dispensed by an insurance company, or making a useless fuss over the financial settlement (selling his soul and losing his human dignity in the process)—and Joe prefers to abide by his principle that “what we live by, we die by.”

Crippled though he is, Broken Joe keeps his nature-loving hope alive for the future in the person of little Anne, a visiting neighbor girl whose sound feet will take the place of his own, and through whose eyes, and hands, he may again see the wild flowers of the countryside. So Joe signs the necessary papers and accepts the five-hundred-dollar settlement. When he does so, however, only the Boston lawyer remains in the room—little Anne has already departed and friend Willis angrily follows her. After the lawyer leaves, Joe, lying twisted in his bed, can only throw his arms around his face in isolation . . . and agony.

Submitted: February 9, 2021
Last Updated: February 9, 2021

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R. J. Cardullo's picture

The Writer: R. J. Cardullo

A former university film teacher, I turned to screenwriting several years ago. I have also written film criticism for many publications. A New Yorker by birth, I grew up in Miami and was educated at the University of Florida, Tulane, and Yale. My last U.S. address was in Milford, Connecticut; I am now an expatriate residing in Scandinavia. Many of my scripts (both long and short) are adaptations of lesser-known works by well-known authors. I am happy to re-write, collaborate, or write on demand. Thanks kindly for any attention you can give my work. Go to bio

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