The story I'm looking for is one I read only once over a decade ago for class.

The story is set in a small town in the U.S., sometime around the 1950s, 60s, akin to "Monsters are Due on Maple Street."

In this story, the town is planning and then gathers as a mob to evict a man and his family from their home due to the fact that the man they're going after struck and killed an elderly man with this car sometime before the start of the story. During the planning stages, I think I remember we get little snippets of different households' residents and all their flaws and complexities in their day to day life, and how their eviction of this murderous man has affected their lives.

The whole town ends up on the man's front step, but when he comes out to face them, he repels them by basically owning his mistake completely and shaming the mob for treating him as less than human. He acknowledges that he made a grave mistake he can never make up for, but he scolds them for losing sight of their own humanity trying to find a scapegoat. I remember some of the words used were that his own words made the crowd "rock back on their heels."

Any help would be greatly appreciated in finding this story!

1 Answer 1


The story sounds like this screenplay, which starts with residents going about their lives in an attractive street, having dinner etc., but all awaiting the pre-arranged time at which their mob is going to assemble in front of one man's house to throw his family out because they found out he was previously in prison (although not for murder). When the mob confronts the man, he stands his ground and the crowd eventually disperses after some residents agree that what they are doing is wrong.

I can't find the original story (if there is one). Here's a quote from the screenplay (emphasis mine):

(In a low voice.)
You, and this whole homeowner’s association, can go to hell. (Beat, then in a thunderous voice.)I OWN this house. God gave me the strength to survive the past four year in a manmade hell. He also gave me, and my family, the right to live in this house. Any man who tries to take that away from me is going to have to climb over a stinking pile of his neighbor’s bones to do it! You good people are going to have to kill me, here, tonight! Are you ready for that? (Beat.) How about it, Mr. Breydon? Don’t bother to tell ME what is fair. You’re the head man here. You be the first!”

The crowd, rocked back on their heels, doesn’t know what to make of this turn of events. Behind WILLIAM, framed in the doorway, we see TINA. The sound of the rocking chair can still be heard.

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