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The Prisoners

This lengthy story, a play by Orhan Kemal, is set in a dormitory at a prison during the Second World War. Among the "impoverished, dirty men" doing time for various types of thievery is 'Captain' Ahmet of Rize, a true murderers' murderer. One day, he receives one hundred and fifty liras from his all but forgotten, aging mother. The generous captain helps out both friend and foe within his dormitory. The other men, wanting to keep the money flowing, encourage the captain to take part in the gambling that the other, more affluent dormitories are so addicted to. The captain keeps winning and putting his winnings into his dormitory, buying his friends beds and blankets, renovating and repairing the place. Then the prison gopher Toady Niyazi decides to get more money out of the captain, so he writes him a love letter and pretends it's from Fatma in the women's section. The captain, unaware of the subterfuge, gives Toady Niyazi the tip he expects, so the deception is contiuned. The captain becomes smitten with Fatma, barely eating or drinking. Fatma serves her time, and is released. The captain spends many months hoping for an amnesty. He dreams that he will be released soon and join his beloved Fatma, and that they will build a happy life together.His financial resources dry up, and the others in the dormitory distance themselves from him. Then on one cold day, during the third winter following Fatma's release, the guards patrolling the prison come and find the captain frozen solid, his large hands gripping the bars on the dormitory window.

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