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One spring evening a young, innocent girl named Mary Ann is savagely raped by an unknown assailant in a New York City park. When she regains consciousness, she returns home and sneaks past her prudish mother. She then destroys her soiled, torn clothes, scrubs herself with hard laundry soap and, wrapped in a blanket, goes to sleep on the floor of her room. The next morning she attempts to go on living her routine life as though nothing had happened. But, overcome by physical weakness and repulsed by the crowding flesh around her, she collapses on a subway platform. Still haunted by her ordeal, she leaves home, moves into a shabby room on the Lower East Side, and takes a job in a five-and-ten-cent store. Eventually, after a series of sleepless nights, she wanders onto a suspension bridge and attempts suicide. She is rescued by a lonely garage mechanic, Mike, who takes her back to his basement flat. Almost as desperate as she, he keeps her prisoner, explaining that she is his "last chance" for happiness. She fights him off when he drunkenly attempts to make love to her, and, in a hysterical effort to escape, she kicks out his eye. Fleeing from the apartment, she spends the night sleeping on the grass in Central Park. With the coming of morning, she wanders through the city, reviewing her life. At the end of the day, she returns to Mike's two basement rooms and offers to marry him. A few months later she is reconciled with her mother and tells her that she is going to have a baby.