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The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers

Uploaded by Quest4Glory on Jul 11, 2005

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers is a story of love illustrated through the romantic longings and attractions of the three eccentric characters; Miss Amelia, Cousin Lymon, and Marvin Macy. McCullers depicts love as a force, often strong enough to change people's attitudes and behaviors. Yet, the author seems to say, if the love is unrequited, individuals, having lost their motivation to change, will revert back to their true selves. The allure of the different characters, which is never revealed by the author, seems to indicate that feelings of love and attraction are not necessarily reasonable or understandable to others.

Everyone is shocked when the handsome outlaw, Marvin Macy, falls in love with Miss Amelia.In an effort to court Miss Amelia, he learns proper etiquette, such as "rising and giving his chair to a lady, and abstaining from swearing and fighting". Two years after Marvin's reformation, he asks Miss Amelia to marry him. Miss Amelia does not love him but agrees to the marriage in order to satisfy her great-aunt. Once married, Miss Amelia is very aloof towards her husband and refuses to engage in marital relations with him. After ten days, Miss Amelia ends the marriage because she finds that she is unable to generate any positive feelings for Marvin. Several months after the divorce, Marvin reverts back to his initial corrupt ways and is "sent to a state penitentiary for robbing filling stations and holding up A & P stores".

Just as love had changed Marvin, so too did it change Miss Amelia. In the mid 1930's, several years after Miss Amelia's divorce, Lymon, a hunchback, comes to Miss Amelia claiming to be a distant cousin. She readily provides Cousin Lymon with food and board, and eventually any material object that he desires. The people of the town grow very curious of her new guest and of Miss Amelia's hospitality towards Lymon which is contrary to her characteristic untrusting and remote ways. The townspeople gather in her store one evening to meet Cousin Lymon. Unlike Miss Amelia, Cousin Lymon is very sociable and enjoys entertaining the townsfolk with his patently tall tales. In a short period of time, Miss Amelia's store is converted into a cafe where people gather for food, drink, and gossip. They would discuss Miss Amelia's love for Cousin Lymon, indicating that they thought love between cousins is forbidden and incestuous.

Her changed behavior,...

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Uploaded by:   Quest4Glory

Date:   07/11/2005

Category:   Literature

Length:   3 pages (608 words)

Views:   22031

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