The Ballad of the Sad Cafe is one of the best-known plants of the American novelist Carson McCullers, born on February 19, 1917. Carson McCullers ‘ fiction is representative of the literature of the American South in which the motive of the grotesque is combined with the subject of human disaffection. Mccullers had her ain personal experience with isolation which often made her experience like a monster and a societal misfit as she stated in the foreword to the published version of her playA The Square Root of WonderfulA ( 1958 ) : “ Surely I have ever felt entirely ” . That is because Carson McCullers ‘ physical visual aspect was non ordinary. She was queerly tall for a adult female, 5 pess and 8 inches every bit good as interested in both work forces and adult females. Her androgyny and her feeling of being emotionally and intellectually estranged her from a society she felt that could non suit her. As a consequence Carson McCullers composed a type of fiction that emphasized the subjects of religious isolation and solitariness as in most of her novels and short narratives. The Ballad of the Sad Cafe is a work that best represents McCullers ‘ fictional art. In this fresh Carson McCullers portrays destructive infatuation, sexual ambivalency, hankering for communicating and the human demand for love. The novelette features three chief characters and it is set in a Southern town that is melancholy and bare. Like the town the characters are only, unhappy and estranged from one another. Mccullers dramatizes the solitariness of the characters as a manifestation of unanswered love. Miss Amelia, the supporter in the Ballad of the Sad Cafe , experiences disaffection but besides fleeting victory through the purdah and agony of love.
Amelia was in control of their relationship emotionally, physically and financially. She ne’er gave him any love, and when he tried to near her physically he abused him “ Amelia hit him whenever he came within arm ‘s range of her ” ( McCullers 32 ) . Amelia was an expert in run outing people off and geting money and power from anything in footings of concern. Though, one clip she felt helpless and wholly dependent on other was when she had her kidney rocks removed. That was a dramatic experience for Amelia and she seems to hold been unable to get the better of that incident of non being able to utilize your power so she kept her removed kidney rocks in a box like decorations: “ They were the kidney rocks of Miss Amelia herself, and had been taken from her by the physician of Cheehaw some old ages ago. It had been a awful experience, from the first minute to the last and all she had got out were those small rocks ” ( 35 )
Amelia treated everyone in a non so nice manner and would largely look for a opportunity to take advantage of people because she had the power to make so. Though, when Marvin returned from prison Amelia had nil more to derive from him and he had nil to derive from her. He came back for retaliation like he assure in the missive he wrote to her “ It was a wild love letter-but in it were besides included menaces, and he swore that in his life he would acquire even with her ” ( McCullers 33 ) . So in fright of him traveling through with what he promised to her in that missive when she saw him back in town she changed into her ruddy frock alternatively of her overalls which is a mark of her fright for him “ For some ground, after the twenty-four hours of Marvin Macy ‘s reaching, she put aside her overalls and wore ever the ruddy frock she had before this clip reserved for Sundays, funerals and session of the tribunal. ” ( 53 ) .
Amelia wanted to be in charge of everything and everyone. Even love she wanted to command and make it the manner she perceived it. Her perceptual experience of love was outside of the norms of a normal love experienced between two people:
First of wholly, it is a joint experience between two persons-but that fact does non intend that it is a similar experience to the two people involved. There are the lover and the beloved, but these two come from different countriesaˆ¦ . He feels in his psyche that his love is a lone thing. He comes to cognize a new, unusual solitariness and it is this cognition that makes him endure. So there is merely one thing for the lover to make. He must house his love within himself every bit best as he can ; he must make for himself a whole new inward world-a universe intense and unusual, complete in himself. ( 26 )
That is why Amelia preferred to be the Lover non the Beloved. She believed that the lover had the power over the darling and that the lover was the 1 that could pull strings the emotions within the joint experience of love:
About everyone wants to be the lover. And the curt truth is that, in a deep secret manner, the province is being be loved is unbearable to many. The darling frights and hates the lover, and with the best of grounds. For the lover is everlastingly seeking to deprive bare his beloved. ( 27 ) .
The love the in the Ballad of the Sad cafe is inversion of normal love forms. Each character is in bend a slave and a tyrant depending on whether he is loved or being loved. That creates a love trigon because those characters simple do non cognize how to love. They can non love without giving their single unity nor can they be beloved without exercising their power or high quality
Furthermore, the Sad cafe portrays an inversion of heterosexual forms and hunt for self-identification. Amelia is a character that rejects her feminine side and about everything that has to make with things that would impute to adult females. Though, she seems to be maternal when she treats kids “ Though she denies her ain muliebrity, she expresses maternal concern kids and is boundlessly soft in her intervention of them ” ( McDowell 68 ) . Amelia was maternal but she could non handle patients with purely female jobs as suggested in the novel:
If a patient came with a female ailment she could make nil. Indeed at the mere reference of the words her face would easy darken with shame, and she would stand at that place stretch outing her cervix against the neckband of her shirt, or rubbing her swamp boots together, for all the universe like a great, shamed, dumb-tongued kid. ( 17 )
Even during her nuptials when Amelia knew she had to accept her feminine side and act and frock like a adult female she seemed suppressed and non comfy in what she was have oning “ As the matrimonies lines were read Miss Amelia kept doing an uneven gestureaˆ¦ . She was making for the pocket of her overall, and being unable to happen it her face became impatient, bored, and exasperated ” ( 30 ) . Amelia made a via media that was against everything she believed so when she return place from the nuptials she took of her frock instantly “ Within half an hr Miss Amelia had stomped down the steps in knee pantss and a khaki jacket ” ( 31 ) . Amelia ‘s rejection of her feminine side is more than a baffled gender individuality. Mccullers through Amelia ‘s sexual ambivalency symbolizes the character ‘s position on the norms of society. Amelia by rejecting her feminine side and playing and dressing masculine portrays her inability to accept the narrow universe into which society wants adult females to be.
Furthermore, another motive of the Ballad of the Sad Cafe is the abnormality ‘ of its characters. Mccullers uses that literary device to joint her vision of things. In this instance of Amelia who is besides a monster because of her emotional province but chiefly because of her physical visual aspect:
They remembered that Miss Amelia had been born dark and slightly fagot of face, raised motherless by her male parent who was a lone adult male, that early in young person she had grown to be six pess two inches tall which in itself is non natural for a adult female, and that her ways and wonts were excessively curious of all time to ground about. ( 14 ) .
Mccullers ‘ intent was to make a monster, a adult female that would non suit into the norms of feminine so she did build Amelia this manner on purpose “ By stressing her physical defects and her maleness McCullers efficaciously transforms Miss Amelia into a monster here ” ( Gray 81 ) . Amelia ‘s maleness is a symbol against the societal norms in which she can non acquire absorbed into “ The signifier of the Ballad of the Sad Cafe allows McCullers to indulge the urge to allow male power and therefore get away the culturally inferior function of adult females ” ( Westling 110 ) . Lymon on the other manus is a character that did non endanger her maleness or what Amelia ‘s maleness symbolized. That is the inversion of the societal norms that propose that adult females are inferior to work forces. This is why Amelia loved Lymon, because he could non endanger her power nor could he do her feel inferior gender wise “ Her ulterior relationship Cousin Lymon is ne’er baleful because he is non a existent adult male who sees her as female ” ( Westling 110 ) .
Furthermore McCullers use of monsters in the Ballad of the Sad Cafe and her portraiture of Amelia as something outside of the norms of normal is non merely because she want to stress Amelia ‘s demand to non be thought as inferior because of the muliebrity of her gender. But it is besides a mark of McCullers ‘ and Amelia ‘s experiential disaffection and solitariness. Amelia ‘s solitariness in reflected upon the town and her house “ The town itself is drearyaˆ¦.Otherwise the town is only, sad, and like a topographic point that is far away and estranged from all other topographic points in the universe ” ( 3 ) .
Amelia was so lonely, that when she had to be around people she did non experience comfy at all “ It was merely with people that Miss Amelia was non at easiness. Peoples, unless they are nilly-willy or really ill, can non be taken into the custodies and changed overnight to something more worthwhile and profitable ” ( 5 ) . Amelia wanted to bond with person, to suit in but she could non accomplish it because she did non allow anyone in so she sunk in her solitariness:
Miss Amelia listened with her caput turned somewhat aside. She ate her Sunday dinners by herself ; her topographic point was ne’er crowded with a flock of relations and she claimed kin with no oneaˆ¦ . Other people had tried really hard, from clip to clip, to work out some sort of far-fetched connexion with Miss Amelia, but with perfectly no success. ( 7 ) .
Amelia eventually decides to give in since through Lymon she realizes she can be less lonely in more ways than one. Lymon represents her comrade, the household she will ne’er hold and through him she becomes sympathetic to the remainder of the town and more sociable:
For her he is at the same time the lover-husband she has rejected and the kid she will ne’er hold. Through him she establishes a unstable contact with the remainder of the small town in so far as the cafe , formed for Lymon ‘s amusement, becomes a meeting topographic point for all who seek “ fellowship ” aˆ¦ . But even as she escapes from that compressing solitariness of which Cousin Lymon shaper her aware, she loses her precious independency. ( Vikery 99 ) .
Amelia cherishes her independency but her love for Lymon and the Cafe itself brought her out of her purdah and filled her life. The Cafe was a impermanent redemption of the province of populating decease in which the town and Amelia was in.
The characters that Carson McCullers chooses to utilize in her fiction are all unusual and they consist of unusual features. That is non to stress their physical defects but to typify her belief that non everything and everyone tantrum into the norms of society nor do they hold to. In this fabrication of love in the Ballad of the Sad Cafe people do non cognize how to love. They do non comprehend love as something deserving sing or as something pleasant. Love is supposed to be a lone thing harmonizing to Carson McCullers “ I Live with people I create and it has ever made my indispensable solitariness less acute ” ( McCullers ) .