Carson McCullers is strongly recognized for her choice in unconventional and misfit characters, particularly those included in Ballad of the Sad Café. McCullers’ protagonists struggle to follow socially acceptable behaviour and these characters form bizarre concepts of love and relationships, ones that are skewed from that of a “normal” person’s perception. For characters such as Amelia Evans, this lifestyle results in isolation and loneliness, but regardless, new relationships are formed. A novella that is based in a remote and desolate town of Georgia, Ballad of the Sad Café revolves around a broken community that relies on the existence of a small café to fulfill their day-to-day lives with a small shred of activity and excitement. Originally opened by Amelia Evans, a lonely woman with no family or husband, and assisted by her estranged Cousin Lymon, the café becomes the only place where people of the town can gather and socialize, an activity that is rare in such a town. In a town absent of major communication, McCullers displays the unconventional bond that develops between social outcasts and their concepts of love and interaction in an alienated community.
For the majority of her life, Amelia Evans chooses isolation as a preferred coping mechanism for her existence. “Raised motherless by her father who was a solitary man” (111), Amelia grows to be more masculine in both appearance and personality. She chooses to be left alone and does not care for the attention of a man until Cousin Lymon comes to town. Being brought up without a mother or any siblings, and utter rejection of any “female complaints” (113), the reader can assume that Amelia possibly developed this masculine and alienated perception on life as a coping mechanism for the loneliness she felt as a child. Because of her reactions to the issues of menstruation such as her face “[darkening] with shame”(113), it suggests that her father could have been dismissive and remained oblivious to her...
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