The Ballad of the Sad Cafe: Love and Attraction

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The Ballad of the Sad Cafe: Love and Attraction

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.

Miss Amelia is self-reliant, outspoken and very much a loner. She stands six foot one inch tall and has a strong, masculine build. Her grey eyes are crossed, and the rest of her features are equally unattractive. Yet, the people of the small, southern town of Cheehaw accept her quirkiness because of the equisite wine that she sells in her store and for her free doctoring and homemade remedies. Still, everyone is shocked when the handsome outlaw, Marvin Macy, falls in love with her.

Marvin is a "bold, fearless, and cruel" man who changes his unlawful ways to win Miss Amelia's love. Rather than robbing houses he begins attending church services on Sunday mornings. 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...
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