Ballad of the sad cafe - summary

Paper Rating: Word Count: 1405 Approx Pages: 6

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers

The story takes place in a small sorrowful town, where in fact usually nothing happens. One of main characters is Amelia Evans, a strong, almost masculine woman who ran a liquor store in the town. She was rich, nineteen years old girl considered handsome, although she was too big and too muscular, when surprisingly she decided to marry Marvin Macy, a town's villain and evil man. But love, because Marvin was deeply in love with Amelia, changed him completely. He started to go to church, he learned good manners etc. and then he proposed himself to Miss Evans. Unfortunately Amelia did not love him, she was rather solitary person and the marriage lasted only ten days. Amelia Evans threw out her newly wedding husband first from the bedroom and later from her life. Marvin came back to his vicious, criminal life, which finally led him to jail. This is a story of their short lasting marriage but the real story starts when Lymon Willis one day arrives in town.

The main theme of this tale is a strange love and hate triangle between the three main characters: Mrs. Amelia Evans, Marvin Macy and Lymon Willis. Each of them loves a person who despises him / her and loves the other at the same time.

The atmosphere of the story is full of melancholy, mystery, darkness, which is typical for a ballad. Also the place of action is depicted in such a way: " The town itself is dreary, (...) lonesome, sad, and like a place that is far off and estranged from all other places in the world.  (McCullers: 7)

In addition all the protagonists are odd, each of them has some defect, and each one is different that we would expect.

The first part of the story starts eleven years later, when Cousin Lymon arrives at town, what finally leads to the opening of the cafe.

A little hunchback, Lymon comes to town one day and claims to be Mrs. Amelia's relative. Oddly enough she accepts him

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