This lesson presents a summary and analysis of Carson McCullers’ novella, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe. The story is a Southern Gothic narrative. THE BALLAD OF THE SAD CAFÉ Source for information on The Ballad of the Sad Café by Carson McCullers, Reference Guide to Short Fiction dictionary. McCullers’s finest stories’ The New York Times the American writer Carson McCullers, and The Ballad of the Sad Café collects her best-loved.

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Born in Columbus, Georgia, on February 19,she became a promising pianist and enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York when she was seventeen, but lacking money for tuition, she never attended classes. Instead she studied writing at Columbia University, which ultimately led to The Heart Is a Lonely Hunterthe novel that made her an overnight literary sensation. On September 29,at age fifty, she died in Nyack, New York, where she is buried.

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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. The Member of the Wedding. Devil in the Baptist Church: Bob Gray’s Unholy Trinity. Kitchen A Black cat book. Cafr in a Golden Eye. Mariner Books April 5, Language: Don’t have a Kindle? Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Is this feature helpful? Thank you for your feedback.

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Please try again later. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Miss Amelia, Cousin Lymon, the Macy brothers, and a cast of other sad characters live in a dreary town. The winters here are short and raw, the summer czfe white with glare and mccullees hot. And yet, even in a dreary little town like this one, there is drama and love and raw human emotion. What is this thing called love? Who is this hunchback who came into town and bewitched Miss Amelia and awakened the bleak little town?

We carsln learn that his name is Cousin Lymon and that he has the ability to make a connection with everyone with whom he comes in contact, including Miss Amelia. It remains ssd gathering place until the night that Cousin Lymon shows his true colors.

The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories by Carson McCullers

In carxon uniquely skillful way, McCullers tells a story of love and the different and surprising twists it can take. Saad Macy loves Miss Amelia, but she doesn’t love him. She, however, comes to love Cousin Lymon who appears to care for her until Marvin Macy comes back into this desolate little town after a stint in the penitentiary. Cousin Lymon then falls for Macy who doesn’t give him the proverbial time of day.


This is not a happily ever after book, but it’s one well worth reading, especially if you want to see writing at its best. The descriptions of the people and their environment and emotions are superb. For example, after reading this description of Miss Amelia, Carsson think I’d recognize her anywhere: Her hair was cut short and brushed back from the forehead and there was about her sunburned face a tense, haggard quality.

She might have been a handsome woman, if, mmccullers then, she was not slightly cross-eyed. Reading it reminded me that love can take us to the heights and depths of emotion and that we are just as likely to fall in love with those who are bad for us as with those who are our perfect matches.

Ballad Of The Sad Cafe (1951) by Carson McCullers – A Review

I later moved on to her short stories, which had incredible depth, sadness, and soul despite their short length. Miss Amelia in the title story is one of the most remarkable female characters I’ve ever read about and identified with.

One of the best of maybe a half dozen all time favorite novelettes, cafson excellent example of the best in southern writers and story telling. This is the most unique, peculiar ballad touching love story I’ve ever read. If you are a reader, read this book, I guarantee you’ll never forget it.

McCullers writes about the existential problem of evil and goodness that lie at he heart of every man. How does trust operate? What is love that enkindles the good that men do. The interplay of men and women, wracked first by doubt, then wounded by sinfulness, is enunciated by the author.

The resolution towards the end of the novel points to charity as the compensatory gift for men to venture into the fullness of relationships in spite of all existential issues that beset them. This is a classic for a reason — still great and transportive. IF you haven’t already read it – you’re in for a treat.

Timeless and meaningful and well, wow. Sheds such light on the human condition. Carson McCullers had authored them and she had written two of my all time favorite books, The Member of the Wedding read recently and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter read in high school.

These stories were definitely more revealing of the author’s quirkiness than were my two much loved novels. Quirkiness aside, I could read Carson McCullers for her language alone.


From the story from which the book gets its name – “It was toward midnight on the soft quiet evening in April. The sky was the color of blue swamp Iris, the moon clear and bright”.

Carson McCullers’ The Ballad of the Sad Café: Summary & Analysis

These were just some of the characters in Miss Amelia’s liquor filled Sad Cafe. There were only “3 good people” and “The room was still as death”. This story and most of the others put me in mind of O Henry’s stories in their artful turn of phrases, unique language and quirkiness of characters and circumstances.

There is humor, drama, ridiculousness, an “interior life that is insufficient without the artifice of alcohol” and an absurd little tale about a callous cafe owner, a man who may or may not be crazy who tells a young boy wearing an aviator type helmet that he loves him. Like most of McCullers stories, they are about loneliness and love and love loss. However, none of the stories hold a candle to the novels, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter or my favorite, The Member of the Wedding, but they are written by Carson McCullers, reason enough to read them.

Even more powerful together. Amazing combination of two literary geniuses. Exceptional story beautifully told. I have not yet had a chance to read the whole book, but I feel compelled to leave this review so that others who are over 45 years of age may know that the print on this book is VERY TINY.

The Ballad of the Sad Café – Wikipedia

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