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The Ballad of the Sad Cafe: Home

Novella by Carson McCullers

Literary Analysis Research Guide

This guide will help you find information for your research assignment both in the library and on the Internet.

For students at Lone Star College-Kingwood, there may also be materials on reserve at the Circulation Desk. Ask a librarian for assistance.

As you begin, narrow your topic to a size that you can manage.  Consider keywords that will help you find the information you need. These can be names of people, literary works, events, or broader identifying terms.  Use these keywords for locating information in the library catalog, electronic databases, and on the internet. 

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Carson McCullers (1917 - 1967)

carson mcculler portraitCarson McCullers is the author of several critically acclaimed novels, including The Member of the Wedding and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Her novella, Ballad of the Sad Cafe, is considered by many to be her masterpiece. Carson's work is often compared with that of Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor.

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, with its nameless narrator, is the story of Amelia Evans, owner of a cafe in the small Southern town close to Cheechaw, Georgia. Amelia Evans, a loner and the richest person for miles around, is in love with Lymon, a hunchback. Her ex-husband, Marvin Macy, returns from prison and starts a relationship with Lymon.

McCullers' grotesquely eccentric characters make this a story worth reading and analyzing. It has been made into a movie (available in the library) and was adapted for the stage by Edward Albee. McCullers' writing career was short, but her place in American Southern Gothic literature is assured.

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