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The Ballad of the Sad Cafe

Novella by Carson McCullers


Amelia Evans - Owns the Sad Cafe and is a tall, powerful, independent, shrewd, industrious, and capable loner.

Cousin Lymon - A sociable man who enjoys entertaining the townsfolk with tall tales. He claims to be a cousin of Amelia and despite his being a dwarf and a hunchback, she adores him.

Marvin Macy - An outlaw and ex-husband of Miss Amelia.  He returns to town when he is released from prison.

Narrator - An unnamed, omniscient resident of the town.  His observations and memories are the story.


Themes to Consider

  • Loneliness
  • Isolation
  • The Power of Love
  • Compassion in the narration
  • Character study
  • Psychological phenomenon that causes human beings who are worshiped to despise the worshiper
  • Southern grotesque
  • Mystical qualities connecting story to the Southern Gothic period
  • Sad Cafe as folklore
  • The use of music to substitute for words and powerful feelings
  • The Chain Gang

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