Family, racism, hypocrisy, poverty and hatred are just some of many. The novel is set in the sleepy town of Maycomb, which, although a fictional town, is based on Monroeville, Alabama and is a perfect microcosm of the ways and culture of people during the 1930’s Depression. Maycomb was not on any major routes. It was “an island in a patchwork sea of cotton fields and timberland” Harper Lee describes Maycomb as a “Tired old town”. The often-humid climate made summers almost unbearable, and the seasons couldn’t clearly be distinguished.
For example the Maycomb County Courthouse: “a view indicating a people determined to preserve every physical scrap of the past.” Racism in Maycomb has existed since the Indians. It shows how Maycomb is based on extreme racial and prejudice. “If General Jackson hadn’t run the Creeks.” Maycomb is also shown as a town that has not been brought up to present times by the state of the actual town. It is very poor and in disrepair, it only has one taxi. When Miss Maudie’s house catches on fire the fire engine does not reach Maycomb for a while because Maycomb is a very isolated town and not very important so therefore there is now nearby fire station.
Carson McCullers uses style to position the 1950s American audience to accept the idea that small town life is dying to communicate the inevitable economic depression of small towns in a capitalist society. In ‘The Ballad of the Sad Café’ McCullers presents aspects of the setting as miserable, estranged, deserted and grieving. The language used to describe the town presents it as very isolated; with the nearest train stop being a city named Society City, a name which conveys that the town is eccentric; small, with a ‘main street only a hundred yards long’, two-room houses, one church with two coloured windows and a large building which is ‘boarded up completely’. All of these descriptions by McCullers present the town as desolate and in a depression and show that the town’s ‘glory days’ have been and gone in the form of the now closed café. These descriptions from the text present the idea that small towns are dying, and that society has moved on with urban cities, leaving rural towns behind.
Lets take a look at some examples. Moscow shows a grossly mixed area of farmland, light to heavy industry, and a mixed commerce living space with large groups of apartment buildings. Approximately 30% of the city proper is vacant wasted areas, and there is no effort to reclaim any of this land. This is most likely due to heavy pollution, crime, and the generally poor economical situation. In Mexico City, there is a vast area of poor living conditions within poorer living conditions.
Most people have migrated from neighbouring towns, citys and countries. Like kuru where the river was polluted which crippled the fishing trade. The main reason that people moved away from kuru is the textile market for new opportunities and jobs, because Bombay is the centre of commerce. Most of the people who migrate live in rural areas. I have seen up to eight people in one family living in a tiny shanty with hardly any food or water.
No profits were being made, and although many southern blacks believed that life in the north was better, it was not much different. Black Americans working in the northern industries were living in poverty even before the stock market crash because they had been laid off; they were often replaced with white workers. When the Depression occurred, "more black workers than white lost their jobs. In 1931, about one out of every three Blacks was jobless, and one out of four whites" (Meltzer 210). People, especially blacks, were being put out of work everywhere; the wave of depression had hit the entire country.
The empty chapel without windows is nearby, as you perceive from lines 389 and 390: There is the empty chapel, only the wind's home. It has no windows, and the door swings It's image makes you shiver. It could possibly represent itself, in the sense that many people die there, as in baptism, as well as dying, where this place may be the starting point for a second, never-ending life. The chapel has no windows, maybe so that the people inside would not loose
I step out of my house and look down the rows of the shantytown it all I can see in eyesight. I start walking to town as I pass by the other shacks there is not much stirring most people asleep trying to escape the thought of what has happened to them in this nightmare of reality. (Dickinson C Living in Illinois) With eyes open I enter town there is people moving about coming in and out of the half-empty stores. While walking the street for a while I observe the people. The people don’t have thoughts of happiness on their faces it is if a wave of death is haunting all of them.
Sidney, Jax, and I walked for about seven minutes before we reached a part of Blossomville I’ve never encountered. The tone of the once vibrant town I knew turned into a listless, dull place. There was fog that made it almost impossible to see. After what seemed like hours of walking, we finally reached an unsightly house. You could see the mold Jax was talking about seeping through the cracks of windows.
Their First Purchase Church is very old and worn out. The paint is cracked and peeling, it has no ceiling, there’s a rough oak pulpit, and cheap cardboard fans must be used to keep the congregation cool. There is no piano, organ or church program in sight, and the whole church has to share one hymnbook! The graveyard contains only a few expensive headstones, with most graves merely outlined by broken glass. A further degradation occurs during the rest of the week, when the church building is used by whites for gambling.