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In this story, written by Carson McCullers, depicts very contrasting characters from “traditional” literature. In that, the protagonist Amelia Evans, a female, seems to have undertaken the role of the bread-winner. She is described as, “...a dark, tall woman with bones and muscles like a man. Her hair was cut short and brushed back from the forehead, and here was about her face a tense, haggard quality…” (McCullers 741). These qualities are among those reserved for men in literature, where in contrast, her male counter part in the story, Cousin Lymon, is the opposite. Lymon is depicted as a feeble character seemingly unable to care for himself. Specifically described as, “...a hunchback. He was scarcely more than four feet tall...His crooked legs seemed too thin...having a very large head” (McCullers 742). On first reading of the story, one can assume the Amelia possesses all the power. She holds the most physical wealth, means of production, and essentially controls the town she resides. However, looking deeper into the story, one can see Amelia is not.
Gender criticism, and more specifically Feminist Theory is; at a first principle, including the tradition of literary study, is a patriarchal one based upon unexamined male-oriented assumptions, habits and values” (CITE LIT BOOK). Furthermore, “Gender critics see their works as correcting the imbalance be recasting gender as a socially constructed norm, not a biological grounding, then analyzing the patriarchal mind-set and combating its practices” (Cite Lit Book). Meaning-in my opinion-feminist theorists are attempting to uplift and break the stereotypes previously portrayed by women in literature.
Marxist criticism is different yet similar to feminist theory. Karl Marx, a ...

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...ing herself for cousin Lymon-a male-she is subverting back to how women ought to be feeling and acting based on history. The Marxists aspects change as well. By the conclusion of the story, it is cousin Lymon who possesses the power over Amelia, and this power causes her demise.
In conclusion, “The Ballad of a Sad Cafe”, is an excellent literary work for its time. Feminists will argue that, this is just another story about how a man can ruin a good woman-I personally disagree. Amelia possessed all the qualities that typically a male would possess in a story, and in contrast cousin Lymon is weaker and more sensitive character, which is often reserved for women in literature. This contradiction, is-in my opinion-at the pinnacle of what feminist theorists have been trying to accomplish. The celebration of the feminine qualities becoming triumphant in a literary work.

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