preview

a

Satisfactory Essays
Carson McCullers’ ‘The Ballad of the Sad Café is a vehicle used to convey the inevitable economic depression of small towns in a capitalist society. McCullers excellently describes the concerns of small town life in her gothic novella The Ballad of the Sad Café, published in 1951. McCullers’ opening passage of her novella captures the lonely essence of a town facing isolation and desolation after the closure of the main attraction, a vibrant and social café. Through her deliberate manipulation of prose conventions such as setting, tone and style she communicates the eccentricity of a town in a capitalist society marked by the terrible actions of a man who caused the ruination of the town’s economy.
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. The description of a depression in the town ...

... middle of paper ...

... the social hierarchy in the town and the perpetuation of poverty through low pay for the proletariat while the bourgeoisie prospers. The narrator – a member of the proletariat class – has a bleak tone, and is used by McCullers to convey town dynamics and history through their sage like qualities. McCullers’ style positions the audience to accept her representation of small town dynamics, which are uncomfortable and distanced, to present the idea that small town culture is dying. Through her deliberate manipulation of prose conventions such as setting, tone and style she communicates the eccentricity of a town in a capitalist society marked by the terrible actions of a man who caused the ruination of the town’s economy. Carson McCullers’ ‘The Ballad of the Sad Café is a vehicle used to convey the inevitable economic depression of small towns in a capitalist society.
Get Access