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The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe

Throughout the novel The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers, there is

an evident recurring theme. Ever-present in the story is a feeling of unrequited love,

illustrated through looking at the parallels of the intertwined relationships between three

separate individuals. Miss Amelia Evans, Cousin Lymon Willis, and Marvin Macy, are the

players involved in this grotesque love triangle. The feelings they respectively have for

each other are what drives the story, and are significant enough that the prosperity of

entire town hinges upon them.

First to come of the couplings between these main characters, was the 10 day

marriage of Marvin Macy and Amelia Evans. Previously notorious as a womanizer and

town miscreant, meeting Amelia made Martin wish to be a better man. He cleaned up his

act, and devoted his entire attention to his love for Amelia. Amelia, however, felt no

connection with this man, and sought a relationship only out of economic advantage.

When this finally became clear to Marvin, when he was once and for all removed of the

illusion that his love was returned, it was already too late. Amelia had stripped him of

everything he owned. He took refuge in criminal activity, and was sent to prison. His

love was not returned, and he suffered greatly for it.

Many years down the line, there came into Miss Amelia?s life a man named Lymon

Willis. He was a distant cousin, not to mention a deformed hunchback, yet this did not

stop Amelia from falling for him. Amelia catered to his every need, giving him everything

she could possibly offer him, as Marvin had once done for her. In return for all her efforts,

Lymon was very ungrateful. He didn?t necessarily offer nothing in return, as mere

companionship was of crucial need to Amelia, but he definitely took advantage of her

feelings. Instead of loving her back, instead of being eternally grateful for her treatment of

him, Cousin Lymon chose to betray her. He chose his love for another, over Amelia?s

love for him. Miss Amelia, as with Marvin before her, was left with nothing. Another

victim, fallen pray to love, unrequited.

One might wonder why Lymon had chosen to rebuff Amelia?s love for him. Quite

simply, it is because Lymon, himself, fell for someone. Now maybe not love, in the

conventional sense, yet an extremely deep admiration. Marvin Macy was everything that

Cousin Lymon was not, and yet had always wished to be. Lymon was willing to do

anything to win Marvin?s favor, even ruin the life of someone who cared for him. He did

just that, too, helping to destroy Ameila?s every worldly possession, and her means of

supporting herself. All he did, in the name of, what he thought was, love However,

Marvin felt no more for Lymon, then Amelia had for Marvin, or Lymon had for Amelia.

Lymon was basically used by Marvin in an attempt to get back at Amelia. Although the

story ends before it could happen, its very likely that Lymon came to be hurt severely by

Marvin, once his usefulness had run out.

This story is all just one big vicious cycle of love and hatred. Its almost

inescapable, that a person will inevitably love someone, and not have that feeling returned

with the same force, or to the same extent. This is what happens repeatedly throughout

The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe, and in life, itself. There is a recurring theme of being hurt by

the ones you love, of being denied that which you most desire, and it is that, that is

responsible for driving the story.


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