Carson McCullers American Literature Analysis
Spiritual isolation is the abiding theme of Carson McCullers’s fiction. At the core of modern life, she saw a tragic failure of individuals to connect with one another emotionally, to return love, or to commit themselves to a socially edifying pattern of shared values. Her characters struggle through agonies of psychic stress to realize the radical loneliness in their lives. Sexual deviation, violence, and sexual initiation in adolescence move them to their personal crises.
Typically, her characters live in perfectly normal surroundings, such as a small mill town or an Army post in peacetime, but her revelation of their inner lives is so penetrating and their psychic turmoil is so grotesque that they seem to inhabit a world of existential dread. Overwrought inward obsessions define characters such as Weldon Penderton, Mick Kelly, or Frankie Addams, though their predicaments may appear absurd to ordinary people. Perhaps no American writer since Edgar Allan Poe has painted the mental landscape as well as McCullers; she has deftly delineated the subtle nuances of psychic states lying along the continuum linking psychosis and neurosis with normalcy.
Her relation to the literary tradition of southern gothic fiction is easily misunderstood. It is true that her characters include deaf-mutes, lunatics, criminals, fanatics, a giant in love with a dwarf, eunuchs, perverts, and variously mutilated, disfigured, and misshapen people; yet, the grotesquery...
(The entire section is 3518 words.)
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