Places Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Places)
Army post. Unnamed military installation in the South that is the novel’s main setting. Because the novel is set during peacetime, the atmosphere is described as dull, one in which mundane events recur repeatedly. The layout of the army post parallels the routine events that occur on its premises. The post contains rows of officers’ tract houses, a gym, a chapel, a golf course, and swimming pools. The structure of the army post is as rigid as the rules imposed on its inhabitants. Within the boundaries of the isolated army post, a subculture emerges. This insular, dull setting makes the action that unfolds in the novel depart from routine and seem even more dramatic than if it had occurred outside the subculture that exists within the army post. The army post setting is important because it shows how the characters who live within it do not conform to socially acceptable rules, even though they reside in a very rule-oriented, regimented environment. The army post setting also provides an environment in which characters have hierarchical ranks. This situation is imperative to illustrate the complicated relationships between Captain Penderton, Private Williams, and Major Langdon. Amid structured and ordered physical surroundings and clearly defined professional ranks, the characters are all emotionally and psychologically distressed and unstable.
*American South. The narrator points out that...
(The entire section is 467 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
Carr, Virginia Spencer. The Lonely Hunter: A Biography of Carson McCullers. Garden City, N.J.: Anchor Press, 1975. This definitive biography of Carson McCullers has numerous photographs and a good index. Discusses the circumstances surrounding the writing and publication of Reflections in a Golden Eye.
Carr, Virginia Spencer. Understanding Carson McCullers. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1990. Argues that the characters in Reflections in a Golden Eye are grotesque. Describes characters and plot, giving a brief overview of contemporary reviews of the book.
Cook, Richard M. Carson McCullers. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1975. Cook analyzes the main characters in the novel and discusses the theme of isolation.
Graver, Lawrence. Carson McCullers. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1969. Noteworthy for its vituperative attack on Reflections in a Golden Eye, which Graver criticizes for “luridness of subject” and “lack of artistry.”
McDowell, Margaret B. Carson McCullers. Boston: Twayne, 1980. Describes the book’s plot, then discusses its comic effects, the use of the gothic, its “fragmented vision of human existence,” the motif of isolation, and its horror.