List three details that suggest the grotesque from this passage of "The Ballad of the Sad Café."The man was a stranger, and it is rare that a stranger enters the town on foot at that hour....

List three details that suggest the grotesque from this passage of "The Ballad of the Sad Café."

The man was a stranger, and it is rare that a stranger enters the town on foot at that hour. Besides, the man was a hunchback. He was scarcely more than four feet tall and he wore a ragged, dusty coat that reached only to his knees. He crooked little legs seemed too thin to carry the weight of his great warped chest and the hump that sat on his shoulders. He had a very large head, with deep set blue eyes and a sharp little mouth. His face was both soft and sassy --at the moment his pale skin was yellowed by dust and there were lavender shadows beneath his eyes. He carried a lopsided old suitcase which was tied to a rope.

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It looks like your passage is from the The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers. In the story, Miss Amelia, the owner of a cafe, appears to take a liking to the hunchback, Cousin Lymon. She offers him room and board, to the surprise of the townsfolk. Within two years of doing this, Miss Amelia's cafe becomes successful and the talk of the town. Strangely, Miss Amelia rubs pot liquor on the hunchback day and night in order to strengthen his body. However, 'nothing seemed to strengthen him; food only made his hump and his head grow larger while the rest of him remained weakly and deformed.'

Grotesque is defined as malformed, repulsively distorted, or misshapen. So, from your passage, three details which would suggest the grotesque would be:

1) the great warped chest of the hunchback.

2) the hump on the hunchback's shoulders.

3) the hunchback's thin and crooked legs.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Southern gothic literature, within a setting of social realism, the element of the grotesque is often prevalent.  The qualities of the grotesque often illuminate themes about the human condition because their oddities take the reader away from stereotyping and other attitudes that would impede the reader from not viewing the human experience more closely.

The description above of Amelia's cousin Lymon, who is a small man, points to his oddities. He is a hunchback, or "broke-back" as the people of the town call him.  Lymon is only four feet tall and has crooked little legs.  On top of these pitiful legs sits a "great warped chest." That Amelia falls in love with this diminutive little man, this grotesque character, points sharply to her terrible isolation.

toomuchness | Student

1) “He had only been in the store half an hour before an immediate contact had been established himself and each other individual...” This quote proves that he is a very social easygoing person.

2)” began to chat with everyone, asking questions such as if a man was married, how old he was, how much his wages came to in an average” This quote suggest that he’s a very curious person, wants to know everything.

3) He is very child-like. “has an instinct usually found only in small children”

I hope this helped!

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The Ballad of the Sad Café

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