Carson McCullers (1917- 1967) was a Southern writer who wrote in a Southern Realism style adopted after the Russian Realism style. Carson did numerous literary jobs such as novel writing, plays, short stories, essays and poetries. …
Almost all of her works are set in South America and reflects the themes of misfits and spiritual isolations of the south. Her characters are desperately lonely individuals that are looking for ways to escape from their small town existence. The writing style and structure is deceptively simple hiding the richness of empathy that Carson portrays towards individual plight. The writer is best known for her three novels, “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” (1940); Reflections in a Golden Eye” (1941) and “The Member of the Wedding” (1946). A Biographical Sketch of Carson McCullers Carson McCullers was born in Columbia in Georgia in 1917 in the home of a plantation owner and former soldier of the war. She initially had aptitude for music and it was this subject that motivated her to leave her home and study it at an advanced level through the prestigious Julliard School of Music (situated in New York City). But, when she lost the money that she had saved to the study the subject of music, she totally left any thoughts of pursuing the subject in higher education and instead started taking courses in creative writing under the tutelage of Dorothy Scarborough, a Texas writer at Columbia University. Carson also studied along with Sylvia Chatfield Bates at the Washington Square College of New York University. Later she met an aspiring writer Reeves McCullers and married him in the year 1937. Carson had suffered rheumatic fever in 1932 which may have been the primary cause of the number of crippling strokes that Carson suffered later in her life. The strokes weakened her body and by the age of 30, her left side was completely paralyzed. However, the strokes did not weaken her moral spirit and instead gave her the determination to face life with all her mental strength. The sufferings acted as fuel to her imagination and together with the association of prominent writers of the time (such as Eudora Welty, Louis Untermeyer, Newton Arvin and Katherine Anne Porter) made her compose highly creative works. Carson created tragic works with an element of comedy in them. Carson’s first novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940) had a sensational response from the critics and readers alike and established her as one of the premier prose writers of the country. Carson was twice awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship (24 March, 1942 and 15 April 1946) but was unable to accept it due to her poor health conditions. Amidst all the physical pains and spiritual disillusionments, Carson wrote the script of the play, “The Member of the Wedding” which opened to a full house on 5th January, 1950. The play is an adaptation of her book with similar title and won her the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for the best play of the season. However, her other play, The Square Root of Wonderful (1957) failed to attract the crowd and closed prematurely. Devastated by its failure, Carson turned to children’s writings. She publishes a children’s book, Sweet as a Pie, Clean as a Pig on 1st ‘November, 1964. Finally, the year of her death (1967) recognizes her outstanding contribution in the field of English Literature as she was awarded the 1966 Henry Bellamann Award. A few days later, Carson suffered a stroke and died on 29 September. Literary Analysis of the Book the Member of the Wedding The Member of the Wedding was one of the most important works of Carson written over a period of 5 years. At the time of its creation, the world was suffering from the traumas of World War II and this trauma passes on to its protagonist. It is a story of a 12 year old tomboy, Frankie Addams who is leading a very isolated kind of life with hardly a suitable candidate to speak to. Frankie’s father is a jeweler who had lost his wife during childbirth. Her elder ...
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