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by Carson McCullers

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From Eros to Agape: reconsidering the chain gang's song in McCullers's "Ballad of the Sad Cafe."
"The song of the chain gang that ends Carson McCullers' short story Ballad of the Sad Cafe signifies her espousal of Agape, or brotherly love, over the erotic love, or Eros, which animates the story's main characters. McCullers chose a chain gang to deliver the story's message because it was one of the few integrated institutions in the segregated South of the early 1950s. The irony that Southern whites and African Americans could achieve harmony only by being chained to each other probably appealed to her. The song provides a slender hope that future racial harmony in the South may be possible."
Contains: Historical Context, Content Analysis
Author: Margaret Whitt
From: Studies in Short Fiction Wntr 1996 v33 n1 p119(4)

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Last Updated Mar 25, 2014