The sense of place in the fiction of Carson McCullers

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dc.contributor.advisor Trimmer, Joseph F. en_US Eckard, Ronald en_US 2011-06-03T19:25:09Z 2011-06-03T19:25:09Z 1975 en_US 1975
dc.identifier LD2489.Z64 1975 .E25 en_US
dc.description.abstract Born in Columbus, Georgia, Carson McCullers was a Southerner by circumstance, but she maintained an emotional and psychological attachment to the South throughout her life. Her choice of a Southern setting with Southern characters for almost all of her works of fiction illustrates that the place off her birth commanded an unmistakable influence on her creative imagination. Therefore, the major Southern themes of place--the burden off the past, the antipathy toward change, the formal versus the formless existence, and the preference for objects rather than ideas-abound in her fiction. She utilizes those themes consistently to establish the significance of physical place in her fiction.Simultaneously, a second concept of place is operant in the McCullers fiction--the metaphysical sense of place. The duality between the physical and the metaphysical is evident throughout the McCullers canon from one of her earliest untitled stories to Clock Without Hands, her final novel. The early story of the girl who stands outside the gates of a convent and dreams of a marvelous party inside is the first manifestation of that duality.The short fiction incorporates an especially stringent duality. Like the convent gates, the boundaries of the South represent a formidable barrier against the outside world. An either/or dichotomy emerges in the short fiction which contrasts the South to non-Southern locales, particularly New York City.Mrs. McCullers' first novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter introduces the physical/metaphysical dichotomy of place in which several characters, especially Mick Kelly, find the physical locale undesirable and long for a more satisfying place.Reflections in a Golden Lye presents an extension of physical/metaphysical dichotomy since the rigidly defined boundaries of the army base setting are similar to those of a small Southern town.The lever/beloved dichotomy in The Ballad of the Sad Cafe is simply an embellishment on the physical/metaphysical duality.The Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers' most realistic novel, comes close to blending the physical and the metaphysical sense of place. Frankie Addams finds an answer to her metaphysical search for place in Mary Little-John.Mrs. McCullers brings the prototype convent story to its ultimate happy ending in Clock Without Hands by resolving the conflicts between the physical and the metaphysical search for place. In the character of Jester Clane, the author presents a happy fusion off the two conflicting philosophies. He proves that one can open the gates of the convent, enjoy the marvelous party, and return to the physical world with new wisdom and commitment. He finds his metaphysical sense of place by conquering the burden of the past, by overcoming the antipathy toward and by rising above his formless adolescence to become formal, fully developed adult who can transcend the coercive codes of the confined community. en_US
dc.format.extent ii, 160 leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.other McCullers, Carson, 1917-1967. en_US
dc.title The sense of place in the fiction of Carson McCullers en_US Thesis (D. Ed.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

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  • Doctoral Dissertations [3248]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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