Change Your World-NOT your Body

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Different Women Doing Woman Different: Carson McCullers

“Maybe when people longed for a thing that bad the longing made them trust in anything that might give it to them.”
― Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Carson McCullers is an American southern writer born 1917 in Columbus, Georgia. She published her first novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter to critical acclaim, writing much of it while recovering from an illness, when she was only 23 years old.

McCullers used her fiction to give voice to the voiceless and invisible among us, or maybe just like us; the deaf mute, mental retard, poor black, nerd, lonely tomboy and all around freaks of society. McCullers was able to breath life into these characters because she was them, she lived the life of the misfit, the lonely, the perpetual outsider.

Like her character Frankie, who uses her brother's upcoming wedding as a wish fulfillment where she is no longer an outsider but finally part of something, a Member of the Wedding, or Mick Kelly, a lonely, sensitive short haired tomboy who dreams of a musical life beyond her poor simple upbringing and finds solace confiding in the wise deaf mute Mr Singer.

McCullers short life was a canvas of beauty, passion and a powerful sense of write/right, a canvas also painted with broad streaks of loneliness and illness. McCullers died at the age of 50 in 1967.

Carson McCullers went beyond carrying female differently, she created characters that carried female differently and whom continue to do so each and every time they are read anew. Through lonely precocious adolescent tomboys McCullers enabled some of us to feel a little less afraid, a little less lonely and little less alone in a conformist world.

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  1. “ But look what the Church has done to Jesus during the last two thousand years. What they have made of Him. How they have turned every word He spoke for their own vile ends. Jesus would be framed and in jail if he was living today.”
    ― Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

    “Wherever you look there’s meanness and corruption. This room, this bottle of grape wine, these fruits in the basket, are all products of profit and loss. A fellow can’t live without giving his passive acceptance to meanness. Somebody wears his tail to a frazzle for every mouthful we eat and every stitch we wear—and nobody seems to know. Everybody is blind, dumb, and blunt-headed—stupid and mean.”
    ― Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

    “The people dreamed and fought and slept as much as ever. And by habit they shortened their thoughts so that they would not wander out into the darkness beyond tomorrow.”
    ― Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

    “... and we are not alone in this slavery. there are millions of others throughout the world, of all colors and races and creeds. this we must remember. there are many of our people who hate the poor of the white race, and they hate us. the people in this town living by the river who work in the mills. people who are almost as much in need as we are ourselves. this hatred is a great evil, and no good can ever come from it... the injustice of need must bring us all together and not separate us. we must remember that we all make the things of this earth of value because of labor.”
    ― Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

    “My advice to you is this. Do not attempt to stand alone. ...The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone.”
    ― Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

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