The Style Of Carson Mcullers Stories
The story, "A Tree, a Rock, a Cloud" by Carson McCullers displays new ideas in philosophy that helped usher in the Modernist movement. McCullers is able to display this philosophical style by the masterful use of the realistic narrative. In this particular story she explores a philosophy not only on love but of the two sides of man.
This is done by the realistic setting and the small surface details she allows to seep through in her work.The story opens up by painting a picture of the setting to the readers. "It was raining that morning, and still very dark. When the boy reached the streetcar café he had almost finished his route and he went in for a cup of coffee." The author does not stop by simply doing this but allows us to see the setting inside by giving us a description of the other people involved in the story. "The place was an all-night café owned by a bitter and stingy man called Leo.
After the raw, empty street, the café seemed friendly and bright: along the counter there were a couple of soldiers, three spinners from the cotton mill, and in a corner a man who sat hunched over with his nose and half his face down in a beer mug." The author ends the first paragraph by describing the boy without naming him allowing us to connect with him but remain on the outside looking in, so that we can become more involved in the conversation that proceeds instead of focusing on one character. "The boy wore a helmet such as aviators wear. When he went into the café he unbuckled the chin strap and raised the right flap up over his pink little ear." After opening the story this way the reader is able to place themselves in the story not as a third party but as a character because of the lack of names given to the character described.The author sets the story and characters as such to allow us to explore and dissect the philosophy revealed as the rest of the story develops.
As soon as the setting is revealed to the audience the writer immediately begins the dialogue between the main two characters the boy and the old man, both who remain nameless throughout the story. "He paid and was leaving the café when a voice called out to him: "Son! Hey Son!" He turned back and the man in the corner was crooking his finger and nodding to him. He had brought his face out of the beer mug and he seemed suddenly very happy.
The man was long and pale, with a big nose and faded orange hair. "Hey Son!" The author then catches the audience's attention and begins to explore the philosophy of the story very soon within the dialogue and the use of one statement. "The man said slowly: "I love you." With this line the audience is not only caught off guard but is allowed to see the thing that will be explored later in the story, the philosophy on love.As the story progresses the old man, or tramp, reveals to the boy that he has developed love into a science. "I am talking about love," the man said. "With me it is a science." He goes on to explain that he has developed this way of thinking and philosophy on love by telling the boy his personal story of finding his love and losing her. "Twelve years ago I married the woman in the photograph. She was my wife for one year, nine months, three days, and two nights. I loved her.
Yes...." He tightened his blurred, rambling voice and said again: "I loved her. I thought also that she loved me. I was a railroad engineer. She had all home comforts and luxuries. It never crept into my brain that she was not satisfied.
But do you know what happened?"The man did not take his eyes from the boy's face. "She left me. I came in one night and the house was empty and she was gone. She left me." The man goes on to tell the boy about the steps he took after she left to find her. "I took a number of steps to get her back.
I went around trying to locate her. I went to Tulsa where she had folks. And to Mobile. I went to every town she had ever mentioned to me, and I hunted down every man she had formerly been connected with. Tulsa, Atlanta, Chicago, Cheehaw, Memphis.....
For the better part of two years I chased around the country trying to lay hold of her." "But the pair of them had vanished from the face of the earth!" The man tells the boy of the pain and sickness this loss caused him. However, in the fifth year of the search he tells the boy, "I started my science." He tells the boy that though it is hard to explain scientifically that the only logical explanation was that he and his wife had fled each other so long that they the memory of both of them finally quit fleeing and there was peace. The man explains to the boy that men start love backwards. "Men fall in love for the first time.
And what do they fall in love with? A woman, Without science, with nothing to go by, they undertake the most dangerous and sacred experience in God's earth. They fall in love with a woman. They start at the wrong end of love." The man then reveals his science, and as he does the author introduces another philosophy into the story that though men love their fears paralyze them from sharing these feelings with others.
The man tells the boy the first things a man should love are, "A tree. A rock. A cloud." The old man's philosophy is that as you learn to love everyday objects you can progress to the point of learning to love a woman but before you have went through the proper steps this love will be detrimental.
The other philosophy of men's feelings being hidden because of fear is also revealed here. Everything that the tramp mentions is objects that can be loved but that cannot be love back. This shows the author's philosophy of men being caring but displaying it is because of fear of being hurt.
While wanting to love a woman the tramp only loves objects that cannot love him back this keeps him from being hurt by another person's feelings or lack thereof. The clear example of his fear of being hurt is when the tramp tells the boy that he is not yet ready to love a woman again.Throughout the story "A Tree. A Rock. A cloud." Carson McCullers explores philosophies of love and mankind. McCullers is able to explore these philosophies and allow the readers of the story to explore these philosophies further by her us of the realistic narrative.
She is able to set the story where the readers can easily put themselves into the characters shoes. This allows the readers to explore the story and its philosophy better. Just as many other stories written in this period of literature it was influenced by new ideas in philosophy, and explored the philosophy using the story.
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