The Ballad of the Sad Cafe

The Character of Lymon in "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" 11th Grade

One character in the love triangle described in the novella “The Ballad of the Sad Café,” by Carson McCullers, is unworthy of love. Miss Amelia, a businesswoman with manly characteristics and little compassion, gains joy and happiness from Lymon at first and comes to trust him. Unfortunately, it gradually becomes clear that Lymon is actually grotesque, selfish and devious.

Physically, Lymon is depicted as “a hunchback. He was scarcely more than four feet tall… His crooked legs seemed too thin to carry the weight of his great warped chest and the hump on his shoulders” (6). He is also poor, carrying “a bag full of manners of junk” (8). Between being grotesque and poor, he tried to pull upon Miss Amelia’s heartstrings in order to lure her into her hoax. He may have had an inclination that because she also had unattractive physical qualities, she would be more likely to take him in.

Lymon uses Miss Amelia’s love and affection for his own selfish gains. He takes advantage of Miss Amelia’s “lonesome looks of the lover” (23), using it to become the center of activity at the café: “It was the hunchback who was most responsible for the great popularity of the café” (39). Miss Amelia was not socially inclined and would not have made it...

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