Date of Award

Spring 1973

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

DeFalco, Joseph

Second Advisor

Woolley, James D.

Third Advisor

Schieber, Alois


Carson McCullers produced in a short lifetime a body of work in which she returned again and again to the theme of spiritual isolation and incompleteness. One detects, on her part, a dedication, almost an obsession with this characteristic human phenomenon. Just as obvious as her characteristic theme is her method of approach, a personal vision invariably expressed through repeated images and symbols. Recurring adolescent and freak characters; place repetitions, such as,. small Southern towns, cafes, and kitchens; constant references to the atmosphere, to the North and snow; repeated musical images, time images and color images; culminating psychological images of Love of Eros and Love of Agape; indicate a conscious and significant patterning on McCullers' part. Most critics who deal with McCullers' work have commented on her theme of spiritual, isolation, but only William Dodd and Ihab Hassan have attempted brief or, direct analyses, of McCullers' imagistic and symbolic approach. No commentator has attempted a thorough analysis of the images and image patterns she employs in her fiction as they serve her artistic purposes. Understandably, the primary concern of McCullers' criticism thus far has been with the content of her work, since she is typically a good story teller. Nevertheless, such an emphasis tends to obscure her artistry, for it negates her symbolic mode of expression, an expression which is essential rather than tangential to her particular vision...



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