In neither Mc Cullers nor Wolfe is the hold of the Southern community upon characters very real.
Neither is very much involved in the kind of historical tradition or community identification that writers such as Faulkner and Welty use for the stuff of their fiction.
Whatever it was she had in the way of a gift, she had lost it.
When she died in 1967, I doubt that anyone felt that she was leaving good books unwritten.
They had been dying in the darkness—without a goal, a certain purpose, or a door.
And that, it seemed to George, was the way the thing had come. Yes, it was there— on many a night long past and wearily accomplished, in ten thousand little towns and in ten million barren streets where all the passion, hope, and hunger of the famished men beat like a great pulse through the fields of darkness—it was there and nowhere else that all this madness had been brewed.From Columbus, Georgia to New York City is a long way.Biff Blannon’s restaurant is presumbly called the New York Cafe because of the ironic contrast between what it is and what its name signifies.Like Carson Smith Mc Cullers, Thomas Wolfe was raised in a small Southern city, of lower middle class origins and status, and yearned to get away.Eugene Gant looked out northward and eastward over the mountains toward the shining city of his dreams; Frankie Addams and Mick Kelly, unlike their creator, are less precise about exactly where they wish to go, but they are sure they want to get out of their imprisoned circumstances.In this respect, as in several others, she is reminiscent of another Southern author, Thomas Wolfe.In the novel published as , Wolfe explains how it was that the townsfolk of Libya Hill got involved in a frantic real estate boom in the 1920’s, resulting in disgrace and disaster when the Depression came on.We are dealing, therefore, with certain works of fiction written and published during a period of intense and often brilliant creativity, by a young writer, a as it were, one who did not develop or extend her range afterward. Whatever the faces and tensions that were central to her life and art, and which ultimately destroyed both, they attained, during this period, an equilibrium that made her fiction possible.A writer, too, whom I have found can exert a very powerful influence on young people, in particular other young writers.I have taught courses in creative writing for some years, and so do not undervalue the considerable influence she can have on a certain kind of young writer.All in all, it is a benign and valuable influence, for if the young writer is any good the more obvious imitative elements are soon thrown off, while what remains is the sense of the possibility of self-expression.