Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Carson McCullers ~ Complexity upon Complexity.


Carson McCullers wrote a slew of novels in her short and difficult life. She died, aged 50, after years of ill-health: strokes, breast cancer, partial blindness, partial paralysis and depression. Her books are set in locations well-known to her: small towns in south-eastern USA. Her characters are drawn from society's outcasts and misfits. She lived part of her life in New York and Paris, well away from the suffocating atmosphere of The South, and and could count among her friends such literary luminaries as Truman Capote, W.H. Auden, Tennessee Williams. She and her husband, Reeves, were both bi-sexual, which unsurprisingly led to difficulties and divorce but a later re-marriage. Complexity upon complexity!

I have yet to read any of her novels, I bought the one pictured above, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, written when McCullers was 23. It sat on my "to read" pile for some weeks. Having sampled it and declared it "very odd" I passed it on to my husband, a far more patient reader than I. My husband dutifully read it, pronounced it "rather strange" and passed it on to his eldest daughter. She read it. Her opinion was much the same.

A random quote from the book had initially attracted me (here):
But say a man does know. He sees the world as it is and he looks back thousands of years to see how it all come about. He watches the slow agglutination of capital and power and he sees its pinnacle today. He sees America as a crazy house... He sees a whole damn army of unemployed and billions of dollars and thousands of miles of land wasted... He sees how when people suffer just so much they get mean and ugly and something dies in them. But the main thing he sees is that the whole system of the world is built on a lie. And although it's as plain as the shining sun—the don't-knows have lived with that lie so long they just can't see it.
One quote doesn't make a great novel though!

Our friend and son-in-law (TNPOTUS when he comments) recalled that another of Carson McCullers' books was on his high school reading list - Ballad of the Sad Café. As a writer, then, she must have accrued a certain amount of respect in the USA. We had nothing as modern in our school reading lists. Dickens and Shakespeare were our "meat and potatoes", with perhaps a Bronte or Jane Austen for dessert.

Carson McCullers herself must have been quite a strong character, given the obstacles she encountered during a relatively short life. Let's look at her natal chart. It is set for 12 noon in the absence of a birth time.
Born 19 February 1917 in Columbus, Georgia.

A cluster of planets in Air sign Aquarius, including the sign's modern ruler Uranus, connect to social awareness and a hankering after reform. Aquarius and Uranus - the two together - can often bring forth a misfit, rebel or an eccentric - or a prodigy/genius in some sphere.

McCullers' natal Sun is at 00 Pisces conjunct energetic and oft belligerent Mars, which conjunction sharpens some of Pisces dreamy mystical softness, and adds a will of steel, something she surely needed to deal with her various physical afflictions.

Jupiter, planet of publication is in helpful sextile aspect to Sun....good alignment for a writer.

Moon, were she born before 9am, would have been in Capricorn; later than that it'd be in early Aquarius. I'd wager it was in Aquarius, adding further to an oddball or misfit persona - her own (and that of several characters in her novels?)

The early degrees are a feature in this chart: Neptune, Pluto, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Mercury and possibly Moon all within the first 5 degrees of their signs. Early degrees belong to the first decan (a one-third slice) of a sign. First decan is always governed by the ruler of the sign itself, so these early degrees equate to a "pure", unmodified version of whichever sign is involved. The chain of early degree planets also leads to multiple alignments, both helpful and challenging....leading back to where we started: complexity upon complexity.


Gian Paul said...

"The whole system of the world is based on a lie"

Come to mind: Plato's Parable of the Cave (of course). Maya of the Hindus.

All promises politicians and salesmen in general make. Many religious leaders as well. Mostly these are not deliberate lies. Who hands them out usually even believes them him/herself, or almost so. And that's why it's so treacherous for the "innocent believers".

Carson's natal horoscope indicates an extreme sensitivity held "in chains", i.e. 4 planets (Moon,Mercury, opposite Neptune and squaring Jupiter - in a perfect T- square. And all set in 3 fixed signs! Also, as if to increase her probably permanent state of tension, a big "void of planets" over 6 entire signs, and these exactly opposite Jupiter. Very complex indeed.

No wonder the Lady felt how she did and - if she had read Plato - must have felt "at home" herself in his legendary cave. If she had not heard of Plato, she for certain confirmed some 2500 years later the same, really tragic but probably true perception.

Twilight said...

Gian Paul ~~~ I was unfamiliar with Plato's Parable of the Cave, GP. We didn't dabble much in Greek literature in my schooldays, The Iliad, in Latin class, was as far as we went in that direction.

I googled around and found this brief explanation which might be of interest to future readers too.

Plato's parable of the cave is a metaphor for ignorance and knowledge. Imagine, says Plato, a cave in which prisoners are chained in such a way that all they can see are shadows thrown on a wall in front of them. All they know of life are these shadows. They would think that these shadows were reality, having known nothing else. If one of them were freed, and allowed to emerge into the daylight, he would see things as they are, and realize how limited his vision was in the cave. He would be quite unwilling to return

Interesting, and so relevant to the quote from the novel of Carson McCullers. That cave is becoming pretty crowded these days. ;-)


Thanks also for the additional astrologican insight. :-)