Essay on Carson McCullers' The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

Essay on Carson McCullers' The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

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The novel The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter was written by Carson McCullers and published in 1940. This novel is set in during the Depression Era in a small town in the south. The story follows a mute man named John Singer. Singer moves away from his home when his only friend is taken to a mental hospital. Once he finds a new home, many of the lonely people in the community come to talk to him. Singer and all of the people that talk to him are the focus of book. What is unusual about this novel is the fact that the story changes its focus throughout the chapters to focus on a different character and their development for each one. The unique characterization of John Singer helps develop the novel's main theme of how everyone struggles sometimes to relate to others.
Despite the fact that the book does follow several other characters, John Singer is the protagonist in this novel. He is the one person or “thing” that all of the other characters have in common, even though they do not realize it. He is a character full of much mystery and other people use him to talk to even though he is a mute. Singer is often a tool that others use to feel as though they can relate to someone. This can be seen with the young girl Mick Kelly. She “loved to go up to Mister Singer's room. Even if he was a deaf-and-dumb mute he understood every word she said to him” (McCullers 78). Mick uses Mr. Singer as a tool to feel connected to someone, since she has no real friends her own age and she is the middle child of a rather large family.
Another character that clings to Mr. Singer as a tool is the radical town drunk Jake Blount. The reader can see Blount using Singer as a person to connect to in a one-sided conversation where Blount is talking about poli...


... middle of paper ...


...y maybe he could have connected to someone, he would not have killed himself.
John Singer is a prime example of a character that has trouble relating to those around him in the novel The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter. Mr. Singer was alienated and often used as a tool by others as a way to feel related to. Mr. Singer served as an idea to those around him, “[t]he rich thought that he was rich and the poor considered him a poor man like themselves. And as there was no way to disprove these rumors they grew marvelous and very real. Each man described the mute as he wished him to be” (190). This along with Singer's relationship with Antonapoulos, his muteness, and his suicide all illustrate the theme of how everyone struggles sometimes to relate to others in this book.


Works Cited

McCullers, Carson. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. New York: Bantam Books, 1953. Print.

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