The Heart is a Lonely Hunter Book Review

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The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940) is considered by many a classic Southern Gothic novel. Southern Gothic is a subgenre of Gothic fiction unique to American literature that takes place exclusively in the American South.The genre came together, however, only in the 20th century, when Dark Romanticism, Southern humor, and the new Naturalism merged into a new and powerful form of social critique. The Southern Gothic style is one that employs the use of macabre, ironic events to examine the values of the American South. Thus, unlike its parent genre, it uses the gothic tools not solely for the sake of suspense, but to explore social issues and reveal the cultural character of the American South - Gothic elements taking place in a magic realist context rather than a strictly fantastical one. Rural communities replaced the sinister plantations of an earlier age; and in the works of leading figures such as William Faulkner, Carson McCullers and Flannery O'Connor, the representation of the South blossomed into an absurdist critique of modernity as a whole. However, this pigeonholing of genre is eschewed by its author, Carson McCullers, as she believes that her writing bares more resemblance to works by 19th century Russian realists such as Maxim Gorky. McCullers was born Lula Carson Smith in Columbus, Georgia, on February 19,1917 ,to a middle-class family held in high esteem by neighboring families. She took piano lessons from age ten and at fifteen her father gave her a typewriter to encourage her to write. At 17, she graduated from Columbus High School and traveled to the Juilliard School of Music to study piano. After recovering from a bout with rheumatic fever, she changed her mind about studying music. She began taking night classe... ... middle of paper ... ...solves to start saving for a little piano. Even though nobody forced Mick to take the job at Woolworth's, she feels cheated. However, she still maintains optimism and resolves to pursue her plans. Biff Brannon keeps on working at the New York Café, pondering the patrons as he always has. At the café late that night, Biff thinks that Singer's death is a riddle that will remain a mystery for a long time. Biff experiences a brief epiphany about the meaning of life, and then prepares himself to greet the approaching day. Carson McCullers was able to craft a beautiful narrative centered on the daily problems of poor, southern Americans both educated and ignorant. This reflection of reality shown throughout the book shows the troubles the author believes capitalism brings, and why she believes true socialism could set each person on equal footing in the game of life.
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