The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter[EPUB] ✽ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter ❂ Carson McCullers – 'The way I need you is a loneliness I cannot bear'Making its twenty three year old author an overnight literary sensation this story of isolated lost lives intersecting in a small town in the American 'The way I need you is a Is a PDF ↠ loneliness I cannot bear'Making its twenty three year old author an overnight literary sensation this story of isolated lost lives intersecting in a small town in the American South is a masterpiece of humane sensitivityTen new titles in the colourful small format portable new Pocket Penguins series. I knew nothing about this book at all Well except for the title I’d definitely heard the title before – but I would have bet money the book was written by a man and that it was bad romance novel at least that would have been my best guess Instead this is now perhaps one of my all time favourite American novels It can be compared without the least blush of embarrassment with Steinbeck at his best and Harper Lee out killing mocking birds – and there are many many points of comparison between all three writers This one has completely captivated me – and in ways I had not expected to be captivated My very dear friend Nell and I were chatting one day about Calvino’s idea of the books one might write and how these ought to fit into an imaginary bookcase – the short version of his idea being what books would you like your own book to be beside on an imaginary bookshelf? Anyway in the very next email from Nell there appeared a list of books – one of which was this one I went to the library to see if I could find it and then to some second hand bookshops around and about – but with no luck Well six months or so later and now I’ve read it And god I can’t begin to tell you how glad I amThe title is actually the perfect title for this book but that is only true after you have read it – it is actually a remarkably bad title for the book before you have read it I would not be surprised if 999 readers in a thousand would think that this would be a story about unreuited love That this might just be a melancholy story about a protagonist let’s call him Mr Sadsack who has spent his life looking for the perfect partner but she is terribly allusive and although he sometimes despairs that he will ever find her no one reading this imaginary novel called ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’ doubts that in the end our nice wee man will finally end up with his perfect partner But no Although the title might make you think the book is about this sort of thing it is about nothing like this at allI guess I could say that the book has grand themes about ‘what is wrong with The South’ – and that might make you form images in your mind of the inhuman treatment of black Americans in the southern states of America and the struggle to end segregation and a terrible legal system based on discrimination And although you would be closer to the truth it would still not be uite the book you might expect it to beAnd if I said that it has themes concerning the subjugation of labour and how the economic system is sustained by creating the conditions by which the working classes are convinced of their fundamental inferiority so they do nothing to remove their fetters – and that the heart that seeks freedom is also a lonely hunter – all this would be true too to a point and not true beyond that point There are parts of this book that made me think about Chomsky’s political writings and how dreadfully long the truth has been known about oppression and exploitation and how dreadfully long it has been clear what needs to be done And that this too is the part of the American tradition that is spoken of if at all only in whispers; for don’t you know they’re talking about a revolution in whispers?And if I said this book is about coming of age and the loss of innocence and how becoming an adult is actually a kind of death which we might long for but where is lost than it seems we could possibly dare to lose If I said that the young woman in this who throughout the novel moves from being a child to becoming an adult even without some of the possible horrible things that could have happened to her not actually eventuating and yet she still basically loses everything by growing up – that would be mostly true tooAnd if I said that the book is about selfishness and how a moment’s decision or thoughtlessness can have horrible and irrevocable conseuences – well you might think you’ve read this book many times before – but again I think you would be wrongOr I could say that this is a book about how we fundamentally misunderstand others – for doesn’t everyone misunderstand project onto John Singer the deaf mute who is or less central to the story whatever it is they need him to be? And isn’t Singer guilty of exactly the same human frailty with his own friend Antonapoulos? I thought it was terribly clever of her to have Singer bring Antonapoulos a projector – I thought she was nearly god like as a writer at that pointWhat this book is really is a warning – not a warning that I might have written if I was to write a book like this – but a dark and terrible warning all the same Much darker and much terrible than I think I would be capable of writing No I couldn’t write a book like this and knowing that fills me with the deepest of regrets Because this is also a much optimistic book than I think I would be capable of writing tooMcCullers was 23 when she wrote this book – god the thought of it fills me with awe There are times when I would almost be prepared to believe that some people really do have older souls than the rest of us It is as incomprehensible that a 23 year old could write this book as it is to believe that a woman of only 22 years could have written Pride and Prejudice And the warning? Well that you can be absolutely right in what you believe you can be standing on the side of righteousness and hold the truth shining in the palm of your hand and be doing everything in your power to improve the lot of your people – and you can still be only half human You can walk in the ways of the great project of your time you can know and you can spend your life seeking to show the ‘don’t knows’ so they too become part of the enlightened – and still you can be a damaged half a man We are barely human without our dreams but even when our dreams are not selfish and are directed at the greatest the most noble of aspirations we are still human all too humanThe scene with the two old men the one black and the other white arguing through the night until dawn about the best way to liberate those who are oppressed and unaware is achingly sad And why? Because it is blindingly obvious to anyone with eyes that neither of these men could ever ‘mobilise the masses’ Their dreams are as just and pure and true as they are barren and impotent and without substance They shimmer and flap and torment them both – and thus is the human conditionOf all the characters I think perhaps Doctor Copeland is the most poignant He effectively loses his own children because they do not live up to his dreams for them his need for them to fight for his ideals This really is a key theme of the book that dreams not only have the power to make us human but can then over power us and make us something other than human too With the book being written at a time when Hitler was screaming at crowds of men standing with arms raised in salute this 23 year old woman had a much clearer vision of what was wrong with the world than I have ever been able to achieve And she tells of this vision in the only way it can be told in whispersThis really is a remarkable book – like nothing I imagined it to be and so much than I could ever have hoped She went there didn't sheAs I read this novel I could tell McCullers was setting the stage for something truly horrible to happen And horrible things did happen But they were never as bad as I thought they would be UntilOh yes she waited until the very end to rip my heart from my chest throw it on the floor stomp on it with her pumps and then throw it into the ocean to be eaten by sharks How does someone write a book this rich and wise and honest at 23? How does a young girl write such darkness such tragedy? Like Flannery O'Connor she suffered from illness from a young age Maybe that is where her darkness came from?As you can probably glean from the title all of the characters in this novel are haunted by the ghost of loneliness Mick is a young girl on the brink of womanhood Like many teenage girls she feels isolated and misunderstood but finds solace in two things the company of a deaf mute boarder in her family home and her true passion music Let me share a passage with you describing Mick's experience of hearing Beethoven's 3rd symphony for the first time How did it come? For a minute the opening balanced from one side to the other Like a walk or a march Like God strutting in the night The outside of her was suddenly froze and only that first part of the music was hot inside her heart She could not even hear what sounded after but she sat there waiting and froze with her fists tight After awhile the music came again harder and loud It didn't have anything to do with God This was her Mick Kelly walking in the daytime and by herself at night In the hot sun and in the dark with all her plans and feelingsThis music was her the real plain herI can't emphasize enough how much that passage resonated with me The theme of loneliness of isolation carries through each of the characters we meet as McCullers weaves her magical tale John Singer is a deaf mute who has only one person in the world he calls a friend; a fellow deaf mute When his friend goes mad and is institutionalized Singer no longer has his best friend by his side he feels lost Yet all of the folks in this small town are drawn to him It's as if his deafness gives him a wisdom and understanding that others are sorely missing Ironically it's as if for the first time in their lives they feel the are being truly heard Dr Copeland is a black physician in the south He feels isolated from his family because they don't want to follow in his footsteps; his ambition has driven away his wife and children He feels isolated because he's a black man in a predominately white town The only white person he feels he can trust is Mr Singer Jake Blount is a drunk and a drifter His rage and inability to relate to others exacerbates his feelings of loneliness Yet the presence of Mr Singer soothes him Biff Brannon is a cafe owner; people come in and out of his restaurant all day yet he is alone He and his wife have drifted apart even though they live in the same home; he has no children and no real friends except for Mr SingerAs I made my way through this journey I hoped and hoped that things would turn out alright for these broken individuals But things don't always turn out okay and what you're left with is the harsh reality of life We all experience tragedy We are all of us lonely hunters The heart is a lonely hunter and it can break in many different ways Mine broke several times while reading this stunning document of American life What a rich and multifaceted story and what a perfect complement to other giants of American storytelling of that era Just in the beginning I saw traces of Steinbeck most notably of his Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday in the small town talk and the slightly comical marital scenes But the tone uickly grew darker and when African American life was introduced and put into contrast with the poor white characters deeply rooted issues of racism prejudice exploitation and segregation took overI thought I would claim one of the most heartbreaking scenes to be the naive prayer of an old coloured person whose hope in Jesus reflects the evil of racist society and its dominating gods perfectly“I say to Him “Jesus Christ us is all sad coloured peoples” And then he will place His holy hand upon our heads and straightway us will be white as cotton”My heart broke for that desperate old person whose religion is tainted by the hopeless situation of white supremacy both in the spiritual and physical world But it turned out to be a minor issue in the complex community of lonely heartsMy heart broke for the man who tries to change the lives of coloured people in his neighbourhood exchanging belief in Jesus for belief in Marxism and seeing the dogma of socialism as the natural conclusion of the teachings of Jesus He reminded me of the confused characters in Wise Blood who get rid of their aggressive religion only to create another anti creed while mirroring their previous behaviour exactly They have been trained to accept an authoritarian dogma even if they drop their supernatural faith in gods Religious at heart they have to follow a strong leader There is no freedom of thought But even though the socialist idea contains respect and hope for a better future for African Americans as well as for the poor masses of workers in general that concept of life is bound to fail as well in a world that worships and perpetuates white power and corporate domination of capital My heart broke when a disillusioned socialist explains the brainwashing that takes place within society to make exploited victims of corporate thinking believe in “American freedom” while rattling their chains “But it has taken a hell of a lot of lies to keep them from knowing” he summarises But still he chooses to fight his African American counterpart instead of joining forces for real change Each one according to his own lonely heart and creedTrying to obtain justice in such a society can only lead to violence and continued abuse as a heartbroken father experiences first hand when he tries to enter a white court to demand justice for his son crippled for life in a prisonMy heart broke when I read about the gratuitous violence against the young coloured men and their lifelong suffering as a result They have no voice to cry out for justice and their fate is that of an Invisible Man in Ellison’s definition they can’t be seen because nobody wants to see them BLACK LIVES MATTER one feels like yelling taking a knee for change after a long history of abuse But we all know what power answers when one tries to make one’s voice heard Money and exclusive club behaviour speak louder than justice StillMy heart broke because of the inhumane suffering of poor children in a society that doesn’t care about healthcare education and safety Where children are allowed to recklessly carry weapons at the age of 7 there will be accidents that destroy several families There is no statistical research needed to prove that general availability of guns has a negative effect on innocent people When a child hurts another child with a firearm both end up victims of an absurd interpretation of the “rights of man” to protect themselvesMy heart broke for the young girl who dreams of becoming a pianist but whose fate it is to live and suffer a poor girl’s life Nella Larsen’s uicksand comes to mind a life spent dreaming without ever actually having a chance to follow one’s heartMy heart broke for the deaf mute man around whom the other characters circle like the spokes in a wheel People in his surroundings treat him like a god because his muteness allows them to give him the ualities they wish him to have I bow to Carson McCullers for that perfect definition of a god mute and therefore adaptable to our personal private imagination Only the mute’s obese and egocentric fellow mute friend can’t find anything godlike in him of course and he suffers as a result The heart is a strange hunter as well Some hearts are too broken to be mended after allMy heart broke because the contrast between fascism and democracy is as vividly tangible to me in our present times as it was to the characters in 1940 witnessing the rise of Hitler in Europe When a young Jewish boy explains to his own horror that he was a fascist before he knew what Hitler did to Jews it echoes what lures young impressionable people to accept and worship the power of a populist narcissist“You know all the pictures of the people our age in Europe marching and singing songs and keeping step together I used to think that was wonderful All of them pledged to each other and with one leader All of them with the same ideals and marching in step together”The wish for unity in sameness is strong in religious and ideological communities around the world at all times but occasionally it takes control of a whole generation as in the 1930s The scary revelation to the boy himself is the fact that it works so well He concludes that there is no time for personal ambition as long as fascism reigns in Germany It is democracy against dictatorship and all other issues are paling beside the great struggle of the timeMy heart broke because it is true but at the same time it is not All the other characters still fight their own fights against racism sexism poverty and prejudice Life is too complicated for us to grasp even when we are living it in a small town in America powerless and helplessly alone with our pounding heartsThe heart is a lonely hunter but we can share our heartfelt stories and hopefully develop some compassion for the hearts of others learning to treat them with care and respect For they keep pounding even when they are broken It just hurts as hell“Tread softly because you tread on my dreams” ROCK AND ROLLIt turns out that Miss McCullers did most of her great writing most of her entire writing before she was 30 Rock and roll After 30 she was too busy having ghastly illnesses and marrying the same guy three or four times and dodging invitations to a suicide pact from the guy she married all those times So when she was 22 I ask you she wrote this first novel which is a stone American classic I had heretofore thought that absorbing a ton of influences and developing a uniue voice all by the age of 22 had only been done by LennonMcCartney Bob Dylan and Aubrey Beardsley but Miss McCullers performs this remarkable feat too Her surefootedness and precision are fantastic I'm so much in awe that I feel sick to my stomachMETAPHORS FOR GOD WHICH IS A METAPHOR ALREADY Onto the book itself The inexorable gravitational pull of the metaphor in all our verbal dealings is something I have mentioned before so that even someone like Raymond Carver's ironed flat tell it like it is bargain basement prose still spins in stories like So Much Water So Close to Home or A Small Good Thing brilliant metaphorical explorations of the various uncomfortable truths he shoves our way the ignored corpse the tasteless birthday cake Perhaps we no longer love overly obvious metaphors Little Red Riding Hood then again perhaps we do The Titanic But they're very useful when you try to talk about God in fact it's impossible to talk about God non metaphorically insofar as God is Himself a metaphor Fictionmakers love God metaphors last year we had Ron Currie's disappointing God is Dead a few years back we had the smart Jim Carey movie The Truman Show further back we have other movies like Whistle Down the Wind and Theorem In The Heart is a Lonely Hunter John Singer the deaf mute the blank slate the man who everyone talks to but who talks to nobody stands for God People pour out their dreams fears hopes onto him and he scribbles the odd bland sentence in reply and they think he understands all and knows all In fact and here's Miss McCullers' audacious vicious twist John Singer is himself completely obsessed with another deaf mute who he thinks of as almost Godlike but who in fact is a fat greedy imbecile confined to a mental asylum If we follow the metaphor along not too fancifully I think we find that Antonapoulos the idiot therefore represents the human race with which GodSinger is fatally poignantly uselessly obsessed Antonapoulos will never get well and was a sad mistake to begin with so what does that say about the rest of us chickens? Not muchBRIEF ACTS OF APPALLING VIOLENCE Miss McCullers doesn't belabour this central conceit too much and she also throws in a ton of local knowledge but without smacking you upside the head every time like Annie Proulx does And although this is a slow old read at times a lot of doing nothing punctuated by brief acts of appalling violence is this what the American South is like? her sad sweet song of humanity is as beautiful a tune as I've heard all year I simply cannot get this book out of my head    Like most everyone else I am astounded that Carson McCullers was only 23 years old when she wrote this  Such wisdom and insight from someone so young is truly remarkable  And there are so many great reviews out there I just could not stop reading them  A great many of them as one might expect discuss the greater themes of this book and there can be no doubt that I too fell to pondering these many  things as I thought about the world todayI mean just think about itRacial ineuality and discriminationEconomic division of the classesSubjugation and objectification of women and minoritiesSocial InjusticeWarStill I would like to talk for just a minute or two about another constant thread within this story and perhaps the best way to begin is to tell you about something that happened to me  Way too many years ago when I was still  in the early stages of my career I got a promotion one that I had worked hard to be considered for  It was an important advancement for me  No longer was I only responsible for my own contribution but also for the output of others  As much as I wanted the opportunity to lead once I actually got it I was a nervous wreck  I’m sure my new boss sensed just how jangled I was and called me aside to have a little pow wow in his office  It was a good meeting and he uickly reviewed some of the tools that he believed would help me achieve my objectives but mostly he stressed that he wanted me to focus on one skill that his observations told him I already possessed  The skill of which he spoke was listening  He went on to add that far too many people forgot how to do it  That people got so wrapped up in determining just how they were going to respond to someone or a given situation that they actually stopped hearing what was being said to them   If you want to succeed he said do not fall into this trap  Listen carefully and not just with your ears he said but employ all of your faculties  If you can do this he assured me everything else would fall into place  Well that particular job really did not work out so well for me and I soon moved on to a new opportunity with a different firm but I never forgot that first pep talk  Over the years that came and went I thought about it freuently and reminded myself often to focus on what others had to say than on my own words  And not just professionally either but at home and in other social situations  Wise words  that despite floundering on than one occasion have served me well these many years It is also what our five main characters in this novel yearn for  Someone to listen to them  For Mick Jake Biff and Dr Copeland that person was John Singer  Despite the fact that he was deaf and mute they all believed that he understood them and for Mick he even provided a way for her to listen to her beloved music  John Singer however had lost his only audience when they took Antonapoulos away and even though he was never really sure how much of what he signed Antonapoulos actually understood it did not matter  He too needed to be heard  There are so many layers to this story but through them all lay this need to be heard and to be understoodHow ominous is it that I find myself reflecting on the art of listening  just one week before Donald Trump becomes the President of the most powerful democratic nation in the worldThe Heart is a Lonely Hunter is timeless profound and a thing of rare beauty The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter Carson McCuller's Portrait of the Faces Behind the Masks The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter was chosen as a group read by On The Southern Literary Trail for January 2017 This is the third time McCuller's novel has been selected as a group read by The Trail making it the most read novel by members of the group which was founded in February 2012Thanks to a former goodreads friend I've learned I am only gently mad It was a relief to discover that Because my self analysis has been that I'm excessively obsessive when it comes to the love of books After having taken his recommendation to read A Gentle Madness Bibliophiles Bibliomanes and the Eternal Passion for Books by Nicholas A Basbanes my soul is somewhat restedHowever there remains the fact I have excuse me had four copies of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter I absolve myself for the first it was a Bantam paperback picked up at the now defunct college bookstore Malones That paperback cost me lunch that day even though at the time Krystal Hamburgers were only 25 cents apiece For those not familiar with Krystals they are much akin to White Castle They are little suare and served on a steamed bun grilled onionssmashed down onto the little thin patty and given a suirt of cheap yellow mustard There are still days when I've got to have a Krystal But they're not a uarter any My First Copy The paperback was read and re read Somewhere through the years it vanished perhaps the victim of a garage sale during a period I call my former life BD ie before divorce I hope it least went for the cost of a Krystal but I doubt itLonely Hunter was not the first McCullers I read Professor OB Emerson Professor Emeritus Department of English The University of Alabama introduced me to Ms McCullers through The Ballad of the Sad Café and Other Stories That one cost me a sack of Krystals too That's all right From my current waist line it doesn't appear I missed too many mealsDr Emerson was a little banty rooster of a man coal black hair brilliantined to a shine that reflected the fluorescent lights of the class room He considered McCullers essential to his curriculum in his Southern Literature course From my first exposure to McCullers I was hooked The little man with the loud colored bow ties outfitted in seersucker suits and a sporty straw hat made me a convert for lifeAfter graduation Professor Emerson and I would converse via telephone from time to time He was gleeful to learn that The Execution of Private Slovikhad been made into a movie for television in 1974 I heard him click on his set and the ice cubes rattle in his Wild Turkey his bourbon of choice In my mind I could see him with his books shelved floor to ceiling all arranged not alphabetically but by coordinating colors of dust jackets It was an aesthetic matter I didn't understand it and I took art He was less impressed with the big screen adaptation of The Klansmanin 1974 Both were novels by Hartselle Alabama author William Bradford Huie Professor Emerson was a big Huie fan He shared one thing in common with Huie Both had received death threats from the Klan and had crosses burned in their yards Huie because of his novel Emerson because he had Justice Thurgood Marshall over for dinner one night It was Professor Emerson's proudest moment in life He gloried in telling the taleSince Professor Emerson introduced me to Carson McCullers this review is for him He died while I was out of town some years ago I missed his memorial service I don't even know where he is buried But I owe him much because he imprinted me with a love of Southern literature In some ways I picture his life as one of loneliness not unlike the characters you freuently encounter in the works of McCullersBut I digress I was supposed to be telling you about The Heart is a Lonely Hunter I'm getting there We Southerners are prone to digression It's a manner of story telling in these partsMy next copy of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is the edition pictured The jacket features one of my favorite photographs of McCullers My Second Copy The second copy was justified by love Love justifies a lot I just gave that edition away out of love for two of whom I call my honorary children William and Nancy Roane William is the director of a short film called Old Photograph It should premiere this spring I play a hard shell Baptist type preacher in charge of a home for wayward girls The screenplay was a collaboration between William and his younger sister Nancy I think they are two of the most brilliant and engaging kids I've met He's going through the Fulbright rounds a senior at Oberlin and she's in her first year at OberlinNancy is a natural writer Her story Everyone knew Ruby has been published I've read it It's good Everyone only thought they knew Ruby They found out they didn't when she committed suicide It is William's next film projectI asked if either of them had read McCullers Neither had The central theme in Nancy's story echoes that in McCuller's The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter While celebrating Christmas and New Year's with them at a lunch a few days ago I presented them with my copy inscribed with two uotes from the novel “The most fatal thing a man can do is try to stand alone” The other was “All we can do is go around telling the truth” Then I encouraged the Roane siblings to give the Coen Brothers a run for their money I think they canMy third copy of Hunter is a beautiful slip cased reproduction of the first edition from the former First Editions Library I understand that Easton bought the company and that as copies in the series are sold they will not be reprinted Find this one if you can It's just a beautiful book to hold in your hands The Third Copy Finally I had to have the complete McCullers I highly recommend Carson McCullers Complete Novels The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter Reflections in a Golden Eye The Ballad of the Sad Cafe The Member of the Wedding Clock Without Hands The Fourth Volume of McCullers on my Library Shelf Although biographical influence is often scorned as a means to literary criticism I don't think it is possible to fully explore some works without some knowledge of the life of the author That's definitely true of Hunter Carson McCullerswas born February 19 1917 in Columbus Georgia the daughter of Lamar and Marguerite Waters Smith Her birth name was Lula Carson Smith She dropped the Lula around 1930 Her life was relatively short Having a bout of rheumatic fever during her high school years affected her health until her death caused by a cerebral hemorrhage on September 29 1967 Her life was spent in fits of creativity marred by acute episodes of depression A good portion of her life was spent in a wheel chairIt does not come as a surprise when you become familiar with McCuller's life that her literary works were filled with the unloved the outcasts and misfits Nor is it any surprise that her works revolve around desperate attempts to form loving relationships and those relationships in which the lover's pursuit is one that remains unreuitedCarson began taking piano lessons at an early age Her original plan was to become a concert pianist You can find this experience as the basis for her story WunderkindMcCullers was a wunderkind until struck with rheumatic fever at the age of fifteen She gamely continued through school to graduate at age seventeen She intended to go to Juliard She never made it there She began taking creative writing classes at Columbia while working menial jobsWhile in New York she met Reese McCullers whom she fell in love with too uickly and they married Divorced once Married twice He was an alcoholic prone to depression and ultimately committed suicide wanting Carson to die with him She refused although she had attempted to commit suicide on an earlier occasion aloneShortly after their first marriage the McCullers traveled to Charlotte North Carolina where Reese found work There McCullers wrote Hunter It was published in 1940 McCullers was twenty three She was a literary wunderkind The book was an instant best seller hitting the top of the market in sales Critical reception was mixedMcCuller's title comes from Fiona MacLeodin her poem The Lonely Hunter found in From The Hills of Dream Threnodies Songs and Later Poems MacLeod wroteO never a green leaf whispers where the green gold branches swingO never a song I hear now where one was wont to singHere in the heart of Summer sweet is life to me stillBut my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill It is 1931 The setting is a small mill town in GeorgiaMcCuller's initially entitled the novel The Mute as the central character is John Singer a deaf mute who can truly only communicate with his room mate a Greek named Spiros Anastopolous They have been companions for ten years Singer working as a silver engraver in a jewelry store and Anastopolous working in his cousin's fruit stand John and Spiros can communicate through signing However Spiros becomes sick a changed man engaging in irrational behavior His cousin commits him to an insane asylum Singer is left alone unable to communicate with anyoneWith his companion gone Singer moves into the Kelly family's boarding house Mick is a gawky adolescent unable to recognize the changes occurring in her body unable to recognize what adolescents haven't yet done the initiation into sex She wants to be a musician she wants to play the piano Essentially she wants anything that she doesn't believe she can achieve until she begins to compose her own songs It is with Mick that McCullers addresses the universal awkwardness of the coming of ageSinger no longer makes his meals in his apartment Now he takes his meals at Biff's New York Cafe Biff's wife Alice dies and he is now aloneJake Blount is a customer at Biff's He is a labor organizer an agitator He is a Marxist Blount drinks to excess After meeting Singer he speaks to him at length incapable of understanding that Singer can't talk back After becoming too drunk to navigate his way home Singer walks him back to his room for company and to give Blount a place to stay for the nightDr Copeland is a black physician disappointed that his children have not become educated but have been satisfied to take the menial jobs available to blacks in the South at that time He is angry at whites with the exception of John Singer who had once offered him the kindness of lighting his cigarette Singer is the only white man who has ever shown him courtesy of any kindThe novel shifts from point of view character by character But Singer is always the central figure in McCuller's novel Biff Jake Copeland and Mick all begin to regularly come to Singer's room where they confide their deepest feelings to him Each feels that he understands what they say and feel But he does not nor is he able to communicate his longing for his former companionEach of the characters who rotate through Singer's room wear a mask rarely disclosing what they feel to anyone It is only to Singer that they reveal their true feelings It is safe Who can Singer tell? Singer is almost the priest in the confessionalWhile each of the four have found their confidant Singer grows alone as he visits Spiros in the asylum only to find that his friend has become seriously ill with each visit Spiros' death will be Singer's unravelingOddly as Singer unravels the confessing uartet begin to turn to others and bring them into their lives Biff turns to his wife's sister Lucille Blount and Copeland find a common cause in discussing issues of race politics and class struggle Mick and a young Jewish boy Harry Minowitz find first love after a swim in a nearby pondview spoilerNone understand that after Singer learns his friend Spiros has died in the asylum why Singer would ever commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest Each thought they knew him so well and that he knew each of them hide spoiler Each year I attempt to participate in classics bingo in the group catching up on classics This year so far so good I gave a lot of thought as to which classic book I wanted to use for my classic of North America suare There are a few authors that come to mind as classic American authors where each piece of literature written by them reads like a story being told on one's front porch The names Hemingway and Steinbeck first come to my mind along with that of Carson McCullers Distinctly southern and writing about the human condition during the era in which she lived Carson McCullers is a literary treasure My mother owns the complete set of her writing in one volume and I have previously read Member of a Wedding which was a gem It comes as little surprise then that I selected McCullers' definitive work The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter for my classic of North America suare this year as her work comes straight from the heart and is a joy to readI can not say much about The Heart is a Lonely Hunter that has not been written before Taking place in a Georgia mill town during the Great Depression McCullers writes of the trials and travails that occurred during that time The town could have been her own and the female protagonist Mick Kelly could been McCullers when she was younger She speaks out about racism fascism the rights of the disabled as well as the depression through the alternating chapters told through the eyes of her archetypal protagonists Singer Biff Brannon Jake Blount Doctor Benedict Copeland and Mick Kelly Readers find a woman ahead of her time in that she views blacks Jews whites men and women as euals and this was during the 1930s Perhaps the fact that McCullers was all of twenty three years of age when she wrote this timeless novel speaks to her views of society in that her generation did not emerge as leaders until the later 1940s when people did start to speak out against racism and lack of rights for women Published in 1940 McCullers work was slightly ahead of its time and most likely eye opening for manyWith blacks and whites Jews and gentiles unmarried men and women sharing dialogue in the south McCullers work is refreshing for this era as well as the country has become as polarized as it was during the times of separate but eual Each of her protagonists had much to say about society and each had a plan as to how to better themselves and the world that they lived in The world needs people like Doctor Copeland Biff Brannon Jake Blount Singer and Mick Kelly Yet they are a thing of the past and many of their inclusive views with them The literary world also needs writers like Carson McCullers who spoke her mind from a young age Her work remains as timeless as ever and her Georgia mill town an archetype for forward thinking people Carson McCullers work should be viewed as North American classic writing and I look forward to reading of it in the coming year5 timeless stars And here we are in the world full of probabilities reasoning with the unreasoned existence awestruck at the purposelessness of life at actions with no conseuences at endings with no re beginnings once we die we die Alone is our planet and so are we some of us are alone than the rest though some of us choose to be so for some it’s the only option And it is the tale of chosen and of those who choseA tale of love and of whom who seek love of abandoned and espoused of isolated and integrated of alienated and assimilated and of whom who were left alone Every soul who breaths life seeks love to love and be loved the vain and only desire of humans we can’t help desiring so we can’t help loving those who gave up on us we can’t help hoping against hope and the torment one endures is never justified with any word of any language but that forsaken love never perishesThe very essence of platonic love is seen in the figure of Singer our main character It is one of the characteristics of ideal romantic love derived from Platonism that it need not be reciprocal; the beloved indeed may even be unaware of the lover's existence or the existence of love love never dies of indifference never diminishes by ignorance but the relation of singer with Antonapoulos is not entirely of this sort it is in view of the latter's limitations an approximation of it Singer's love does not reuire reciprocation but it does reuire an object we may never be in our lives come to see our beloved but we want him around us the surety of sharing the same sky can appease much the certainty of breathing in same air is of comfort immensely because love needs not reward or love in return it’s not an act that expects to be re acted it’s the whole life as we keep living we keep loving and when Antonopoulos dies his own reason for living dies tooAs for other characters each of the five main characters strives to break out of his or her isolated existence The reasons each character is isolated are very different the deaf mute John Singer cannot communicate with most of the world because he cannot speak; Mick Kelly cannot communicate with anyone in her family because they do not share her intelligence and ambition; Biff Brannon is left alone when his wife dies; Dr Copeland is alienated from his family and from other black people because of his education and viewpoints; Jake Blount is alone is his radical social viewpoints and in the fact that he is a newcomer in townThe fact that Carson was only twenty three when she completed this heartbreaking tale makes it sadder than before and I can’t help thinking was Carson in truth trying to carve a home god of her own who would play silent and listen to her bruised heart? and history says she didn’t find any instead died at fifty with a weighty heart who had so much to say but heartremained a lonely hunter Rating 499 of fiveA near perfect book a joy of a read and a heartfelt thank you to the goddesses of literature for it My review has moved out of the purview of censors and moneygrubbers to my blog I read this years ago before being a member on Goodreads Just forgot to post any comments Thanks to 'Steve' for the inspiration of memory The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter one of those books that leaves a lasting tattoo on your heart forever Not only does it take place during the Great Depression during times of racial injustice not only do we 'see feel touch experience' loneliness through a character so profound deeper than most have ever been written but it was 'THIS' novel where I learned the full beauty of 'feeling' music through sign languageA Classic Best 5 stars

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter MOBI ↠ The Heart  ePUB
  • Paperback
  • 363 pages
  • The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
  • Carson McCullers
  • 14 July 2016
  • 9780241259740