January 4, 2013
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes, “It is not desert island nor the stony wilderness that cuts you from the people you love” (Lindbergh 38). She points out that what makes people lonely is not physical separation. If people are always spiritually connecting within a reciprocal relationship, they will not feel lonely even though they are far from each other. It is a tragedy that people have barriers in spiritual communication, even though they physically live together. Carson McCullers successfully describes the tragedies about spiritual isolation in her several novels, such as Reflection in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (Greeley). She comments, “Love and especially love of a person who is incapable of returning or receiving it is at the heart of my selection of grotesque figures to write about- people whose incapacity is a symbol of their spiritual incapacity to love or receive love – their spiritual isolation” (Cook). In Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, the main characters are spiritually isolated from friends, lovers and families. They are incapable of being understood by others because the depths of thinking in their mind exceed those of people living with them. By writing the novel, Carson McCullers wants to reveal that people with a sense of self-illusion, a dream, and an extraordinary aspiration are incapable of being understood; therefore, most of them are spiritually isolated. In a relationship, one cannot understand the other with a sense of self-illusion; eventually, both of them are spiritually isolated from each other. The non-reciprocal relationship between Singer and Antonapoulos demonstrates that their love is merely Singer’s illusion that Antonapoulos do not understand. When Singer goes to the asylum for the visit, “his green eyes burned and seat glittered on his forehead” (McCullers 93). The color green is normally associated with the spring in which many plants renew and rebirth. The color green is a symbol of the renewal of life and of hope (Fitzgerald). The color green here symbolizes Singer’s hope to get the emotional support from Antonapoulos to fulfill his emotional vacancy so that his life can be renewed and motivated. The two words “ burned” and “glittered”, indicate Singer believes that their love relationship is strong and passionate and both of them can give each other the power of love. On the contrast, “Antonapoulos kept his dark, oily eyes on his friend and did not move” (McCullers 93). The words “dark” and “oily” are normally used to describe something without hope and motivation, as if it is dead. Here, these two words reveal that Antonapoulos is not excited by Singer’s visit and show inhospitality to Singer. The contrast between the facial expression between Singer and Antonapoulos indicates that Singer’s belief that they both love each other is just Singer’s self-illusory image that Antonapoulos is incapable of understanding. In their relationship, incapacity to understand should have separated them, but Singer’s self-illusory image is so strong enough to physically maintain their relationship. Even though the sense of self-illusion can physically maintain a relationship, incapacity to understand each other determines that they are spiritually isolated. When “Singer left the room with his hands stuffed hard into his pockets,” “Antonapoulos started at him drowsily and did not move” (McCullers 94). Singer does not show the passion when he leaves, not as if he comes on the first day of visiting; however, he leaves desperately with only “his hands stuffed hard into his pockets.” His change in behaviors demonstrates that he does not meet his expectation because Antonapoulos does not understand what Singer wants and has no ability to return the love of Singer. “Singer does love selflessly the retarted deaf-mute who can only respond to affection instinctively, as a...