A Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

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The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers is a novel set in a small Southern town in the late 1930’s. McCullers writes about characters who are lonely and rejected. their lives intertwine in a search for friendship and understanding. Many of the characters have a need to be understood, however; none of them ever truly are. One of the characters in the novel, Jake Blount, searches for a sympathetic ear. He appears in the New York Cafe drunk and rowdy talking to everyone and no one. He talks so much the “words came out of his throat like a cataract” (13). He constantly talks to everyone hoping someone will take the time to really listen and understand. His words come out “as though a dam inside him has broken” (20). Ironically, the one he thinks understands him is a deaf-mute named John Singer. He tells Singer, “You’re the only one in this town who catches what I mean . . . because I know you understand the things I want to mean” (59). Jake Blount just assumes Singer understands him. Singer never gives him reason to believe otherwise. Nevertheless, Singer writes about Blount in a letter to Antonapoulos, “The one with the mustache I think is crazy” (183). He also writes Antonapoulos that Blount thinks “he and I have a secret together but I do not know what it is” (183). Jake Blount thinks Singer understands him when he actually does not. Another character searching for understanding is Dr. Benedict Mady Copeland. Dr. Copeland is a black doctor with ideas that on one seems to understand regardless of how hard he tries to make them comprehend. His daughter, Portia, says that when she was a girl, he was “all the time studying by hisself” (41). Dr. Copeland is well educated and this separates him from the rest of his family. They do not understand why he has always felt the need to educate them. At a Christmas party, Dr. Copeland talks to the guests about Karl Marx and what he stood for. When he asks if everyone understands, they reply that they do. This makes...
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