Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West
Throughout the entire novel, the protagonist is known exclusively as Miss Lonelyhearts. We cannot identify his real name in the story. He is only known by the code name of Miss Lonelyhearts. The character is a newspaper columnist who works for an irresistibly drunk obnoxious boss who gives him a hard time continuously by mocking Miss Lonelyhearts’ Christian faith. As the reader of the novel, we understand and recognize his struggle with the letters he receives from people who seek advice from this columnist of Miss Lonelyhearts. A lot of these letters are serious issues, which by reading them, affects Miss Lonelyhearts and quickly puts him into deep depression. Probable readers of this novel would believe that quitting his job would’ve eased his misery, but why did he decide to continue his job? Was he an otaku and believed that the people who were sending him mails were his true “social affecters”? What is the significance of his name? Was he a “lonely” character? Throughout the entire novel, he goes through many unusual events, events that can be symbolized of him being “lonely”. As a reader, we only know a little about the background of Miss Lonelyhearts. We reckon that Miss Lonelyhearts and Betty had some past intimacy. As of my interpretation, Betty is the only person who cares for Miss Lonelyhearts in a sense of affection that can be shown from a compassionate person; “Betty came to see Miss Lonelyhearts the next day and every day thereafter. With her she brought soup and boiled chicken for him to eat” (35). He has other affiliations with other woman in the story, but none of them are considerably close to the compassionate figure of Betty. Miss Lonelyhearts refers to Betty as “Betty the Buddha” because she is the only character who brings peace and order to Miss Lonelyhearts’ chaotic life. There is something inside of Miss Lonelyhearts that we cannot understand as a character. He is a character with very few...
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