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`Read Epub ð The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter Þ Carson McCullers prodigious first novel was published to instant acclaim when she was just twenty three Set in a small town in the middle of the deep South, it is the story of John Singer, a lonely deaf mute, and a disparate group of people who are drawn towards his kind, sympathetic nature The owner of the caf where Singer eats every day, a young girl desperate to grow up, an angry drunkard, a frustrated black doctor each pours their heart out to Singer, their silent confidant, and he in turn changes their disenchanted lives in ways they could never imagine 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 l 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 language.A Classic Best 5 stars 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 betw 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 am.The 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 unrequited 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 all.I 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 quite the book you might expect it to be.And 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 whereis 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 too.And if I said that the book is about selfishness and how a moment s decision or thoughtlessness can have horrible and irrevocable consequences well, you might think you ve read this book many times before but again, I think you would be wrong.Or 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 isor 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 point.What 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 muchterrible 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 muchoptimistic book than I think I would be capable of writing too.McCullers 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 human.The 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 condition.Of 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 whispers.This really is a remarkable book like nothing I imagined it to be and so muchthan I could ever have hoped. She went there, didn t she.As 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 s She went there, didn t she.As 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 feelings.This music was her the real plain her.I 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 Singer.As 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 quickly grew darker, and when African American li 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 quickly 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 over.I 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 hearts.My 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 creed.Trying 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 prison.My 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 Still.My 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 themselves.My 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 Quicksand comes to mind a life spent dreaming, without ever actually having a chance to follow one s heart.My 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 qualities 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 all.My 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 time.My 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 hearts.The 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