So much happens in this book to each of its interesting characters, yet it seems as though nothing truly happens. There are deaths that are quickly moved past, horrors committed by many. Each of the characters is depressed in their own way, and though they have many opportunities to learn from each other, each fails to do so in a meaningful way.
It started out as a short story in a creative writing class, and an early, working draft of the novel, then called The Mute, was submitted for a Houghton Mifflin Fiction Fellowship, for which McCullers won a cash prize and a publishing contract. Her editors at Houghton Mifflin convinced her to change the title.
The book introduced themes that stayed with McCullers throughout her lifetime and appeared in all of her works, such as "spiritual isolation" and her notion of "the grotesque," which she used to define characters who found themselves excluded from society because of one outstanding feature, physical or mental.
The story takes place in a small town in the South in the late s. The five central characters cross paths continually throughout the course of about a year, but due to the imbalances in their personalities they are not able to connect with one another, and are doomed to carry on the loneliness indicated in the title.
An indication of their lack of coping mechanisms is that the one character that the other four confide their hopes and aspirations and theories to is a deaf mute, who cannot fully understand them nor communicate back to them anything more than his nodding acceptance of what they tell him.
Her family had deep roots in the South: From early childhood, Lulu Carson was expected to achieve great fame, and while she was growing up her parents did what they could to encourage her interest in music. She started formal piano lessons at age ten, and progressed swiftly through her studies in music, which were intense and consuming.
After a bout with pneumonia at age fifteen, she started to question whether she had the stamina to be a concert pianist, and turned her attention to writing. She kept her parents believing that she was interested in music, and so when she was seventeen she was sent to New York to study at the Juilliard School, but when she arrived, she enrolled at Columbia Universitywhich had better creative writing teachers, including Sylvia Chat-field Bates, who was a major influence.
While home for the summer in she met Jim McCullers, an army corporal who was also interested in writing, and the following summer they were married. Living in North Carolina with him, McCullers was able to devote all of her time to writing: Auden, who oversaw the housekeeping.
The couple divorced inbut they stayed in contact, remarrying in When they were considering divorcing again inhe committed suicide in Paris. During the early s McCullers published a succession of books that made their mark on American literature: Tennessee Williams liked The Member of the Wedding so much that he helped McCullers develop a script for it, and it opened with great success on Broadway in As her career accelerated, though, her health deteriorated rapidly.
In she suffered a minor stroke that left her vision temporarily impaired, and strokes in August and November of left her blind, unable to speak, and permanently paralyzed on her left side at the age of thirty. McCullers had operations for numerous problems: For the rest of her life she continued writing; creating stage and film adap-tations of works already done and producing just one major new work, a play, Clock without Hands, in McCullers died in Plot Summary Part One The first section of this novel has six chapters—one chapter focused on each of the five main characters, and then the sixth concerning their continuing relationship to one another.
The first two chapters take place much earlier than the continuing action of the rest of the novel. The first chapter introduces John Singer, the deaf mute, and it is written in the vague, fable-like tone that all of the parts concerning Singer are told in. His relationship with another mute, Antonapoulos, is explained:The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is a poignant portrait of what it’s like to feel lonely.
It’s completely forgotten, but I don’t find its themes any less relevant than those expressed in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. Cerith Mathias offers her thoughts for discussion on part two of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.. For more details on our readalong in June, click here, and get the notes for part one here..
Comment on this post to join in the discussion or tweet using the hashtag #LonelyHunterDSM. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter (Book): McCullers, Carson: Selected by the Modern Library as one of the best novels of all time When she was only twenty-three, Carson McCullers's first novel created a literary sensation.
She was very special, one of America's superlative writers who conjures up a vision of existence as terrible as it is real, who takes us on shattering voyages into the. An adaptation of the Carson McCullers novel of the same name, "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" explores the themes of loneliness and alienation as the central character John Singer (a deaf mute played by Alan Arkin) interacts with a young girl (Sondra Locke), an alcoholic (Stacey Keach), and a black physician (Percy Rodrigues).
Carson McCullers’ Southern Gothic novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter () depicts the cultural nuances of the American South of the s and 40s and identifies the social struggles of racism, corrupt capitalism, and prejudice by refining the element of the grotesque in.
In The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, the unnamed town is the entire world. Everyone's trying to escape – from economic, physical, mental, and spiritual hard times – but no one can get the job done.
Basically, the town is a snapshot of a troubled region and country. And while we never see the outside.