Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Playwright and author, Tennessee Williams called her “the greatest prose writer that the South produced.” I fell in love with Carson McCullers’ writing when I read The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. In her debut novel which she wrote at the young age of 22, McCullers interweaves the racial tensions in the South with the internal human struggles of her characters. McCullers touches on several themes including unrequited love, racism, poverty, cruelty, forgiveness and loneliness.

Set in a small Southern mill town in the 1930s, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is a richly told, unforgettable story about a deaf-mute John Singer and a spirited young teenager girl, Mick Kelly. Mick is an idealist beyond her financial means who struggles for happiness. She becomes infatuated with Singer. In the end, Singer is a “Christ-like” figure where those broken, misunderstood, put-upon characters rely on to help them in their search for meaning in their lives.

One of my favorite literary reviews reads of this novel reads as follows:

"This book is literature. Because it is literature, when one puts it down it is not with a feeling of emptiness and despair, but with a feeling of having been nourished by the truth. For one knows at the end, that it is these cheated people, these with burning intense needs and purposes, who must inherit the earth. They are the reason for the existence of a democracy which is still to be created. This is the way it is, one says to oneself - but not forever." - May Sarton.

1 comment:

  1. Good review, Pat! The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is one of my favorite books, and I love the movie too. Carson McCullers should be required reading for high school students, particularly this book and Member of the Wedding. That was also made into a really fantastic movie. I enjoyed your post!