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MonkeyNotes-The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
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Chapter 3

Mick wakes up early and wonders what Mr. Singer is doing. She gets her two younger brothers, Ralph and Bubber, and takes them out for a walk. She gets to a house under construction and climbs the ladder to stand on the roof. There she feels good to be alone, to have some privacy for her thoughts about music and life and its people. She hears Ralph crying and calls down instructions for Bubber to help him. Then she gets down and takes care of him herself, but not before she has written on the walls of the house in crayon. She writes, "Edison," "Dick Tracy," "Mussolini," and the word "Pussy" with her own initials "M.K." under it and then she writes "Motsart" above all the names. As she pulls her brothers in the wagon back home, she speaks her thoughts aloud. She feels like her thoughts lately are like she is swimming through great crowds of people.

It is a Sunday and the Kelly house is full of boarders and their visitors. Mick wishes for a piano and knows she would practice every day. She puts Ralph on her parents’ bed and goes to her own room which she shares with her two older sisters, Etta and Hazel. Etta is star-struck and wants nothing more than to be a star like Jeanette MacDonald. She cries over the fact that she has such a poor chin. Hazel is the eldest sister and Mick attributes her softness to this fact since she has never had to grab for anything. The two older sisters complain about Mick’s intrusion and ridicule her for wearing boys’ shorts at her age. She walks around the room to assert her claim to the space and then gets her box from under the bed and leaves.

She goes to her brother Bill’s room which is decorated with magazine pictures of movie stars and with the pictures Mick drew for a free art class. She keeps all her pictures in Bill’s room. One of them depicts a vast fire destroying the town and all its citizens. Then she kneels down and opens her hat box. It contains a broken ukulele which she has been trying to transform into a violin. After working with it for some frustrated minutes, she exclaims over its unfitness. Bill tells her it was clear from the beginning that she couldn’t make a violin out of the ukulele and this makes Mick angry so she leaves his room. As she goes through the kitchen, her mother grabs her arm and questions her about what she has been up to. She tells Mick that she must eat in the kitchen since one of the boarders has guests who will take her place at the family table. Then Mick goes to sit on the stairs hoping that one of the boarders will have her radio on so she can hear the music.


She hears Portia in the kitchen telling Bubber a story about her grandfather’s farm. Mick joins them and asks Portia to elaborate on why she is such a fortunate "colored girl." Portia describes the farm in great detail and with much pride. Then she describes her childhood. Her father is a doctor, but is also close to insane. When Portia was a child, her mother left her father and so Portia was raised on her grandfather’s farm. Next, Portia describes her immediate family, her husband, Highboy, and her brother, Willie. She is proud that they are members of a Presbyterian Church as opposed to belonging to the Sanctified Church which requires high emotion from the members. She feels like her church is more respectable.

She advises Mick to go to church soon since lately she has been acting "biggity." When Mick tells her she doesn’t believe in God anymore than she believes in Santa Claus, Portia tells her she reminds her of her father, the doctor, who has read so much that he also doesn’t believe in God. Portia prophesies that if Mick doesn’t settle down and find something to love, she’ll wander around and her heart will beat so hard it will kill her. Mick laughs and leaves the room. She thinks of all the people she has loved obsessively but secretly. Her latest is Mr. Singer. She goes out to the stairway again and watches his door. She sees him come to of his room. She has heard from her father that Mr. Singer brought a guest home the night before. She wishes she could go inside and visit with Mr. Singer. When he comes out to go to the toilet, he glances at her and smiles and she grins back. She sits on the steps and thinks of "Motsart’s" music.

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