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MonkeyNotes-The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
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Chapter 6

By midsummer, Singer has four regular guests to his room, Mick, Biff, Jake, and Doctor Copeland. He doesnít understand much of what they say, but likes the company. When they donít come, Singer goes to see a movie. He never looks at the title of the movie before going into the theater and he sits in the theater watching each scene "with equal interest." One day in July, Singer disappears, leaving only a note for Mrs. Kelly and his rent payment. He goes to spend his summer holiday in the town where Spirosís asylum is. He can only see his friend on Thursdays and Saturdays. He talks to him animatedly with his hands and feels desperate to get everything said. Spiros watches him as he talks and never responds. When he leaves his friend, Singer feels tired and satisfied. Near the end of his stay, he arranges to take Spiros to town for a dinner. Spiros eats a great deal at the hotel restaurant and refuses to leave when it is time to go. Singer lures him to the car with a bottle of whiskey and then throws it out the window. Spiros weeps at the loss. On his last day of vacation, he talks to Spiros desperately and then has to leave with his hands stuffed far into his pockets. When he returns, he moves back into the boarding house and his friends return to him. He pretends not to understand them when they ask where he has been and why he gave them no warning. As they talk to him, "his many-tinted gentle eyes were grave as a sorcererís." They all felt that he understood everything they said to him and even more than that.


Notes

The last chapter of Part 1 brings it full circle, back to the connection between John Singer and Spiros Antonapoulos. The regular round of visits from his new friends, Mick, Jake, Doctor Copeland, and Biff is interrupted when he needs his own form of communication. He spends a two week summer vacation of Thursdays and Saturdays with his beloved Spiros, whom he can talk to with all the animation of his pent up desires. Spiros is to Singer what Singer is to the others. Since he doesnít respond, he seems to hear and understand everything. Singer invests a great deal of emotion into his image of Spiros as the man who understands him.

McCullers allows the reader some critical distance on these relationships. It is clear that Spiros is not understanding what Singer is saying to him and that he only wants more to eat and drink. It is clear that Singer doesnít understand the four people who have made him their personal priest or psychiatrist. He just wants their company to pass the time between visits to his own confidante. Each of the people is so lonely and so isolated in that loneliness that they cannot make a real connection with another person. They cannot recognize the other personís separate subjectivity, a necessary precondition to connection and love.

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