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MonkeyNotes-The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
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Chapter 5

Mick sits on the porch of her house with her younger brother Bubber and several other neighborhood kids. Spareribs has his fatherís rifle and when Bubber starts to play with it, he warns Bubber that it is loaded. Mick has been at the high school gymnasium playing the piano. She loves to play it and has learned a good deal about music since she has been doing so, but she wishes she could learn how to read sheet music. She has tried to get a classmate to teach her, but has had trouble with the arrangement. Mick goes inside to eat and finds only bread and margarine. She drinks a lot of water to fill up her stomach then goes back outside to sit with the others.

Bubber asks her to get a book for him at the library when she goes. He wants a book with eating in it, in particular, a barbecue sandwich. Even though he is only in the second grade, he reads all the time. When Harry Minowitz comes outside, Mick raises her arm and shouts "Heil!" as a joke, but Harry turns back inside and slams his door. She is sorry to have hurt his feelings since she has become better friends with him recently. He stays inside reading the newspapers all the time. The children discuss the practice of Jews giving their children a piece of gold at birth and the practice of Catholics giving their babies a gun at birth so that one day they can take over the world and kill everyone else. Mick sits with them, but she goes to what she thinks of as her inside room--a place of thought where she can be private even while in the midst of a crowd of people.


She is about to leave, but then decides to stay with the others. Baby Wilson comes strutting down the street in her pink soiree costume. She has a habit of doing her routine in the middle of the street. Bubber loves to watch her. He never gets tired of watching her routine and calls out to her when cars are coming. Bubber thinks Baby is very cute in her costume. He wishes he had one like it. He begs her to come over and let him see her pink costume and touch her pink pocketbook, but she turns her head away and walks on. Bubber wants to get a butterfly costume with all the colors in it. When Spareribs calls him a sissy, Mick decides she better take up for her brother. She tells Spareribs that the younger the child in the family, the tougher they are. She says that she is tough, but Bubber is even tougher.

Baby comes back up the street again. Bubber calls out to her again, begging her to come over and let him touch her costume. He has been aiming the rifle at houses and trees making a "pow" sound with his mouth. He aims the rifle at her and does the same. Mick sees but canít react in time, when Bubber pulls the trigger. Baby collapses on the ground and Bubber is the only one who doesnít know what has happened. He calls out to her to get up. All the children run toward her and Bubber screams out and then runs away. The adults in the neighborhood come and get her. She is taken to the hospital. Mr. Kelly is horrified at what has happened and thinks Bubber did it on purpose.

In the commotion, Mick realizes where Bubber has gone. She goes up to a tree in the backyard and calls out to him. When she climbs into the tree house, she finds him crouched in the corner. He begins to sob when he sees her. She wants to teach him a lesson, so she tells him Baby is dead and that their father is writing to the warden of Sing Sing prison to get him taken away and executed in an electric chair especially designed for small children. He stops sobbing and sits frozen in fear. Mick leaves him and goes back inside.

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