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MonkeyNotes-The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
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McCullers handles Biff’s attraction for Mick Kelly with great subtlety and understanding. He is aware that his attraction for Mick, a girl who is more than half his age and who hasn’t even left puberty yet, is inappropriate and he doesn’t act on it. However, Mick seems to sense it. She is wary of him, but is not sure why. She guesses that he saw her steal some gum from his cafe and keeps her distance from him. Biff remains attracted to her for a year and then finds himself able to see her simply as another person in the world. Biff is the person in the novel who represents part of the answer to the problems everyone faces. He answers with love. He loves generally. He accepts the misfits and embraces them.

John Singer


In John Singer, McCullers creates a very interesting characters. In his relations with the three satellite characters--Mick, Jake, and Doctor Copeland--his own personality is effaced. He is only a figure of affirmation for them. He is not a person in his own right. So when he is with these other figures, the reader is removed from him as a personality and only sees him as a sort of mirror reflecting what the other characters think and feel. When he is alone and thinking about his own mirror figure Antonapoulos, the reader does see him in his own right. He then becomes one of the lonely people of the novel searching for understanding and acceptance. Severed from Antonapoulos, Singer is sad and lonely, more mute than ever before. He is polite to the people who come to see him, but he holds his heart back from them and only gives it to his one true love. For such a central character in the novel, Singer ends up being one of the least known characters of the novel. He is the absent center of the novel.

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