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“The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” by Carson McCullers Essay

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Updated: Nov 23rd, 2021


The focal point of this paper is to provide an analytical outline of the novel ‘The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. This 359-page book is a wonderful text that is written with an overwhelming sweep where the characters are engraved in such a manner that they can haunt the memory of the readers with their intricacy. This profound humane southern fiction handles a Negro character as well as a white character and renders justice to both with the same ease. It could be mentioned that this approach is unique and the author can be termed as a pioneering advance towards racial equality. This was the first novel by the author and it was written at the age of twenty-three and was first published in 1940 by Houghton Mifflin.

Brief synopsis

The novel is about John Singer who is deaf and mute. The text starts with a line that immediately narrates the fundamental situation of the story by mentioning that “in the town there were two mutes, and they were always together“. (McCullers, 1) Thus John Singer becomes intimate with the shady characters of a mill town of Georgia during the early 1930s. The story develops around these characters who try to break free out of these limited resources of the small town. At this point a friend of John Singer, who is also a mute, becomes insane and as a result of this John, Singer moves to a new place to stay. This new residence is Kelly’s house. Here he becomes familiar with Mick Kelly. This character can be identified as the heroine of the novel and is instrumental in rendering solace to John Singer with her musical abilities. Here John Singer finds the meaning of life as he approaches the world of music.

Discussion of the main themes

It can be well mentioned in this context that the novel incorporates a vivid underline of spiritual isolation and it is crafted wonderfully. The prevailing tension related to racial conflicts in the South was handled with much care and the human conditions of the era have been depicted with true spirit. This is a story that provides a voice to the downtrodden and the rejected. Thus the mistreated community of the area is treated with much affection where this forgotten population finds a say of their own. It should be remembered in this context that the approach of Mick Kelly is a very personal character to the point of being an introvert but is very much active while influencing a deeply delicate search for the exquisiteness of the mind.

Another main theme in the story is racism. It can be stated that it is very peculiar to consider racism as an ideology, racist or cultural conflict views, where humans are separated into various groups in the belief that some people are superior because they belong to a particular ethnic or national group. It could be summarized that racism is the result of having negative judgments, beliefs, and feelings towards certain identifiable groups. Particularly in the field of education, this tendency has developed into both educational and financial discrimination at the same time. In a general sense, it can be stated that racism is fuelled by different aspects like low education, unfavorable economic condition, the social structure that inclined towards a specific religion or cult, and most important of all- ill-fated political motivation as in the case of Southern parts of America mentioned in the book. It could be well ascertained in accordance to conflict theory that familiarly to democratic governance system, knowledge and lack of economic bitterness seldom allows a person to express as a racist no matter how much deep-rooted the ideal is. However, the novel takes the reader to a higher level of compassion and humanity where the aspects of racism cease to exist. This is where the book becomes a manifestation of human dignity and friendship that evokes love and kindness over any other materialistic aspects.

Evaluation of the author’s success

When relating the book to humanity it is possible to emphasize more the aspect of spirituality and love than any other aspect. This is because this book is a wonderful tool to formulate solutions to a lonely life and its longing ness that would help to structuralized solutions just by following the principal or path of love and spirituality mentioned in the book. If looked closely we would find out that this book is all about how to find pleasure related to simple humane feelings. The best possible way of relating this book in the context of humanity is considering how fast life changes and to be supportable, for the surroundings change constantly. That means new ways of doing things or improving them or always remaining updated. From the humanistic point of view, this book is completely essential as being well written it could work at a better pace than any life-enhancing volume in the sense that this book does not tell what to do but tells stories whereby one is to ascertain the follow-ups. It is regarded to be great because it is simplistic.

On a personal level and in a general sense it would be very safe to mention that though this is criticized apparently from various territories in the ultimate sense for depicting racial injustice, it is a well-written book that has been a great success in the context of love and humanity. I feel that this book is more worthy than spending on its mentioned MRP. To me, the context where the book, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, could be best applicable is when an individual is going through a complete change or reconstruction and there is an immediate need for a morale-boosting tool. This book serves the purpose and not only that this book serves the purpose with “a spoon full of sugar” to get the needed “medicine go down” and yes- it is “in the most delightful way”. Sure, I would recommend such a book to all my friends, known and semi-known persons as it is a very well-written and successful text in the context of artistic expression and literal luminosity.


This example of 1931-1940 American literature is enumerated as a classic work of fiction of the southern literature and could be termed as a text that comes of age. It could well be mentioned that the author Carson McCullers is at her endearing and compassionate best with her first novel ‘The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. It could also be said that this book is highly recommended for anybody who is willing to share a compassionate mind with the author.

Works cited

McCullers, Carson. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. London: Mariner, 2004.

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1. IvyPanda. ""The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers." November 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-heart-is-a-lonely-hunter-by-carson-mccullers/.


IvyPanda. ""The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers." November 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-heart-is-a-lonely-hunter-by-carson-mccullers/.


IvyPanda. 2021. ""The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers." November 23, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-heart-is-a-lonely-hunter-by-carson-mccullers/.


IvyPanda. (2021) '"The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers'. 23 November.

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