Isolation In The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter

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In her novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers emphasizes the power of observation as a path to understanding, and the negative effects of selfishness and ignorance. The characters in the book, notably Mick and Blount, who have been isolated by their radical or different opinions and ideas, resort to Singer as an outlet for the expression of these beliefs. They are oblivious to the way they treat him, and continually exploit his muteness until his death. Biff, however, is constantly observing their bizarre interactions with Singer and from this inquiry is able to gain a better understanding of Singer himself. Therefore, Mick and Blount resent Singer after his death because his suicide does not make sense with their misperceptions…show more content…
Biff, contrarily, is able to deal with the suicide and inquire about it with curiosity instead of resentment because he has has a true understanding of Singer that the others do not. The characters’ reactions to Singer’s suicide are a product of their relationships with Singer and the way they treat him throughout the book. Because Biff observes Singer and his opinions and beliefs, rather than using Singer to project his own, he reacts differently from the other characters to Singer’s suicide in a more inquisitive and speculative way. In the cafe a month after his death, he thinks, “The question that had taken root in him and would not let him rest. The puzzle of Singer and the rest of them. More than a year had gone by since it had started. More than a year since Blount had hung around the place on his first long drunk and seen the mute for the first time. Since Mick had begun to follow him in and out” (358). Biff lacks radical beliefs and is indifferent in his opinions, so he has not felt the need to forge a connection…show more content…
But anyway…” (341). Because Blount treats Singer as simply a projection of himself, Singer’s suicide causes him to be angry rather than sorrowful. The radicalness of his political views throughout his life leaves him feeling isolated and alone because he finds very few people who share his beliefs. He finds consolation in communicating his ideas to Singer because Singer’s muteness renders him incapable of expressing contradictory opinions. Blount selfishly takes advantage of Singer’s muteness and attentiveness, although inadvertently, and treats Singer as an extension of himself, to whom he conveys all his political ideas, rather than as a companion with whom mutual conversation occurs. As he states, he consequently feels betrayed because he has invested so much of himself and his ideas into Singer, which, he feels, are lost and meaningless after Singer’s demise. Therefore, when Singer dies, Blount does not mourn the death of an independent person but instead resents the loss of a part of himself. He only considers the motives behind Singer’s suicide in passing because he is not able to see past his own suffering with the death and concern himself with Singer’s personal feelings. He thinks fleetingly of the cause of the death but only takes interest in the way he himself is affected. In addition, Singer’s inability to communicate allows Blount to create a skewed perception of him as a type of God, or somebody who “knows,” whose thoughts and opinions are

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