There is something very gratifying when I finish a book and at first I'm just sitting there, letting it sink in that the book is finished, and taking it in, that it was a good
book. There was something very nourishing in this book. And I had so many feels. So how do I write this? Lord knows how much I want to eloquent and articulate.
I'll take a shot.
First off, I want to honor the fact that Ms McCullers was only 22 when she wrote this novel. Nobody misses that. Everybody should know by now how awesome she is for creating such a thing at a relatively young age. I'm 22 and I could not imagine writing such a thing even a quarter as good as this. Notice how I used "such a thing" twice in the same paragraph. Wait, thrice.
Reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
is never boring. It has a slow soothing rhythm, which enabled me to read it continuously. Though the topics are about small town life, or the everyday small stuff (she incorporates such stuff as kicking an orange peel in a sidewalk in a sentence, or folding and unfolding one's shirtsleeves), they manage to fit in with the rhythm, and kind of forced me to read this in a slowly-but-surely pace, which I didn't mind at all. It was like watching gentle waves crash to the shore: fascinating in a quiet way, and relaxing.
"...In a swift radiance of illumination he saw a glimpse of human struggle and of valor. Of the endless fluid passage of humanity through endless time. And of those who labor and of those who - one word - love."
Human struggle. I am in awe at how McCullers can understand this and articulate it. She gives voice to the rejected and the forgotten, the mistreated and the oppressed. There is Copeland, a proud black doctor who longs for justice and equality rights for blacks; Blount, a seemingly crazed drunkard who wants to fight for the poor, because he sees how unfair it is between the capitalists and their laborers. They both admire Karl Marx's ideology, and although Communism has a sort of bad image, we must never forget his ideal for a utopia, for equality.
"...Our country was founded on what should have been a great, true principle - the freedom, equality, and rights of each individual. Huh! And what has come of that start? There are corporations worth billions of dollars - and hundreds of thousands of people who don't get to eat."
Blount hit the nail in the head on that one. I'm not American, but I can say that this situation could very well describe the situation in my country. And why can't we follow Blount's ideals? It kind of makes me angry as well, but I can't get carried away.
Then there's Mick, whom I can greatly relate to. I may not have the same music in me, but I do have dreams, and sometimes, the immediate problem at hand prevents one from pursuing one's dreams. Mick's life could mirror any one's life. And may I say to Mick: hang on there, girl, you can do it!
And how can I miss John Singer, the deaf-mute as the focal point of the characters, and the story.
“Owing to the fact he was a mute they were able to give him all the qualities they wanted him to have.”
And because of this, the characters had come alive. They finally had someone who understood them, whether it was true or not, and it enabled their stories to move forward. The truth is that Singer is a sad, sad character. He doesn't realize how much he affected these people. He's a man whose center of his life is his fellow deaf-mute best-friend who happens to be schizophrenic. His devotion to this friend some might say pure, but it only angers me. And yet, I can't deny Singer his flaws. He truly believed Antonopoulos was the only one who 'got him' and if the book hasn't said much about isolation before, then this certainly does.
The ending...I need to believe in these characters' happy endings. And it's not hard, the way McCullers wrote the ending. She utilized Biff Brannon as the character who can speak both for the characters in the story, and the reader. Unlike the characters who molded Singer into the image they want him to be, Biff Brannon was the one who kept his objectivity. And so it isn't surprising that it is Brannon we read in the last pages.
"He was suspended between radiance and darkness. Between irony and faith...How could a terror throttle him like this when he didn't even know what caused it? And would he stand there like a jittery ninny or would he pull himself together and be reasonable?...Somehow he remembered that the awning has not been raised. As he went to the door his walk gained steadiness. And when at last he was inside again he composed himself soberly to await the morning sun."
This book almost made me give up on humanity. There's still injustice and corruption. The characters in this story haven't fulfilled their ideals and dreams. In fact, McCullers sent them on a detour. But at least she gave us hope. That's the powerful thing. How can I ask more than that?