The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

by: Carson McCullers

Motifs

Dreams

Both Singer and Blount experience dreams that either are indicative of important aspects of their personalities or support some greater theme in the novel as a whole. Singer dreams that he sees Antonapoulos at the top of a flight of stairs, kneeling and holding something up in his hand. Singer is kneeling behind Antonapoulos, while Mick, Biff, Jake, and Dr. Copeland are all kneeling behind Singer. This worshipful image perfectly depicts the way that the characters feel in the story: Singer worships Antonapoulos, whereas the other four characters worship Singer. The dream represents the dynamic of the relationships in the novel as a whole.

Jake has a nightmare at the end of the book that he has had several times before. He dreams that he is in a crowd and that he is carrying a covered basket. He feels anxious because he does not know to whom to give the basket. This dream demonstrates Blount's desire to find kindred spirits who also believe in socialism, so that he can give his "basket" of beliefs to them. In the dream, Blount has been carrying the burdensome basket for a long time; in life, his socialist beliefs have burdened him for a long time as well, as there are few people with whom he can share them to relieve his thoughts.