The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

by: Carson McCullers

Key Quotes

This was her, Mick Kelly, walking in the daytime and by herself at night. In the hot sun and in the dark with all the plans and feelings. This music was her—the real plain her...This music did not take a long time or a short time. It did not have anything to do with time going by at all. She sat with her arms around her legs, biting her salty knee very hard. The whole world was this symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen... Now that it was over there was only her heart beating like a rabbit and this terrible hurt.

This passage is taken from the Part Two, Chapter 1, which focuses on Mick Kelly. This is the chapter in which she throws a party at her house and in which, later that night after all her guests have left, she goes for a walk and sits under the window of a rich house to listen to the music from their radio. For the first time in her life, Mick hears a symphony by Beethoven. This passage explains her reaction to the music, first as she hears it and then after it ends. There is nothing else in the story that affects Mick the way this music does; it is almost as though she is having a religious epiphany. The intensity of her reaction indicates her intensity and intelligence as a person and highlights the extent of the passion she feels about music. Mick loves it so much that after it ends, she experiences the absence as a physical "hurt."


More Help

From the SparkNotes Blog