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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Carson McCullers

Part Two, Chapter 7

Part Two, Chapter 6

Part Two, Chapter 7, page 2

page 1 of 3
Summary

This chapter is told from John Singer's point of view. The current winter is one of the coldest ever recorded. Singer begins to go out for long walks again as he used to do during the first months when Antonapoulos was gone. Many people now stop Singer on his walks because all sorts of rumors have started about him in the town.

During the first few months after Antonapoulos left Singer primarily remembered the bad things about his friend. In one incident in particular, the two of them had another deaf-mute, a skinny man named Carl, over for dinner and drinks. Antonapoulos suddenly got angry with Carl and kicked him out because he mistakenly thought that Carl drank all of the gin, even though it was Antonapoulos himself who had done so.

As the months go by, however, Singer thinks more and more of the Antonapoulos whom nobody knew but him—the Antonapoulos who seemed wise and good. Singer also thinks of the words that Mick, Dr. Copeland, and Jake Blount say to him, and of the gestures of Biff Brannon. The four people have been coming to his room regularly for more than seven months. Singer enjoys their company because they distract him from thinking of Antonapoulos. However, Singer misses speaking with his hands; they feel restless all the time, so he often forces them into his pockets.

Singer mails Antonapoulos a large box of presents for Christmas. He also gives presents to all four of his visitors and to Mrs. Kelly. For all of the visitors together he buys a radio and puts it in his room for them to listen to. Jake and Mick listen to it, and Mick comes in and listens even when Singer is not home. Singer has never seen someone listen as Mick listens; she seems to "listen all over," and sometimes the music makes her cry.

One night, by coincidence, all four people—Mick, Dr. Copeland, Blount, and Biff—show up in Singer's room at the same time to talk to him. Dr. Copeland does not sit down, and the others seem awkward and do not know what to say, which puzzles Singer because each of them always has so much to say to him when each is alone. This time, however, they all merely speak about the weather for a while and then all got up to leave at the same time. Singer decides to write to Antonapoulos about it that night, even though he never mails the letter.

Singer goes down to the jewelry shop so he can finish carving a monogram on the center of a silver platter before he writes the letter. He writes to Antonapoulos how much he misses him and how he wishes he were there so they could go to an upcoming deaf-mute convention together. Then Singer writes at some length about the four people who come to visit him. He says that all of them, save Biff, have something that they hate and something that they love above all other things, and that these things keep their minds busy night and day.

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