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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Carson McCullers

Part Two, Chapters 12–13

Part Two, Chapters 10–11

Part Two, Chapters 12–13, page 2

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Chapter 12

The narrative of this chapter focuses on the point of view of Jake Blount. The weather is now hot, and the Sunny Dixie (the fair where Jake works as a mechanic) has gotten crowded. Recently, a headache has begun to trouble him constantly, so he has cut out liquor entirely for a few weeks.

Blount ends up meeting the man who wrote the Biblical message in red chalk on the wall in town. The man, Simms, preaches on the sidewalks. Occasionally he comes to the fair to preach there too, and he continuously tries to convert Blount to devout Christianity.

The warm weather has resulted in an increase in the frequency of brawls at he fair, and Jake is constantly tense and ready to break things up if tensions fun high. One day he overhears two of his coworkers making fun of him behind his back, calling him a Red Bolshevik. He confronts the two men and yells at them. Jake reflects that if not for his friendship with John Singer, he would have left town months ago.

One day Jake goes to visit Singer, but Singer is not there when he first arrives. Then Singer comes in and tells Jake the news about Willie's feet being amputated. Jake thinks he might be able to do something to help the boy. He begins pacing the room and asks Singer to take him to see Willie.

Chapter 13

Jake and Singer go over to Portia's house. Jake asks Willie to tell him what happened. Willie does not want to tell, as he thinks that Jake is trying to get him into further trouble. This comment makes Jake angry. Portia intervenes to explain that naturally Willie is frightened; they have enough trouble as it is, even though she knows Jake does not mean any harm. Then Jake asks to talk to Willie's father, Dr. Copeland. However, just then, Highboy and Lancy Davis come in with wine. Marshall Nicolls, a black pharmacist and friend of Dr. Copeland, and John Roberts, a black postman, also try to convince Jake that, though his motives may be admirable, he will probably just cause more trouble for Willie.

Blount explains that all he wants to do is testify in court and explain why the things happened to Willie the way he did; he thinks that that may make some difference. Then Jake, who is already drunk, suddenly feels that the others are laughing at him, so he fumbles at a door, hoping it is the way out of the house. However, when he goes through the doorway he is not outside, but in Dr. Copeland's room.

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