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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Carson McCullers

Part Two, Chapter 1

Part One, Chapters 5–6

Part Two, Chapter 1, page 2

page 1 of 2
Summary

The narrative of this chapters focuses on Mick's point of view. The summer after John Singer moves into the Kelly house is different from any other time Mick can remember. She is excited and thinking all the time. She spends her days outdoors with Ralph and Bubber, but Bubber is reliable enough that she can leave him alone with Ralph. At night, she goes out walking by herself.

Earlier that summer Mick has realized that her Dad likes to talk to her because he feels lonely and cut off from the family. He had been a carpenter before his hip accident a year ago, but after the accident he could only repair watches and clocks and various random things around the house. Mick had been in a hurry the night her father called her over to talk to her, but she had realized he was lonely and therefore stayed to talk to him.

Mick loves walking by herself at night. She usually goes to the rich parts of town, where every house has a radio. After a while she knows which houses tend to play the music she wants to hear. There is one house in particular with dark shrubbery outside the window, among which she hides to listen to the music playing inside.

In the fall Mick starts high school at Vocational. She realizes that there are lots of cliques among her classmates and that she does not belong to any one in particular, so she decides to throw a party to get to know some of the kids better. Mick calls ten girls and ten boys and tells them to come to her house at eight o'clock on Saturday night. The day of the party she and her family decorate the house with yellow leaves, crepe paper, and other autumn décor.

Mick has never worn nice clothes before, but for the party her sisters Etta and Hazel lend her a blue evening gown, pumps, and a tiara. She puts the dress and stockings and shoes on and stands in front of the mirror, having tried her hair six different ways and having put on makeup. Mick thinks she looks beautiful, but she does not feel like herself.

When the guests arrive, at first there is general pandemonium and chatter. Then Mick yells out for everyone to get a prom card and start signing up. One of the boys who asks her for a promenade is Harry Minowitz, a Jewish boy who is her next-door neighbor. Mick notices Harry because he is not wearing his usual glasses and therefore looks different. During Mick and Harry's promenade around the block, a song comes into Mick's mind and she starts singing. She tells Harry the song is by Mozart. He says that the name sounds German, and asks if Mozart is a Fascist or a Nazi. Mick says no, Mozart died a long time ago. Harry gets very worked up and says that if he saw a Fascist walking on the street he would kill him. Mick asks why, but Harry does not have time to answer her question because they are back at her house.

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