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Author Nathanael West
Type of work Novel
Genre Depression-era novel; epistolary; black comedy
Time and place written Early 1930s, New York
Date of First Publication April 1933
Publisher New Directions
Narrator Third-person narrator
Climax Doyle shoots Miss Lonelyhearts on the stairwell
Protagonist Miss Lonelyhearts
Antagonist Shrike; the modern world
Setting (time) 1930s
Setting (place) Primarily New York City, with an interlude at a farm in Connecticut
Point of view Third person, focusing on the experiences of Miss Lonelyhearts
Tense Immediate past tense, though the letters are usually in the present tense
Tone Stark, journalistic, tragic
Themes The failure of Christian faith and Miss Lonelyhearts's Christ complex; literary frustration and castration; the Great Depression and the illusion of the American Dream
Motifs Newspaper form; the sterile, violent, and disordered environment; Miss Lonelyhearts's sickness and resurrection
Symbols The stone; the lamb
Foreshadowing Miss Lonelyhearts notes he will get sick if he thinks about Christ in the first episode
Ace your assignments with our guide to Miss Lonelyhearts!