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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Author Carson McCullers
Type of work Novel
Genre Southern realism; coming-of-age novel
Time and place written 1937–1940; New York City and Charlotte
Date of first publication 1940
Publisher Houghton Mifflin Co.
Narrator An anonymous third person narrator
Point of view Third person omniscient
Tone Varies depending on which character is the focus of that part of the narrative (Singer is calm, Mick is childish and excitable, Jake is ranting; Dr. Copeland is precise yet angry; Biff is thoughtful and somewhat jumbled
Tense Immediate past
Setting (time) Spring 1938–August 1939
Setting (place) An unnamed town in the middle of the Deep South
Protagonists John Singer, Mick Kelly, Biff Brannon, Dr. Copeland, and Jake Blount
Major conflict The characters' hopes and ambitions are stymied by life's circumstances and each character's individual flaws
Climax John Singer's suicide
Falling action Dr. Copeland's move to Grandpapa's house; Jake's departure; Mick's thoughts about Mr. Singer at the New York Café; Biff's thoughts about Mr. Singer at the café late at night
Themes Man's struggle against isolation; religion as self-delusion; heroism; man's search for connection and redemption; society's repression of the individual
Symbols John Singer; Mick's violin
Foreshadowing Violence is foreshadowed at several points in the narrative
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter!