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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

Part Two, Chapter 7

Summary Part Two, Chapter 7

Singer writes that he thinks Jake is a little crazy because of his erratic behavior and language and the huge amount that he drinks. Singer likes it when Mick comes to see him; he mentions that she comes all the time now that he has a radio. Singer writes that Dr. Copeland works more than anyone he has ever seen, but that sometimes he is frightening because his eyes are so hot and bright. Singer likes Biff a lot, as he says little but is very thoughtful.

Singer then tells Antonapoulos how strange it was when all four guests came to see him at the same time, as none of them knew what to say. Singer does not understand why the group interaction was so strained. Then he writes that he will come to visit Antonapoulos soon because he misses him terribly. That night he dreams about his friend.

The next afternoon, the Christmas present that Singer has ordered for Antonapoulos arrives, several days late. The gift is a moving-picture machine with a half-dozen Mickey Mouse and Popeye comedies that Antonapoulos liked. Singer asked the jeweler for some days off, and he leaves that Friday to go see Antonapoulos.

Antonapoulos has been moved from his previous room because he is sick with nephritis. When Singer walks in and sees his friend, he thinks he looks like a king in all the finery that Singer has sent him—silk pajamas and a turquoise ring. Singer begins to tell Antonapoulos with his hands all the things he wrote the letter. Antonapoulos does not seem interested or respond to anything that Singer says. He is not even interested in the moving picture machine when he unwraps it. However, when Singer sets the machine up and starts one of the pictures, Antonapoulos's face lights up. The nurse lets Singer stay an hour past visiting hours to watch the moving pictures. Then he leaves, though he thinks he would rather be an invalid if it meant he could stay with Antonapoulos.

Analysis

The fact that there are rumors about Singer floating about town demonstrates once again that everyone makes him into what they wish him to be, as opposed to perceiving who he really is. Jews insist he is Jewish; the merchants say he is rich, and a Turkish man is convinced that when he speaks Turkish to Singer, Singer understands. All of these rumors are utterly unfounded; Singer has come to represent all things to all people because he cannot disillusion them by speaking.

Curiously, Singer himself falls prey to the same delusions in his perceptions of Antonapoulos. He describes his friend as being someone who is "wise and good," though little that we know about Antonapoulos would support the use of either adjective. The story Singer remembers about the way Antonapoulos treated Carl seems more illustrative of the true Antonapoulos: a selfish, lazy, stupid person. However, as the months go by and Singer misses his friend more and more, he remembers only the good things about his friend. He even thinks that maybe Antonapoulos can read, so he begins writing him letters, even though the narrative has already indicated that Antonapoulos is illiterate. The one person with whom Singer wants to interact has no desire to interact with him in return; ironically, Singer has as little true knowledge about Antonapoulos as any of his own visitors have about him.