We cannot lift up. Our tongues rot in our mouths from lack of use. Our hearts grow empty and lose strength for our purpose (193)We’re given a few slices of life, slices of miserable life. Everyone in town is searching for something–an idea, a feeling, or a connection within to verify their existence. What they’re seeking is in other people, in certain routines or motions. But they cannot overcome. Their reasons for being and sustaining are feeble and obscure.
Some of you young people here this morning may feel the need to be teachers or nurses or leaders of your race. But most of you will be denied. You will have to sell yourselves for a useless purpose in order to keep alive. You will be thrust back and defeated. The young chemist picks cotton. The young writer is unable to learn to read. The teacher is held in useless slavery at some ironing board (193)
John Singer is another character of interest. Strangely enough, Singer is an anomaly in a community of misfits. Not because he cannot hear or speak, but because he seems to be a person everyone else needs. People come to him and talk. Many times Singer offers them simple things that enliven them; food, money, music. Because they can be themselves around him, they value his company and are happier. And when he is gone, they lapse back into desolation.
McCullers captures the gloom of living in a small, southern town, where the heart is a lonely hunter.
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