brief Character Study of John Singer in Carson McCullers' 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter'

Essay by greggy August 2004

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We are introduced to 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter' with the characters Spiros Antonapoulos and John Singer. They are the only two deaf-mutes in the town and therefore stick together, living together and spending all their time, except when they're at work, together. John Singer is described as "...tall. His eyes had a quick, intelligent expression. He was always immaculate and soberly dressed." This gives us the impression of a man who is always serious and possibly rather boring. In the first chapter, we see that Singer cares greatly for his friend Antonapoulos. He does everything for him and expects nothing in return. Antonapoulos is rude and ungrateful towards Singer and never once reciprocates any of the care and affection that Singer bestows upon him continually. This idea of someone being able to love and care for someone unconditionally and without expectation of reciprocation is repeated throughout the play and is one of Singer's most admirable and note-worthy attributes.

His lack of voice makes him all the more likeable, to the reader and to the other characters. To the reader, you feel more for him, knowing that he goes through life silently. The reader is forced to feel awed by the way that Singer's character is always caring and never threatening and is therefore unable to do anything but like him. To the other characters in the book, Singer's lack of speech, makes them able to shape and carve him into to the person they believe/desire him to be. He is relied upon so heavily by everybody, and never says anything, allowing them to make up for themselves what they think he might be saying. The only person that really stood any kind of chance to understand Singer truly was Spiros, and he basically ignored his friend...