The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

I’m currently reading The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.  Amazingly, she was only 23 when she wrote this.  This depresses me because I’m 25 and I can’t say, ‘Hey, maybe I could write a book when I’m 23″.  Maybe 26…?  Anyway, there are a couple of parts that have really struck me thus far:

“She thought a long time and kept hitting her thighs with her fists.  Her face felt like it was scattered in pieces and she could not keep it straight.  The feeling was a whole lot worse than being hungry for any dinner, yet it was like that.  I want–I want–was all that she could think about–but just what this real want was she did not know” (p. 52)

I can completely relate to the idea of want, but not knowing exactly what it is that I want.  I think this character is confused, frustrated, and yearning to satisfy a ‘want’.  Not knowing what she wants implies that something is missing within her–something deep and undefinable.  It’s undefinable because she’s never had it before.  Maybe it’s a father figure, maybe it’s love, maybe it’s a sense of self.  I can relate to this feeling of wanting something undefinable.  And because the object of my desire was unknown to me, I would fill it with anything I could–alcohol, drugs, sex, self-inflicted physical pain–you name it.  Trying desperately to fill a void with external supplements only ends in tragedy.  However, with tragedy, for me, came clarity, enlightenment, a second chance and an answer to what would satisfy these ‘wants’.  What I really ‘wanted’ was to know who I was, to be safe, to be sane, to be comfortable in my own skin, and to have healthy human relationships.  This is everything I didn’t have and looked for it in the wrong places.  Today, I want everything I already have and even though I may not have everything I want, I have what I need and my higher power provides for me.  I don’t have to pound my thighs with my fists any longer.

  

The other part that made me stop and think is:

“But what I’m getting at is this.  When a person knows and can’t make the others understand, what does he do” (p. 69).

Thoughts on this to come later… 

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