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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter | Study Guide

Carson McCullers

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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter | Part 3, Chapter 3 | Summary



Set in the evening of August 21, this chapter checks in with Mick as she gets off after working late. She goes to the New York Café for a chance to feel normal and relax. She orders a chocolate sundae and a beer. Readers learn from her thoughts that she was the one who found Singer dead and that she now considers herself a grown-up. Sadly, music does not run through her head very often anymore, and she no longer knows how to go to her "inside room." All she does is work, eat, and sleep. She did end up with Singer's radio after his death by taking on the responsibility of his installments, and she hopes to someday buy a piano. But for now she just feels mad all the time—and cheated.

Despite all of these sad developments, the chapter ends with hope. Mick still thinks things might be OK. She believes her feelings about music and her plans have "some good," too much good to waste.


Critics overwhelmingly agree that Mick's story ends in an optimistic way. This might be because she is such an autobiographical character for Carson McCullers, who found her way out of a small southern town to a big city and fame, even though it wasn't in her originally chosen field of music. Mick is so young and so tough that readers get the impression her story will not end in a dead-end dime-store job.

Her anger must therefore be temporary. It might even become the motivating factor for her ultimate escape from the town.

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