The novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, illustrates several individuals who are on a “hunt” or search for something. The characters are all in a relentless search for some place to belong, each possessing a compulsion to rise against enforced isolation to express what is in their individual hearts. The characters are from various backgrounds and with different disabilities yet they all share one commonality: the desire for love, companionship, acceptance and understanding. Each individual gravitates towards a particular person or thing which they believe fulfills all of these qualities.
The character Mick Kelly is the sister of Etta, Hazel, Bill, Bubber and Ralph Kelly. She is neither the oldest or youngest child, thus she is isolated from her older siblings particularly Etta and Hazel who would “stop talking when they saw her” (41.) She discovers that her love lies in music, particularly classical music. Undoubtedly, Mick is mesmerized by an individual which she calls a "one special fellow" which turns out to be no other than the great composer Mozart. This love for his music manifests itself into a passion—a passion that she wants to share with the world.
Doctor Copeland is a well-respected colored physician among his people. In fact he is the very source of inspiration for their various babies’ names. He has four children Hamilton, Karl Marx, Portia and William. His search is for a way for his people to transcend their socioeconomic status and advance within society. He would often exhort to his patients the “Eugenic Parenthood for the Negro Race” telling them “it is not more children we need but more chances for the ones already on earth” (74.) He had a fervent need to reach out to those in his race and his children were no exception.
The most important character within this novel is a deaf mute by the name John Singer. He is not only the best friend of Antonopolous who is metally ill, but also becomes the source through which all the other characters come to vent out their problems. In fact, Singer's room becomes symbolic for a sanctuary in which these "lonely hunters" come to pour out what's in their hearts:
One by one they would come to Singer’s room to spend the evening with him. The mute was always thoughtful and composed… Mick Kelly and Jake Blount and Doctor Copeland would come and talk in the silent room—for they felt that the mute would always understand whatever they wanted to say to him. And maybe even more than that (94).
The greatest irony within this Novel is that each of the characters who comes to John Singer automatically creates the assumption that he understands them. They never take the time out to understand that this man is both deaf and dumb. They believe he is an excellent listener whose sole purpose is to show acceptance to them. Thus, in their romantic idealization in believeing that Singer understands them, they never take the time out to see that Singer is just like themselves. He also wants to be understood, love and accepted. Singer is also a loneley hunter searching to belong. This is shown when his best friend Antonopolous dies and Singer commits suicide.