It’s been snowing here all day. News predicted a minimal dusting that in turn has let loose huge, billowy snow flakes, blanketing everything beneath 2-3 inches. I love winter days such as this; as long as I’m not driving in it. It’s the perfect time to cuddle up on the couch with a cup of coffee & settle into a book.
Which is exactly what I did; finishing up Carson McCullers ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.” I’ll admit that even until the last 70 pages or so I was a bit unsure of where this book was trying to take me as the reader. Then it suddenly hit me, as if I had walked with my head down this entire time until I ran myself right into a wall.
McCullers constructed such a beautiful and honest look at part of the human condition in this novel. Focusing on how we as social animals constantly need and drive to have others of like mind around us. All throughout life we search for someone to understand, accept and emotionally become part of us, our ideas, beliefs. We are almost always in a constant state of hunting for acceptance and ends to our singularity.
Humans fear and shun isolation on many levels starting at a very young age. As children we find ourselves drawn to other children playing the games we wanted to play. No one wants to be the last man called upon when choosing teams. We fear being left as the only one without a date or a click or group. We hunt and search and pray and at one point or another we find like-mindedness and turn confidant into friends/family.
We all experience those periods of isolation. The times when we feel utterly alone, with no one in the world to understand us (as we do like to think.) It is in those times that our hearts & souls are the hungriest. Humans need outlets, those who will listen, engage and understand whatever turmoil we experience at the moment. We want socialization/civility to end the loneliness and replacing it with solidarity.
That is what the book was about. 4 unique and very different people trying to satiate themselves from over whelming loneliness. All their needs where different: loss of a loved one, need for civil liberty, a door to bigger possibilities, the struggle of oppression. Yet all found their answer in the same man. A man who himself felt more isolation then the rest of them combined.
I probably could babble on for a while like this as it is still snowing, but I’ll leave it at this: It is a worthwhile read. Beautiful and poignant in just the right places. Am I a better person for reading it? No, not at all. But knowing that this infliction of feeling isolated is universal, well I do feel less alone in that regard.