Throughout our discussion there was the push and pull between those who read the book and felt a sense of despair and those who felt a sense of hope. Those on the side of hope prevailed, which is a good thing. As we bounced between hope and despair, we explored the complexity of the five main characters and thought that the number should have been expanded to at least six to include Portia. We praised the writing style and the ability of someone who started writing the novel at age 19 to capture so many different individual styles and themes – themes such as race and class and gender and the promise of the writings of capitalism and democracy and those of Marxism. We focused on the inability of the characters to create meaningful relationships. It seemed that for all the characters – major and minor – that they lacked the knowledge and skills to create non-lonely relationships. One interesting theme discussed was the extent to which McCullers found wanting a practice of “religion” that was no more than mere projection of human wants, needs and desires onto a real or imagined being who could offer nothing in response. As noted, we ended on a note of hope, which suggests that the heart is really a “hope-filled” hunter. The April meeting marked the seventh anniversary of the book club. Jerome
The "Heart is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullers was truly an interesting read. I found the imagery to be outstanding. The details place you right on the scene. I would have liked a little more action and a little less dialogue. But that's ok. McCullers' novel solidified the fact that, as individuals, we are so different that sometimes it is difficult for us to connect and grasp the sense that we are truly understood by our fellow "hunters". But that's ok too, because "The Hunt Goes On.” Liz
Sunday, April 26, the Oracle Set Book Club, founded in 1966 in Washington, DC hosted "A Bit of Deaf Culture" at Gallaudet University's Alumni House (that used to serve as the college's gym). Bettie Waddy Smith and Rosalyn Coates (our Big Read postcard models) facilitated the discussion which included a book summary by Susan Schatz who works with Bettie at Gallaudet. Schatz is deaf and gave some insight into the deaf community at the time McCullers wrote the novel: In the 1930s, deaf education consisted of teaching children how to talk. If that failed, they learned to sign (not so today); American Sign Language (ASL) was not recognized until 1960. And a question - "Why did Singer move to the South from Chicago which was a hub for deaf community?" Was he a loner or individualist by character/nature. Schatz is also a visual artist and talked about her life growing up deaf and attending "regular" schools. The program also included a performance by the children's class of the Deaf Dance Academy introduced and led by Tara Downing. We have pics (see below):
The Women's National Democratic Club Book group will have its discussion of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter April 29 (members only). An update of that discussion will be posted here.
In the meantime, if your bookclub or group is talking about The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, let us know. Just add your comments and news on this blog.