The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
How we cite our quotes:
Then gradually as he sat there his thoughts turned to a picture that had been stored inside him.
[...] Children were here whom he knew, Mick and his niece, Baby, and there were also strange faces no one had ever seen before. Biff bowed his head. (2.2.5-6)
One of the huge dissatisfactions of Biff's life is his lack of children, which might partially explain why he is so drawn to Mick. In Biff we have a character grappling with loss and regret. How can he come to terms with a dream that will never come true?
She paid Delores the fifty cents a week she got for lunch money to give her lessons. This made her very hungry all through the day. Delores played a good many fast, runny pieces – but Delores did not know how to answer all the questions she wanted to know. (2.5.6)
In her music lessons, Mick is getting something she wants, but it isn't quite enough for her. This girl needs Julliard, not Delores.
If once he could tell it all to them, from the far-away beginning until this very night, the telling would ease the sharp ache in his heart. But they would not listen or understand. (2.3.102)
Copeland has placed himself between a rock and a hard place here, ensuring that he'll never be content. He desperately wants to speak, but he's so convinced that they won't listen that he can't bring himself to speak, or won't bring himself to speak. It's no mistake that the man has tuberculosis, a disease of the lungs. The words he keeps locked up inside him just might feel like an illness. He can't find the power in his chest to speak out.