The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
How we cite our quotes:
In many eyes there was a look of somber loneliness. Now that people were forced to be idle, a certain restlessness could be felt. There was a fervid outbreak of new beliefs. (2.7.2)
This town is seriously down on its luck, so it's no wonder that people are lonely, restless, and ready for change. But that change won't come if they keep being idle. So one way they cope with their new, frustrating situation is by turning to new beliefs. Perhaps they can find satisfaction in changing the way they see the world.
If it had not been for Singer, Jake knew that he would have left the town. Only on Sunday, when he was with his friend, did he feel at peace. (2.12.48)
It's rather fitting that Jake finds peace with Singer on Sunday, the day of rest. It's as if Singer is some sort of holy figure for Jake, and his times with Singer provide some of the few times when Jake can relax. But we can't help thinking that he is not experiencing true satisfaction in this friendship. After all, he can never truly know Singer. He has only his idea of the man.
"Never have I had the opportunity to hear such nonsense firsthand."
They stared at each other in bitter disappointment and anger. (2.13.146-47)
What we've got here is a failure to communicate. The falling out between Copeland and Jake really highlights the novel's idea that people can never truly fulfill each other – that comes from within. Copeland and Jake seek solace in each other, and common ground. But they can never find it because they don't actually listen to each other.