The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
How we cite our quotes:
Mick tried to think of some good private place where she could go and be by herself and study about this music. But though she thought about this a long time she knew in the beginning that there was no good place. (1.3.132)
Well isn't this depressing? No matter how many wheels Mick turns in her head, she has bumped up against the cold hard truth: there is nowhere for her to go. Of course here she's just talking about studying music, but by the end of the novel, we realize that Mick has nowhere to go in life, either.
He liked to sit back and watch the actors talking and walking about on the screen. He never looked at the title of a picture before going into a movie, and no matter what was showing he watched each scene with equal interest. (2.7.7)
Singer is an observer, even when it comes to his own life. And the way he watches movies is how he acts with other people – he just takes it all in without really connecting with what he sees. The problem with being an observer is that it means Singer will always be just a bit removed from what's going on, a bit isolated from the world around him.
Doctor Copeland turned off the lights in his house and sat in the dark before the stove. But peace would not come to him. [...] Each word that Portia had said to him came back in a loud, hard way to his memory. He got up suddenly and turned on the light. (1.5.160)
You don't get much more alone than sitting in the dark in your empty house. Part of Copeland likes this – he thinks it will bring him peace. But it's lonely in the dark, and loneliness and peace are two very different things. For him, the isolation means he can't escape his horrible thoughts. No wonder he flips that switch.