The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
All the while she remembered the words she had said to Bubber. About Baby being dead and Sing Sing and Warden Lawe. About the small electric chairs that were just his size, and Hell. In the dark the words had sounded terrible. (2.5.144)
Yep, Mick, words sure can pack a punch. Our girl learns a tough lesson here: that our words can have consequences far beyond our intentions, and in this case, Mick realizes she may have put her brother in danger when really all she wanted to do was teach him a lesson.
His hands were a torment to him. They would not rest. They twitched in his sleep, and sometimes he awoke to find them shaping the words in his dreams before his face. He did not like to look at his hands or to think about them. (2.7.27)
We've all felt the torment of longing to speak and not being able to, but imagine being physically unable to speak. That has got to be tough. Singer faces a unique difficulty in the novel in that he has to rely on his hands to communicate, but the problem is, not everyone speaks sign language. So the people with whom he can truly communicate are few and far between.
Portia spoke in a low voice, and she neither paused between words nor did the grief in her face soften. It was like a low song. She spoke and he could not understand. The sounds were distinct in his ear but they had no shape or meaning. It was as though his head were the prow of a boat and the sounds were water that broke on him and then flowed past. (2.10.24)
Copeland seems to be focusing more on the sound of Portia's voice here, and not what she's saying. Frankly, this happens quite a bit in this book, but never quite as beautifully as in this passage.