The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Let's face it, Jake's workplace is super creepy:
The motionless wooden horses were fantastic in the late afternoon sun. They pranced up statically, pierced by their dull gilt bars. The horse nearest Jake had a splintery wooden crack in its dingy rump and the eyes walled blind and frantic, shreds of paint peeled from the sockets. The motionless merry-go-round seemed to Jake like something in a liquor dream. (1.4.87)
The run-down merry-go-round, which spins round and makes Jake feel sick, seems to represent the sort of hopeless cycle in which all our characters are stuck – a cycle of violence, of poverty, and of hopelessness. Hey, we didn't say this was going to be uplifting.