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The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
by Carson McCullers
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter Part 2: Chapter 5 Summary
It's been raining so much that Bubber thinks everyone is going to drown. Not an auspicious, or good, start to this chapter. Mick, meanwhile, is enjoying school and practices every day on the piano in the school gym for an hour. She starts giving her lunch money to Delores Brown for music lessons, too, since Delores knows how to read music. One day after school, Mick comes home to find Bubber and Spareribs hanging around outside. Bubber is playing with Spareribs' new BB rifle. Uh oh. The three of them see Harry across the street. Mick and Harry take shop class together so the two are pretty chummy. At that point, Mick prepares to head off to the library to get a book for Bubber, but then Baby Wilson comes out and starts prancing around in a costume. Bubber begs her to come over so he can see her costume. For who-knows-what reason, he continues playing with his gun, and – yep – he accidentally shoots Baby. When he realizes what he's done, he screams and runs away. The adults arrive on the scene, and Mrs. Wilson is (obviously) hysterical. Mr. Kelly says that Baby won't die, but her skull is fractured, and she has to go to the hospital. The Kellys are all horrified, naturally. Mick goes out to look for Bubber and she finds him up in their tree house. Mick decides that Bubber needs to learn a lesson (what else are sisters for?) – she is furious with him for being so careless. So, she tells him that Baby is dead and that they're going to arrest him. "Well, our Dad's writing a letter to Warden Lawes for him to be a little bit kind to you when they catch you and send you to Sing Sing" (2.5.76). She concludes by telling him that he'll go to the electric chair and then go to hell. Oh my. Her work done, Mick heads back to the house. Bubber doesn't return home that evening. (Gee, wonder why?) Mrs. Wilson comes by with Biff and says she won't sue the family, but she does expect them to foot the hospital bill. And she demands that Baby get a private room, which is really expensive. Biff tries to talk Lucile down, but she refuses and insists on the private room. The Kellys are horrified – they'll never be able to pay for that. Meanwhile, they start looking for Bubber and realize he's missing. The family goes to Portia's place to see if maybe he's there, and Singer tags along. They find a note from Bubber saying that he has run away to Florida. Uh oh. Portia pulls Mick aside and says that Bubber stole money from her, but she doesn't want to tell Mr. Kelly since Bubber is in enough trouble already. So, the search for Bubber commences. And… ends. Mr. Kelly, Mick, Biff, and Singer quickly find Bubber walking on the side of the road. He has a knife and starts to fight with his dad, but the men overpower him and haul him, kicking and screaming, into the car. He's acting like he's possessed. Singer stares Bubber down, and he finally calms himself. Way to go, Singer. Mick goes to sleep that night in Bubber's bed and holds onto him tightly. But Bubber is never the same after that incident. He starts going by his real name, George, and he becomes very serious and quiet. He also grows distant from Mick, even though she tries to reach out to him.
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