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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Language and Communication

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is all about conversation. In fact, the entire novel is structured around people talking to each other (or trying to talk to each other), and revealing their inner selv...

Life, Consciousness, and Existence

What does it all mean? You won't find an answer in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, but you will find a lot of people asking that very question, plus a few more like who are we? and what do we mean to...

Isolation

Shmoopers, it ain't called The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter for nothin'. All of our characters are isolated in one way or another, and they have a love-hate relationship with being alone. Of course, it...

Identity

There is a whole lot of navel gazing going on in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. In fact, many of the novel's characters are downright self-absorbed. But all that self-involvement comes from a good p...

Love

Love hurts, love scars. Nazareth may have said it best, but The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter definitely gets points for trying. Love is everywhere in this novel, but it's never very romantic. It's most...

Dissatisfaction

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is hardly full of happy characters. No, the people in this Georgia town have some serious woes, and many of those woes stem from their general dissatisfaction with thei...

Sexuality and Sexual Identity

While The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter isn't exactly brimming with sex scenes, sexuality and sexual politics are strong undercurrents throughout the novel. We have Copeland's past domestic violence, Mi...

Race

It's no surprise that a novel written in and about the American South would have something to say about race. It's just about everywhere in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, but while the novel has bot...

Violence

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, true, but it's also a bit of a violent one as well. Violence closely impacts every character, and even somewhat likeable folks are prone to violent actions, or at the...

Visions of America: The South

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter gives us a panoramic view of the American South, even though we hardly ever leave the confines of one town. In fact, we get a view of all of Depression-era America in g...
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