Mick kelly Essay

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Makena Fanning
Mrs. Davies
Honors English 11
March 9, 2015 Exploring Isolation in
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Social isolation is the emotional or psychological challenges that can cause one to feel alone and secluded. This is a recurring theme in
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson
McCullers. The author uses freakish characters to demonstrate the struggle of overcoming this feeling of isolation in a society. In many of her novels, the themes form a perception of isolation that revolve around loneliness, gender confusion, and a constant search for love. Throughout her life McCullers endured virtually all aspects of suffering which ultimately impacted her writing.
As a tomboyish adolescent she was bullied, and confused by her sexuality. The torment began
“when Carson was younger, some of the girls gathered in little clumps of femininity and threw rocks at her when she walked in nearby, snickering loud asides and tossing within hearing distance such descriptive labels as weird, freakish­looking, and queer” (Carr, 29) Later in her life, McCullers exerted this pain by crafting fictional characters who are able to depict real life struggles. In the novel, McCullers explores the theme of isolation in her characters’ lives through the identity confusion of Mick Kelly, the unrequited love of John Singer, and the freakishness of

Jake Blount.

The character Mick Kelly serves as a representation and mirror image of Carson
McCullers’ childhood. It becomes more and more evident that McCullers’s adolescent

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characteristics, aspirations, and behaviors are all written through Mick. Being the rebellious tomboy that appears externally, Mick Kelly is constantly searching for who she really is on the inside. She faces isolation from struggling to communicate this inner self to the world. In the eyes of others Mick is a rugged teenage girl with an attitude problem; who comes from a poverty­stricken family; with little hope of a bright future. However, the way other people perceive Mick is because she keeps different parts of her individuality hidden. For example,
Mick explains to Bubber that “Some things you just naturally want to keep private, not because they are bad, but because you just want them secret. There are two or three I wouldn’t want even you to know about.” (McCullers, 40) The secrets that Mick conceals could presumably be about her dreams, passions, and identity. Mick is a musical prodigy and dreams of becoming a famous composer; who would experience travel, culture, and music. Nevertheless, Mick knows that she would have to escape and transport to a better world in order for her dreams to come true. The desire to get away is evident when “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.” (McCullers, 132) The feeling of isolation is demonstrated in theses quotes because she cannot fully express herself, thereby having to keep her uniqueness a secret. In addition, it is difficult for people to understand the real Mick Kelly because she displays a tough front by being the fearless tomboy. For example, Mick is arguing with her sisters and proclaims, “That’s why I wear shorts. I’d rather be a boy any day, and I wish I could move in with Bill.” (McCullers, 42) This illustrates Mick’s isolation within her own room of sisters where she does not feel comfortable to be herself. Challenging the status quo, Mick can be

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analyzed in “Her extreme sense of human separateness took form in a young tomboy who, whether she is too young for sexual love or too odd for it, attributes her own unusedness to everyone else.” (Kazin, 345) It is made clear that the exploration of sexuality and self is a major part in Mick Kelly’s seclusion. The complete isolation of Mick Kelly is portrayed through