“There was something of the conscience of the South in the theme and the characters in the book,” she said. “All of us seek a time and way to communicate something of the sense of loneliness and solitude that is in us – the human heart is a lonely hunter – but the search of us Southerners is more anguished. There is a special guilt in us, a seeking for something had— communicable. Southerners are the more lonely and spiritually estranged, I think, because we have lived so long in an artificial system that we insisted was natural and right and just— when all along we knew it wasn’t.”
“The fact we bolstered it with laws and developed a secular liturgy and sacraments for it is evidence of how little we believed our own deceits.”
Carson was, of course, quite right.
– from the chapter, “The Conscience of the South,” in The South and the Southerner by Ralph McGill. (McGill was writing here about meeting and talking with Carson McCullers, author of The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter.)