Lazy Afternoon Reruns: “No Lonelier Place on Earth”
As perhaps the most pitifully lonely and isolated character in Carson McCullers’ 1940 novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, the socialist-revolutionary-turned-carnival-worker Jake Blount’s most notable acts are ranting and raving for workers’ rights, often when he is drunk, sometimes violently. His ongoing frustration that working people will not look at their socio-economic situation and make moves to change it drives him to behave in ways that are unacceptable anywhere, relegating him even further to the margins of society. Standing in the midst of Southern culture, perceiving the inherent and obvious inequalities, Blount is the reformer no one will listen to— at least in part because he seems like a total nut. And it drives him into madness and despair.