What is the significance of Mozart in the novel The Heart is A Lonely Hunter?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Mozart is especially significant as the composer of fugues, for in McCullers's novel the fugue acts as the objective correlative of the five voices of the characters Mick Kelley, Jake Blount, Dr. Copeland, Biff Brannon, and John Singer, the silent "voice," that all act as contrapuntal voices of the theme of spiritual isolation. 

Interestingly, like her protagonist Mick, Carson McCullers loved music and dreamed of being a composer herself. Reportedly, she once compared her novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter to a fugue, which is contrapuntal. That is, this musical composition starts with a single "voice" that expresses a motif, then other distinct voices enter and restate the motif. While each voice is distinctive, all the voices together enhance and define the motif. Also, like the motif of a fugue, Singer's love for Antonapoulos runs throughout the narrative of the novel.

In addition, music becomes associated with love for Mick. “Nothing is as good as music,” she observes. Moreover, she feels that the musical compositions of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are “the softest and saddest thing[s] she had ever imagined about.” For, as she matures, music becomes associated in her mind with carnal experiences and her maturation into adulthood.

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