The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is set in the 1930's in a southern cotton mill town where non-conformity is dangerous and lonely. This book focuses on those who become outcasts because of racial, physcial, political and other types of prejudices. One of the more marginalized groups are teen girls. This is quite likely why the author chose one of the protagonists to be Mick, a young adolescent girl who loves to wear shorts and tennis shoes instead of dresses and lace. *good discussion point....what other marginalized groups could the author have chosen?
Many of the themes and messages that come from a reading of this book is the juxtaposition of 'strength' and 'weakness' and how many who seem the weakest are the strongest and vice versa. ** What and who are the characters you feel have the greatest strength. Who is the weakest?
Of course, another theme is that of coming of age. Dr. Copeland, Jake Biff all don't fit in with others. Their differences leave them all searching for themselves and as such have their own 'coming of age moments' as does Mick. *How does the book's title (Heart is a Lonely Hunter) figure in to this 'search for self' theme?
In the end, one can state that the title, itself, shares the greatest theme in a simple truth: everyone wants to be wanted, needed, and loved.