The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

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Article in Themes and Big Read categories.

The Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, is designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture. The Big Read brings together partners from across the country to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment. JMRL invites all book lovers in Central Virginia to join The Big Read throughout March 2016. Read and discuss The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers and participate in programs about the book, its themes, and its author.

We've selected a list of books, movies, and music in the JMRL collection that will inspire further exploration and enhance your reading. There is a printable version of the adult list. Find more resources and discussion questions for this book in the Big Read Reader’s Guide.

About the Author

Works by Carson McCullers

Related Reading - Fiction

Southern Gothic and others: McCullers’ Contemporaries

Modern Southern Novels with Similar Themes

Southern Traditions - Small Towns, Race Relations, The Depression, and More

Related Reading - Nonfiction

Movies and Music

Film Adaptations of McCullers’ Work

Other Films

  • Land of Silence and Darkness (1971) – Themes of isolation and communication come to the forefront in this documentary which examines the life of Fini Straubinger, a blind and deaf woman who dedicated her life to helping others with the same affliction.
  • Mr. Holland's Opus (1995) – A musician connects with his students - and his deaf son - through music.


Books for Teens

Deaf Culture

Books for Youth

Picture Books

  • Classical Music
    • Music is for Everyone by Jill Barber - Singer, Jill Barber, celebrates different kinds of music in an energetic rhyming tour.
    • The Heroic Symphony by Anna Harwell Celenza - After learning that he is going deaf, Beethoven is determined to write a great symphony with Napoleon as inspiration.
    • The Philharmonic Gets Dressed by Karla Kuskin - The 105 members of the Philharmonic Orchestra get ready for a performance.
    • Moses Goes to a Concert by Isaac Millman - Moses and his schoolmates, all deaf, attend a concert where the orchestra's percussionist is also deaf.
    • The Cardboard Piano by Lynne Rae Perkins - When Debbie tries to interest Tina in piano by creating a cardboard keyboard, they find that they do not need to share everything to be best friends.
    • Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss - Ten instruments take their parts one by one in a musical performance.
    • 39 Apartments of Ludwig Van Beethoven by Jonah Winter - Beethoven and his five legless pianos keep having to move when his neighbors complain about the noise.

Chapter Books