One of the most touching aspects of this novel is the young girl Mick’s reaction to music she has never heard before, Beethoven.  She can barely pronounce his name, but she hears his music with all her senses and the ‘inside room’ of her mind, where she is able to retreat to replay the music she heard passing somebody’s house.

‘And the symphony. When she was by herself in this inside room the music she had heard that night after the party would come back to her. This symphony grew slow like a big flower in her mind. During the day sometimes, or when she had just waked up in the morning, a new part of the symphony would suddenly come to her. Then she would have to go into the inside room and listen to it many times and try to join it into the parts of the symphony she remembered. The inside room was a very private place.’

Source: Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 2008 (1940)), p. 145

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