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A Humanistic Psychoanalysis of the Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Author LiMin
Tutor LiuXinHui
School Lanzhou University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter humanistic psychoanalysis loneliness confiding love
CLC I712.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, a novel about a group of isolated people suffering from loneliness in a small town in the American South, has been highly regarded since it was published in1940. Loneliness is the theme in nearly all Carson McCullers’ works and is an enduring sentiment of the human race. Why are people so lonely? Erich Fromm’s theory of humanistic psychoanalysis can help us explore the question. Using Erich Fromm’s theory, the author of this thesis has explored the origin of human loneliness via analysis of the inherent conflicts of human existence and the spiritual needs of human beings to achieve a reasonable relief for those experiencing loneliness.First of all, the thesis discusses the origin of loneliness from two aspects:the inherent conflicts of human existence and the living environment. Inherent conflicts include contradictions between death and birth, spiritual needs and physical needs, the realization of potential abilities and the restriction of human life, and individualization and socialization. The living environment includes great poverty, social prejudice and faith crisis. Then the relationship between the needs of human beings including relatedness, transcendence, and sense of identity and loneliness is investigated. In the end, confiding and true love among people are identified as efficient methods to break out of loneliness.Based on the above perspective, the author of this thesis concludes that The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter inspires readers to reflect on loneliness through depicting the suffering of ordinary people in a small town in the American South. In light of Fromm’s humanistic psychoanalysis, the author of this thesis concludes that loneliness is unavoidable, for it originates from the inherent conflicts between human beings’ actual needs and the reality of social existence. The only way to escape or relieve the suffering of loneliness is to understand the art of confiding and love.

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