Word Porn Courtesy of Carson McCullers + Some Commentary on my Own Anxieties

“The whole world was this symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen”

Every once in a while, I’ll be reading a book only to come across a quote that I find to be unbelievably beautiful. The quote speaks to me; I deeply identify with it in some way.

I am currently reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. I picked it up at the used book sale on campus last semester and was eager to start reading it. I’m not even halfway through the book, so I don’t have a fully formed opinion of it yet. I’m not sure how to describe my experience with it so far; I guess the proper word would be memorizing. There’s something about it, I’m not quite sure what. Perhaps I’ll be able to better articulate my feelings about this book once I’m finished with it.

Earlier today, I was reading a bit of The Heart when I came across the above quote in bold and italics; it stopped me in my tracks. I reread the sentence multiple times. I was awestruck.

“The whole world was this symphony, and there was not enough of her to listen”

With my thumb in the page, I went to go write it down. I didn’t want to forget it. Not only that, but I wanted to let everyone else know how beautiful it was too, and only hope they’d appreciate it too.

Recently I’ve been having a lot of anxiety about all the people. There are over seven billion people in this world and that number terrifies me. For some reason, thinking of all these people whom I will never know, living their own lives and doing their own thing, freaks me out. I’m not quite sure why this fear manifested–I mean, I have a touch of social anxiety, yes, but this isn’t even about being afraid of people. It’s more so about an extreme apprehension that there are so many people;I’ll never meet all of them and I’ll never know what most of their lives are like. It’s really difficult to articulate this anxiety into words…I don’t really understand it myself and it is a relatively new anxiety for me.

Anywho, this quote from A Heart is a Lonely Hunter really resonates with me because I believe it represents this fear of mine rather well. I’m taking the quote a bit out of context to meet my own needs, but I think it works for what I’m trying to articulate. I feel as if I want so badly to understand this world and this thing called humanity, but I’m just not capable of that as one human being. Really, I don’t know if such an understanding will ever be reached because it’s all so complex; it sure as hell isn’t enough for me to reach as one human being.

I’m trying so hard to listen to and understand this symphony that is life, but there isn’t enough of me to succeed in that endeavor. There isn’t enough of anybody to succeed in that endeavor because we are only human.

I really wasn’t intending for this post to get so deep, but I’m glad to get that out there. I read for so many different reason–escape, adventure, a good story; more recently, I’ve been reading to contemplate, to understand, to question. I don’t know if it’s because I’m 21 and have a whole life ahead of me and am confused about it all, or if I should blame Michael Lackey, a UMM English professor who started me thinking about, well, everything in a much deeper way; regardless, I’ve been pretty philosophical of late–more internally than anything else, as I generally don’t discuss my philosophical musings with others. I yearn to read novels that allow me to question the world and everything in it. So, you might imagine why I was drawn to The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. A title like that screams philosophical musings left and right in novel form and, well, philosophical musing have been just up my alley of late.

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3 Replies to “Word Porn Courtesy of Carson McCullers + Some Commentary on my Own Anxieties”

    1. I’m a little over half way through it right now and am really enjoying it. It’s different and thought-provoking and beautiful in many ways. I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes.

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