After the police carry Blount back into the café, Singer writes on a piece of paper that Blount can come home with him, and that they should give him some soup and coffee first. Blount is sobbing and holding his hand over his mouth so that Biff and Singer will not see his lips trembling. Singer and Blount set off, and Biff goes upstairs and gets into bed.

Analysis

The second chapter introduces us to Biff Brannon. He is obviously a person who thinks a great deal about many different things, and is especially intrigued by Jake Blount, simply because the man is so bizarre. Biff is also very interested in Mick Kelly; his feelings about her appear to oscillate between attraction and fatherly adoration. As the novel progresses, Blount, Mick, and Biff all become drawn to Singer; in this chapter, Blount first begins to talk to the mute. Blount feels that Singer "knows" something—something that Blount himself also knows but that almost everyone else fails to understand. Although what it is that Jake knows is not revealed until later, it is clear even now that Jake does not feel the slightest need to tell Singer, as he is so certain that the mute shares his knowledge. Indeed, Blount is so intent on talking to Singer that he fails to even notice, until his second or third encounter with Singer, that the man is mute.

Once Blount finds his confidant, he is upset when Singer leaves. He has a fit and hurts himself. This outburst demonstrates Blount's inner torment: even words fail to express the anger he feels inside him. However, because Blount feels that Singer understands all of the same things that he does, he is soothed by the knowledge that he is not alone. Just as Singer does not need reciprocation from Antonapoulos to be happy with the friendship with him, Jake does not need Singer to reply to feel that their conversations are meaningful.

Biff and Alice's marriage is obviously argumentative and unhappy; it is no wonder that Biff is searching for some sort of solace. However, throughout the novel we never once witness an encounter solely between Singer and Biff—even when Biff goes to visit Singer at the Kellys' later in the story, Singer reports that Biff never has much to say. Unlike all the other characters who seek out Singer, Biff is more interested in understanding than he is in being understood.

Some critics have called Singer a Christ figure through whom each of the other main characters searches for redemption. Indeed, although Singer is himself a victim of circumstances beyond his own personal control, he is also a redeemer of the four characters who come into contact with him. This contemporary hero- victim is reminiscent of Christ's role in the Bible. This concept of Christ in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is partly possible because of McCullers's rendition of love as something absolute and abstract that overrides all barriers of sex, age, time, and distance. This somewhat Platonic ideal of love is present in much of McCullers's fiction; however, in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, such love is never reciprocated or satisfying for the main characters. All attempts at redemption through such love in the novel are thwarted by other environmental factors that are beyond individual control.