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In chapter three, McCullers introduces Mick Kellyís private life. Mick Kelly is the figure of the artist in the story, a sort of stand in for McCullers herself, except that Mickís mode is music not words. McCullers describes in compelling detail the difficulties of being an artist for a poor girl in the South. Mick wants a piano, an expense her parents clearly will never be able to afford. She doesnít even have a radio to listen to the music she loves. She has no training in music either. Her love of the art comes from within and she has no means of expressing it. Her attempt to make a violin out of a broken ukulele reveals both her naiveté as a child and the great odds against her ever having the chance to express herself in music.
Mick also loves Mr. Singer. Like others in the novel, she sees what she wants to see in Mr. Singer. In her case, it is that he hears a special kind of music because he is deaf. She sits outside his room waiting for him to notice her, hoping he will invite her inside. When he glances at her and nods, she builds up the gesture as an affirmation of her existence. It is clear that Mick is one of the lonely people of the novelís title.
Portia, the hired housekeeper, seems to be a sort of mother substitute for Mick and the other younger children. The constructions of race come up obliquely. Mick is skeptical that Portiaís father could be a doctor since she has no experience with educated African Americans. She thinks of Portia as "niggery" but okay. Portia, for her own part, seems to be a woman who has put all her hopes and dreams into her church and her family. She talks to the children as she works and therefore seems to be the only adult influence on their lives. She advises Mick to find someone to love she so can get some sense of rootedness in her life. As Mick leaves her, she thinks over all the people she has passionately loved. The present one is Mr. Singer.