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This chapter is devoted to Jake Blount. McCullers uses Blount as a sort of measure of the town’s temperature. As he gets more and more restless, so does the town. Working in the Sunny Dixie park, he sees that people are fighting more often, often with racist overtones. McCullers is building up to a sort of communal climax. Unlike a traditional novel where one character’s development is traced, here, the whole community is represented by the several central characters. Poverty and racism are the main antagonists here. The reader perhaps expects a riot of some sort.
On the personal level, Jake Blount seems to be losing his ability to cope with his mental illness. He finds Singer to be his only hope. Jake’s madness seems to function in the novel as a symptom of a crazy-making society. The major characters who have thus far been isolated, will perhaps come together around the horrifying mutilation of Willie Copeland.