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The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter


by Carson McCullers

Lancy Davis

Character Analysis

Lancy is an angry young man, and not just because he got stuck with the name Lancy. (Hey, at least it's not Bubber.) He's furious because he's young and smart but also African American, which in the 1930s South made him a second-class citizen. Lancy has a lot in common with that educated crusader for social justice, Doctor Copeland. And as much as Dr. C loves the essay that Lancy wrote for the annual contest, he's not sure it's super appropriate:

There was only one essay worthy of real consideration. Yet this paper was so childish and ill-advised that it would hardly be prudent to confer upon it the award. [...]

"All colored people will organize and there will be a revolution [...] I shall set up a mighty country under the control of the Organization of Colored Leaders and Scholars. No white person will be allowed a passport – and if they get into the country they will have no legal rights." (2.6.13, 16)

Clearly, Lancy has some very radical and even violent ideas: he might have fit in perfectly in the 1960s, at the height of the Civil Rights era. As it is, he's stuck in the period before the Movement really got off the ground, and there aren't too many outlets for Lancy and his ideas.

This lack of outlets becomes horribly and ironically apparent through Lancy's death: he ends up getting killed at the Sunny Dixie Show during a riot. It's a seemingly pointless end for precocious and passionate kid.