The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Language and Communication Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Tonight he read Spinoza. He did not wholly understand the intricate play of ideas and the complex phrases, but as he read he sensed a strong, true purpose behind the words and he felt that he almost understood. (1.5.1)
Like Jake, Copeland also finds the physical act of speaking and the powerful impact of words fascinating. Copeland doesn't understand the meaning of the words here, but the sense he gets from them is still important. It's a lot like the sense Mick gets from music. But is there any meaning being communicated here? How can meaning come across if the reader or listener doesn't understand the words?
"It don't take words to make a quarrel," Portia said. (1.5.41)
Wise words, Portia. Seriously, maybe she should be writing for Shmoop. People do a lot of things without words in this book, not just quarreling. In fact, half the "action" in the book is completely internal and doesn't involve communicating with words at all.
The words came before Doctor Copeland knew what he would say. "I mean that to you and Hamilton and Karl Marx I gave all that was in me. [...] and I all get is blank misunderstanding and idleness and indifference. (1.5.150)
Is there anything sadder than putting your heart and soul into expressing yourself and then finding only "blank misunderstanding and idleness and indifference"? Here Copeland shows us just how frustrating communication (or attempting to communicate) can be. But we have to take his words with a grain of salt, too. He's scolding his son for keeping silent, but Copeland is often silent himself. Of course his silence is often a means of control, rather than a sign of indifference.