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The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter


by Carson McCullers

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter Part 2: Chapter 10 Summary

  • It's February, and there's been no word from Willie for six weeks.
  • A freak heat-wave hits the town and then it turns bitterly cold again; pneumonia and the flu break out and Copeland runs himself ragged tending to patients. Meanwhile, his own health grows worse.
  • Then one morning, Portia comes to the house smelling of gin. Copeland is disgusted with her and when he asks what her problem is, she tells him what she just learned about Willie.
  • In jail, Willie, Buster Johnson, and another boy were buddies. But they pissed off a white guard, and the guard had them strung up by the feet in a cold storage room. They were left there for three days and nights.
  • When they finally let them out, the boys had gangrene. Willie lost both his feet, and Buster lost one foot. Yikes.
  • Doctor Copeland promptly goes into shock after learning that his son is crippled, so Portia takes him to the Kelly house.
  • Mick tries to help Doctor Copeland and get him some coffee.
  • She reveals the state of race relations in the town by calling him "uncle" and then by his first name – poor and uneducated as she is, Mick is white and is automatically at a higher social level than the educated and older Doctor Copeland.
  • Mick is horrified and furious when she hears about what happened to Willie. And, of course, everyone in the boarding house is upset for Portia.
  • Doctor Copeland drags himself off to work and goes through the day in a daze.
  • He then goes to the courthouse to see a judge – he wants the white guard punished somehow.
  • While he's there, some racist people at the courthouse goad Copeland. Copeland infuriates them by keeping his cool, but the deputy comes and arrests Copeland, accusing him of being drunk.
  • Doctor Copeland spends a feverish, awful night in jail.
  • Luckily, he's released the next day and goes home with his family. Still, not a great situation.

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