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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 3 Summary

  • As time goes on, Copeland grows closer to Singer. He decides that Singer is Jewish and totally gets what it means to be oppressed.
  • It's winter now and Copeland is really busy treating the flu and other illnesses.
  • Portia shows up unexpectedly one day with awful news: Willie has been arrested. He went to a, um, den of iniquity called Madame Reba's Palace of Sweet Pleasure. Yeah. Highboy was there, too.
  • Portia starts to describe the joint and Copeland hilariously interrupts her and begs her to stop.
  • Anyway, Willie got into a fight with some guy named Junebug over a prostitute named Love Jones, which ended when Willie slashed Junebug with a razor. Junebug is alive, but Willie has been arrested for assault.
  • Doctor Copeland is beyond horrified. He even coughs up some blood, though we don't think that was due to the horror.
  • Portia tries to get a letter writing campaign started to help Willie. Biff writes a letter on his behalf and Copeland hires a lawyer.
  • In the end, it does no good at all – Willie is sentenced to nine months hard labor in north Georgia.
  • Copeland continues his work, but he is increasingly ill – he has tuberculosis (which is not nearly as glamorous as movies like Moulin Rouge! make it seem).
  • He worries (for good reason) and spends most of his time talking to Singer.
  • Portia comes by to invite her dad to dinner with the family – her two brothers, Hamilton and Buddy, and Grandpapa are coming to town. Copeland hasn't seen many of them for years.
  • Hamilton works on the farm with Grandpapa while Buddy has a job in Mobile, Alabama. Buddy's birth name was Karl Marx (thanks, Dad), but he changed it because of the stigma surrounding communists.
  • Before the dinner, Copeland gives us a helpful flashback about how his marriage with Daisy broke up and how his relationships with his kids are really strained.
  • As we heard about before, it was pretty much all Copeland's fault for being a total control freak. Though Daisy herself was super stubborn, too. (Not a match made in heaven there.)
  • Dinner is super awkward: Copeland is definitely not a hit in social situations.
  • Portia reads from the Bible, and Grandpapa preaches for a while, but all this upsets Copeland because he doesn't agree with Christianity.
  • (By the way, there are some young kids at dinner who are presumably Hamilton's or Buddy's children.)
  • Copeland gets even more upset when Grandpapa expresses his wish that Jesus will turn them all white (as a way to cure all their troubles) when he returns for the apocalypse. Yikes.
  • Grandpapa then asks Copeland for some medical advice, but Copeland is in too bad of a mood to be all that helpful.
  • After a tense meal, Copeland leaves and heads to Singer's.
  • On his way, he bumps in to Jake and notices that Jake looks like he's "mad" or insane.

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