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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 6 Summary

  • It's the night of Doctor Copeland's annual Christmas party. His health is worsening and Portia comes by to help him get ready.
  • Portia pretty much only talks about Willie and how worried she is about him.
  • Copeland, meanwhile, is reading essays; a pharmacist friend of his holds an essay contest for local black youth every year, and Copeland picks the winner.
  • This year the best essay was written by Lancy Davis, but Copeland has some reservations about making him the winner since Lancy expresses some really radical ideas: "I hate the whole white race and will work always so that the colored race can achieve revenge for all their sufferings. That is my ambition." (2.6.16)
  • Copeland understands the rage, but he sure doesn't think outright violence is the answer.
  • The guests arrive and the crowd makes Copeland feel sick.
  • He does his Scrooge routine and complains about how the donations won't do much to help the local poor at all. Portia tells him to stuff it.
  • Totally undeterred, Copeland preaches the words of Spinoza and Karl Marx to the crowd.
  • They're confused at first, but Copeland persists and gets everyone on board with his message of pride, dignity, education, community activism, and communal living.
  • Then he names Lancy the winner of the essay contest and tells him to come by next week; oh, and he won't let Lancy read his paper aloud.
  • Copeland continues his sermon, and everyone seems jazzed about the community aspects of what he says. They all yell out in agreement when Copeland talks about how much the black community suffers. But they don't fully understand his Marxist ideas.
  • Copeland is thrilled and filled with love, but he also hesitates at their reaction.
  • After the party, he looks over his medical files and gets depressed at his worsening health. This is when being a doctor isn't super fun.

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