The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
How we cite our quotes:
"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)
Lancy's conclusion to his essay totally unnerves Copeland. Lancy may have justifiable rage, but he's also perpetuating cycles of violence in the community. Many black characters in the novel face similar tough choices. They deserve equality, but how far are they willing to go to get it?
"Attention!" he called. "We will save ourselves. But not by prayers of mourning. Not by indolence or strong drink. Not by the pleasures of the body or by ignorance. Not by submission and humbleness. But by pride. By dignity. By becoming hard and strong." (2.6.85)
Copeland's run-down of what he doesn't want the black community to do reveals a lot about how he sees them. He sees drinking, sex and submission as common behaviors among the black community that are getting in the way of their saving themselves.
"It were something to do with the way this here white guard picked on them all the time. They were out on roadwork one day and Buster he sassed back and then the other boy he try to run off in the woods. They taken all three of them. They taken all three of them up to the camp and put them in this here ice-cold room." (2.10.21)
In a novel that often avoids talking about racial violence directly, the lead-up to Willie's being physically abused and tortured is a chilling reminder that racism has a violent, lethal side to it. It's about much more than skin color; lives are on the line.