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MonkeyNotes-The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
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Chapter 6

Dr. Copeland always has a Christmas party and invites the entire community to come. He distributes gifts to everyone, gathered from community members, and he judges essays for an annual essay prize. This year, the essay topic concerns bettering the African-American community. He is disappointed with all the essays and disturbed by one of them. He is interrupted in his thoughts by Portia who has been despondent and very worried because Willie has not written to her for three days when in the past, his letters have always been exactly on time.

Dr. Copeland urges her to stop worrying and he goes back to the essays. He reads Lancy Davis’s essay. Lancy wants to be like Moses and lead his people to freedom. He wants to prepare them for a revolt against the European-American people who run the country. He wants African Americans to take the land east of the Mississippi river and south of the Potomac river. He will not let any white people enter the territory and if they do enter, they will have no legal rights. He ends his essay affirming his hatred of the "whole white race" and his determination to work to revenge African Americans.

Doctor Copeland thinks of the other essays. Many of them opened with the affirmation that they did not want to be a servant. He is disturbed by Lancy’s essay. He remembers when Lancy’s sister was sent out as a domestic servant at the age of eleven and was raped by her white employer. A year later, Dr. Copeland was called on an emergency to Lancy’s house and found that Lancy had tried to emasculate himself. He was thirteen at the time. Portia comes in and urges him to decide on the contest winner so he can help her with the gifts to be distributed later. When he gets to the kitchen, he finds a pile of broken and useless gifts that very poor people have contributed. He tells Portia to save them, but to put them away to be dealt with later. He tells Portia that Mr. Singer contributed a check for twelve dollars. He tells her Mr. Singer is not like other people of the "Caucasian race."


People start to arrive. After all the greetings, Dr. Copeland gives a speech. He begins with a description of Karl Marx and his writings. He says that "for every rich man, there were a thousand poor people who worked for this rich man to make him richer." He adds that Marx didn’t divide the world into races, but saw that class was a more significant social division. The people listen excitedly to what he is saying. As he speaks, Dr. Copeland feels faint from his fever and his exhaustion. He describes with clarity the idea of labor value and exploitation of labor. He urges people not to hate poor white people since hatred is a great evil. He calls on everyone to see their common lot with other poor people. Then he explains the special problems they face as an oppressed ethnic group. He announces the winner of the award as Lancy Davis. Lancy comes forward and asks if he should read his essay. Dr. Copeland tells him he shouldn’t but that he should come to see him later that week. Dr. Copeland then discusses the running theme in most of the essays that the person does not want to be a servant. He tells his audience that people are not allowed to be true servants. They are forced to work for white people doing useless tasks, never able to serve others in a true spirit of dedication, doing valuable work. The people call out to him "Hallelujah! Save us Lord!" and he calls on them to save themselves with dignity and pride.

He feels joyous that the people seem to have understood and affirmed what he was telling them. When they all leave, he goes through the house to clean it. He gets to his office and finds his own file out on his desk. It describes the history of his tuberculosis and the unsure diagnosis. He feels rage return to him. After a while, he goes back to the kitchen where Portia is cleaning dishes. She is slumped over. He sternly tells her to stand up straight. She tells him she has a terrible feeling about what has happened to Willie. He leaves the house to go on his rounds. As he drives down the street, "his heart turned with this angry, restless love."

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