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MonkeyNotes-The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
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Chapter 13

Jake and Singer arrive at Doctor Copelandís house. Portia invites them into the kitchen and introduces Jake to Willie, who is lying on a mattress on the floor. Beside him is his brother Buddy, Marshall Nichols, and John Roberts, the latter two men are Doctor Copelandís contemporaries and leading citizens of the African- American community in the city. Jake tries to get Willie to tell the story of what happened to him. Willie is obsessed with what has happened to his feet. He feels phantom pains and thinks he would feel better if he could have his feet back. He reluctantly tells Jake the story of what caused the prison guards to torture him and his fellow prisoners. Buster Johnson had said something and a guard had beaten him severely with a stick. While the beating was taking place, another man and Willie tried to run away. They were caught and taken back and tied up. Jake doesnít want to hear about the torture. He tells Willie he wants the names of the other men and the names of the prison guards. Willie says he thinks Jake is trying to get him into trouble and Jake is shocked that Willie thinks he could be in worse trouble than he is already. Willie says the other men are not his friends. Portia explains that during the three days of the torture, Willie and the others had quarreled and now donít speak. Doctor Copeland has been upset by this. He wants to get all three of the men together to live with him.

Jake feels queasy and strange in the room. He feels isolated as he sits there. He hears that Doctor Copeland is in the front room in bed sick. They tell him he has had an accident. Lancy and Highboy come in with some wine and sweet bread. Jake tries to talk to John Roberts and Marshall Nichols. Marshall Nichols urges amelioration, saying they must work on amicable relations with white people and do nothing to hurt the relations that exist at the moment. He uses such formal speech that Jake urges him to talk plainly so he can understand him. Finally, Jake leaves the room and goes into the front room where Doctor Copeland is lying in bed.


Doctor Copeland tells him to leave immediately because he is a white man and a stranger, but Jake refuses to leave. He stays and talks to Doctor Copeland all night long even though the doctor is deathly ill with consumption and the beating he received at the hands of the law enforcement officers. Jake argues for economic justice and Doctor Copeland agrees with him, but urges him to take the special case of African Americans into account. Jake continually forgets the question of racism as he works out his theories of class. The men argue back and forth often coming to high tension. At one point, Doctor Copeland asks Jake if he believes "in the struggle of my people for their human rights." Jakeís eyes suddenly fill with tears and he feels a rush of love. He agrees that he does believe this. The moment passes, though, when Jake pushes his own solution to the problem--to tell people the truth by means of something like a chain letter. Doctor Copeland scorns this idea and says he wants to organize a huge demonstration of African Americans to march on Washington. Jake scorns this idea in turn. Jake wants to push Willie and the other men (whom he calls boys) around in a wagon and preach to people about the evils of the southern system of economic and racial injustice. Jake thinks African Americans should wait until the question of economic justice is redressed before they get their say. Doctor Copeland reminds him that "the cotton must be picked before the cloth is made." Finally, the men have reached an impasse and Doctor Copeland calls Jake a white fiend and then collapses. Jake rushes out of the room.

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