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MonkeyNotes-The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
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PART 3

Chapter 1

Doctor Copeland sits in his empty kitchen resisting Portia’s urgings that he get up and leave. His house has been emptied of furniture and he is expected to go and live on the farm with Grandpa and the rest of the family. As he sits in the kitchen, he thinks of all the thinkers he admires, Jesus, John Brown, Spinoza, and Marx. He also thinks of Singer, whose death is unfathomable to him. He thinks of Singer as a "righteous white man of understanding." He cannot get up to leave because he feels as if he has left so much undone. He thinks of when he first came to the house with Daisy when they first got married. He had tried to be disciplined in his studies, but he was so in love with her that he often neglected his books. He thinks of how he has known the truth all his life and how he has always led such a purposeful existence in the pursuit of convincing others of that truth.

Portia comes back in and scolds him for making everyone wait so long for him. He tells her he doesn’t want to leave, that she coerced him into agreeing to go when he was at his weakest. Portia reminds him that he has no money to stay in town. His house will go back to the bank, he would have to live with her where she cannot properly take care of him, and they would not have enough money for food. He argues with her and then apologizes and cries as she describes the glories of the farm. He tells her he feels as if he has failed. As he sits rocking, Portia muses on the huge funeral that was held for Mr. Singer. The description returns Doctor Copeland to thoughts of Mr. Singer. He had trusted Singer more than any other white man and he cannot get over the suicide.

Finally, he gets up from the chair and leaves the house. They walk slowly out to the car and wagon loaded with his things. He climbs onto the back of the wagon. Grandpa talks to him as they ride away. He say he has always liked the idea of having a scholar in the family and that he can forgive many things of a scholar. He tells him he will like having a doctor around also and begins to describe an ailment in his right foot. Doctor Copeland agrees to see to it. Then Grandpa says that after all the struggling on earth, everyone will have their reward in heaven. Doctor Copeland feels his old anger rising and says he believes in justice in the here and now.


Notes

Part three begins with Doctor Copeland being taken almost against his will to Grandpa’s farm to recover from his tuberculosis, but probably to live his final days. This resolution to his life is interesting for several reasons. He will be living with people with whom he has been estranged for years not only because of his abusive treatment of his late wife Daisy, but also for ideological reason. Grandpa and the family who live with him are all strong believers in Christianity and this belief system makes very little allowance for political resistance against racist discrimination and oppression. They are also uneducated people and Doctor Copeland is highly educated. Yet, the possible saving grace is that Grandpa is so tolerant. He is one man with whom Doctor Copeland will have a hard time drawing into a quarrel. This reconciliation, then, ends Doctor Copeland’s place in the novel. A man who wanted all his life to lead his people to freedom, self-determination, and dignity, will now simply be living among them as one of them.

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