Event Title

The Hope in Change in Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Major

English

Faculty Mentor

Marshall B. Gentry

Abstract

Carson McCullers' premiere novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, is a largely autobiographical novel set in Columbus, Georgia, during the 1930s. Extremely well accepted at its publication in 1940, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter propelled McCullers to literary success at the early age of twenty-three. In this paper, I will discuss two of her characters, Dr. Copeland and Jake Blount, who both passionately fight against inequality but are unable to get along with each other. Although they are both advocating for the rights of those they believe are oppressedÑfor Blount, the working class, and for Dr. Copeland, the African American populationÑneither is able to detach from their single-minded pursuit to recognize others as possible allies, nor communicate well with them. Dr. Copeland ultimately fails in his pursuit of equality: by isolating himself from potential supporters, he loses the vital strength that he preaches about. I will argue that Blount, however unsuccessful in communication and addicted to alcohol, leaves the novel with a distinct sense of purposeÑwhereas Dr. Copeland fails and retreats to his family's remote farm, Blount learns from his mistakes and will carry his lessons on to his next destination.

Session Name:

Hope and Heroes: The Struggle for Self

Start Date

10-4-2015 10:15 AM

End Date

10-4-2015 11:15 AM

Location

HSB 202

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Apr 10th, 10:15 AM Apr 10th, 11:15 AM

The Hope in Change in Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

HSB 202

Carson McCullers' premiere novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, is a largely autobiographical novel set in Columbus, Georgia, during the 1930s. Extremely well accepted at its publication in 1940, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter propelled McCullers to literary success at the early age of twenty-three. In this paper, I will discuss two of her characters, Dr. Copeland and Jake Blount, who both passionately fight against inequality but are unable to get along with each other. Although they are both advocating for the rights of those they believe are oppressedÑfor Blount, the working class, and for Dr. Copeland, the African American populationÑneither is able to detach from their single-minded pursuit to recognize others as possible allies, nor communicate well with them. Dr. Copeland ultimately fails in his pursuit of equality: by isolating himself from potential supporters, he loses the vital strength that he preaches about. I will argue that Blount, however unsuccessful in communication and addicted to alcohol, leaves the novel with a distinct sense of purposeÑwhereas Dr. Copeland fails and retreats to his family's remote farm, Blount learns from his mistakes and will carry his lessons on to his next destination.