Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
Here, we are introduced to the last of the major characters of the novel, the last lonely heart. He is Doctor Benedict Mady Copeland, Portiaís father. He is very much like Jake Blount in the sense that he has a fixed idea of what to do to make the world a better place and wants very much to communicate it, but is unable to connect with people to do so. He thinks of people as instruments of his ideas and has been left alone with his ideas as a result. Unlike Jake Blount, whose ideas center around economic injustice, Doctor Copelandís ideas center around racial injustice in the U.S.
McCullers handles the African-American characters in her novel with great subtly which probably comes from that fact that she was raised in large part by an African-American housekeeper. However, she reveals her position as a Southern European- American woman conditioned in color ideology when she describes Doctor Copeland in racialized terms as in the following "his heavy lips looked almost purple against his black skin, and his gray hair, tight against his skull lie a cap of lambís wool, took on a bluish color also." She also describes the near insanity of Doctor Copeland in racialized terms as a "black, terrible, Negro feeling." These lapses into racism should be recognized by the reader and taken into account along with the general sense that Carson McCullers attempted in this novel to bring together a whole picture of a small Southern town, placing at center stage people who were usually relegated to the periphery of European-American novels-- young girls, old men, and African-American people.