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Dr. Copeland tells Portia about a deaf-mute boy who is one of his patients. Portia encourages her father to write to Singer to see if he knows any institutions where the boy could go. Then Highboy and Willie arrive at the house, and Portia invites them in at Dr. Copeland's request. Everyone is awkwardly silent until Dr. Copeland asks Willie, in a sort of outburst, if Willie remembers anything Dr. Copeland taught him when he was young. Willie does not know how to reply, and his father says he feels that he has wasted his life. Everyone gets upset, then Portia, Highboy, and Willie quickly leave.

Mick Kelly, Jake Blount, Biff Brannon, and Dr. Copeland gradually become regular visitors of Mr. Singer. Then suddenly Singer leaves for two weeks without telling anyone where he is going. He goes to visit Antonapoulos at the asylum. Singer tells his friend about all of his guests and about how they have helped take away his loneliness a little. Antonapoulos barely responds at all. When the visit is over, Singer returns to his room at the Kellys'. Despite questioning from his guests, he does not tell them where he has been.

Analysis

Chapter 5 introduces us to Dr. Copeland, who becomes the fourth visitor of Singer. Though Dr. Copeland does not know it, his ideals are very similar to those of Jake Blount, the only difference being that Dr. Copeland's desire for justice is racially, rather than economically, motivated. However, both Blount and Copeland share a passion for justice and a sense of frustration with the ignorance of those around them. Dr. Copeland is especially saddened by the fact that his own children cannot understand him, and that none of them have grown up and prospered as he hoped. The fact that Dr. Copeland's son Karl Marx goes by the nickname "Buddy" symbolizes the obliviousness Dr. Copeland sees in his fellow black people—most of them do not even know who Karl Marx is, let alone know the significance of the name.

Dr. Copeland has taken the path of peaceful resistance in his mission to educate people, but because he is not sure anyone listens to his words, he feels he has had no lasting effect, which often makes him feel depressed. Dr. Copeland feels such depression when Portia tells him about the con artist B.F. Mason: whereas Portia sees the event merely as a pity because Willie gave money to a scam artist, Dr. Copeland sees it as a wider indication of his view that black people accept their lot in life rather than strive to change it through education. By remaining ignorant, Dr. Copeland says, the black race crucifies itself repeatedly, which is painful for him to watch because he feels such a deep love for and obligation to his people.

We learn that Dr. Copeland deeply loved his wife, Daisy, but they eventually became estranged from each other, largely because she did not see eye to eye with his unrelenting ideals. Dr. Copeland says that even when he told Daisy all of the things he thought about—all of his ambitions and all the injustice he noticed—she did not cease to be a gentle, accepting person. Because she was a peaceful, religious person, the injustices of the black people did not make her as bitter or as upset as he. This difference in personality became a source of frustration for him, because even his wife did not share the anguish he felt. Dr. Copeland's feelings of frustration and despair are compounded by the fact that none of his children can relate to him either. Because he cannot relate to his family, he is much like Mick Kelly—both of them are unable to successfully communicate, although Mick's interaction with her family is not destructive like Dr. Copeland's is.

McCullers implies the extent of racism in the South in the late 1930s and early 1940s in the wonder Dr. Copeland feels when Singer lights his cigarette for him. It is literally the first time Dr. Copeland—not a young man by any means—has experienced courtesy from a white man. Indeed, in the South at that time, black people were still not allowed in many public places. Dr. Copeland would not have been allowed into the New York Café, not necessarily due to prejudice on Biff Brannon's part, but because racist white patrons would likely complain. Although slavery had been abolished nearly eighty years earlier, racial prejudice was still very prevalent.