The story is told by an unnamed narrator who lives in a four-walled apartment complex in which all the windows looked out upon an enclosed courtyard. The setting reminds me of the movie Rear Window. The narrator was a college student at the time of the story. She was and is infatuated or intrigued with the guy whose window was across from hers. She watched him. She read books, Marx, Strachey, George Soule, that she'd bought for her friend back home before she mailed them to him. There's a couple who expected a baby and were going hungry, the husband evidently lost his job. There was a cello player who annoyed everyone. The narrator recalls this place sometime later, we don't know how much later. McCullers put into words those feelings and memories one has after the fact when one ponders and wonders about the people and the setting in one's past. McCullers evoked a sense of place and of characters so realistically that one feels she was there.
"Court in the West Eighties" was written about 1934 but not published until 1971. It's a great story and I'm not capable of explaining why.