Crumbs from the Table of Joy


Lynn Nottage

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Crumbs from the Table of Joy: Act 1, Scene 5 Summary & Analysis

Godfrey disappears for days on end. He rides the subway while he’s away, hardly looking up at his surroundings. At one point, a German woman named Gerte asks him for help, wanting to know if she’s in the Bronx. He’s wary of her, since she’s white, but he eventually gives her some help. She has the address of somebody in New Orleans and wants to know if it’s very far away, so he tells her that it’s quite far. Still, he asks if she’s trying to get him in trouble, explaining that he’s not “like those adventurous colored fellas.” She doesn’t understand what he means, and soon enough he realizes that she’s just hungry and lost, so he offers to bring her to the Peace Mission.
Godfrey thinks Gerte assumes he wants to flirt or sleep with her because she’s white, which is why he tells her that he’s not “like those adventurous colored fellas”—meaning that he wouldn’t take the risk of courting a white woman in public, which could put him in danger of attracting racist aggression. Again, his earlier mention of the Scottsboro Boys—who were falsely accused of raping a white woman—sheds light on his tendency to exercise caution when it comes to how he conducts himself in the racist context of American society. He understands that it’s all too easy to become the victim of racist hate, so he tries to keep his distance from any situation that might put him in danger.
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