Crumbs from the Table of Joy

by

Lynn Nottage

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Crumbs from the Table of Joy can help.

Father Divine Character Analysis

Father Divine was the leader and founder of the Peace Mission Movement, a real-life religious movement that reached its prominence in the mid-20th century. Father Divine claimed that he was God and sang the virtues of celibacy, which is partially why the Peace Mission Movement only had 19 remaining members as of 2015 (since its members can’t procreate). While the movement was—by most measures—a cult, it’s worth noting that Father Divine was a strong advocate for the civil rights movement and structured his teachings around the idea of racial equality. It’s somewhat ironic, then, that Godfrey doesn’t want Lily to teach his daughters her progressive and communist ideas about equality, considering that Godfrey himself covets the teachings of the Peace Mission Movement, which was officially aligned with the Communist Party at one point and was so concerned with issues of racial equality.

Father Divine Quotes in Crumbs from the Table of Joy

The Crumbs from the Table of Joy quotes below are all either spoken by Father Divine or refer to Father Divine. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
).
Prologue Quotes

Father Divine…. Ever since Mommy passed on, he stands between us and our enjoyment. Daddy discovered Father Divine when he was searching to cure “the ailments of the heart,” those terrible fits of mourning that set in. (Godfrey begins to weep, loudly.) Father Divine, the great provider, sent his blessing via mail. And shortly there after Daddy was cured.

Related Characters: Ernestine Crump (speaker), Godfrey Crump, Father Divine
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

ERNESTINE. […] Divine was God, and God was liable do as he pleased, but you see Daddy was just a poor colored man — (Godfrey looks up from his newspaper.)

GODFREY. (With Ernestine.) from Pensacola, and I gone out my way to keep trouble a few arms lengths ’way. I don’ want to wind up like them Scottsboro boys, but you wouldn’t remember. (Godfrey speaks, Ernestine mouths the words:) Terrible mess, terrible mess.

Related Characters: Ernestine Crump (speaker), Godfrey Crump (speaker), Ermina Crump, Father Divine
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1, Scene 1 Quotes

GODFREY. You graduating? (Ernestine nods. Godfrey breaks into a smile.) Nah…. A first. You really gonna graduate? You’re gonna be a high school graduate like Percy Duncan, Roberta Miles, Sarah Dickerson, Elmore Sinclair, Chappy Phillips and Ernestine Clump. (Ernestine bashful covers her face.)

ERNESTINE. Not quite yet!

GODFREY. Why didn’t you say something?

ERNESTINE. Didn’t I? (A moment. Godfrey embarrassed takes out his note pad.)

GODFREY. … The New Day come?

Related Characters: Ernestine Crump (speaker), Godfrey Crump (speaker), Ermina Crump, Father Divine
Related Symbols: The Graduation Dress, The Notepad
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

GODFREY. (Flabbergasted.) We’re now part of his flock, we’re capable of entering the Kingdom. (Godfrey, still in the heavenly daze, reaches into his wallet and counts out his money.) This is just about the best news I’ve heard.

Related Characters: Godfrey Crump (speaker), Ernestine Crump, Father Divine
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 1, Scene 4 Quotes

I left Florida for a reason, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, couldn’t do nothing but go to work, make my dime and drink it down on Friday night. Then I found something that gave me inspiration, gave me strength to make a change. May not be like your change, revolution! Oh but it do feel that big to me. It soothed my pain and that’s all I want right now. It took all the strength I had to take these gals on a train out their wooden doors and place ’em here in brick and concrete.

Related Characters: Godfrey Crump (speaker), Lily, Ernestine Crump, Ermina Crump, Father Divine
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

Wait! I…I still got all of these questions I wanted to ask Sweet Father. My pockets are stuffed full of paper. (The banquet table is removed leaving Godfrey sitting alone. Godfrey pulls handfuls of paper from his pocket. Ermina exits.) But, he promised and now I got to wait another year before I get the answers. Oh No! If he is the God he proclaims to be I need his answers now, I need him to help me move on.

Related Characters: Godfrey Crump (speaker), Father Divine
Related Symbols: The Notepad
Page Number: 40-1
Explanation and Analysis:
Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

You see Ernestine that’s your America. Negro sitting on his couch with blood dripping down his face. White woman unscathed and the enemy not more than five years back. You can’t bring order to this world. You can’t put up curtains and pot plants and have things change. You really thought you could marry a white woman and enter the kingdom of heaven, didn’t ya?

Related Characters: Lily (speaker), Ernestine Crump, Godfrey Crump, Gerte, Father Divine
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

GODFREY. I’ll make a note to speak to her later.

GERTE. STOP! You’ve assembled lists that run miles and miles. There’s an entire closet crowded with paper and scribbles of things you need to know, things you want to do, questions that must be answered. It would make three lifetimes to get through all of it.

[…]

GERTE. If you’d pay attention to the world around you, you wouldn’t have so many questions to ask.

Related Characters: Gerte (speaker), Godfrey Crump, Lily, Father Divine
Related Symbols: The Notepad
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Crumbs from the Table of Joy LitChart as a printable PDF.
Crumbs from the Table of Joy PDF

Father Divine Character Timeline in Crumbs from the Table of Joy

The timeline below shows where the character Father Divine appears in Crumbs from the Table of Joy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
Racism and Opportunity Theme Icon
Grief, Loss, and Moving On Theme Icon
...nodding on his way in and out to a hanged photograph of a man named Father Divine . While he was gone, Ernestine and Ermina would go to school, where the other... (full context)
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
Grief, Loss, and Moving On Theme Icon
...threat of communism—except, that is, for their father, whose main concern is whether or not Father Divine has written back to him. Godfrey has been writing to Father Divine, the leader of... (full context)
Racism and Opportunity Theme Icon
...the radio, but Godfrey won’t let them. He reminds them that it’s Sunday and that Father Divine wouldn’t approve, so they beg to go upstairs to visit their neighbors, an elderly Jewish... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 1
Grief, Loss, and Moving On Theme Icon
As Ermina sorts through the mail one day, Godfrey impatiently asks if Father Divine has finally responded to him. But Ermina is more interested in a square of fabric... (full context)
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
Racism and Opportunity Theme Icon
Ermina continues sorting through the mail and comes across a letter from Father Divine . Godfrey is overjoyed, eagerly opening the envelope but then passing it to Ernestine, who... (full context)
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
In his letter, Father Divine decides to give Godfrey and his daughters new names. Henceforth, Godfrey will no longer be... (full context)
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
Grief, Loss, and Moving On Theme Icon
Godfrey is elated by Father Divine ’s letter, but Ermina doesn’t like the sound of her new name. She wonders how... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
Critical Thinking and Open-Mindedness Theme Icon
...that this is no joke: Godfrey has become very religious. She notes the picture of Father Divine on the wall and puts the pieces together, asking if Divine is still preaching and... (full context)
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
Grief, Loss, and Moving On Theme Icon
...he’s writing, and he explains that he’s just jotting down questions he wants to ask Father Divine when he comes to New York for the Holy Communion. (full context)
Act 1, Scene 4
Critical Thinking and Open-Mindedness Theme Icon
...the family prepares to visit the Peace Mission to make sure everything is ready for Father Divine ’s upcoming visit. Ermina is in the living room when Lily bursts into the apartment... (full context)
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
...with them, then, she has to respect the rules of the house, which means respecting Father Divine . (full context)
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
Godfrey explains that before he devoted himself to Father Divine , all he could do was drink and wallow in sorrow. But following Father Divine’s... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
Racism and Opportunity Theme Icon
Critical Thinking and Open-Mindedness Theme Icon
...the Holy Communion Banquet at the Peace Mission, where Godfrey will finally get to ask Father Divine his questions. Dressed all in white, Ernestine addresses the audience and talks about how she... (full context)
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
Critical Thinking and Open-Mindedness Theme Icon
...preparing for the banquet. Godfrey is busy trying to decide which question he should ask Father Divine first, but Gerte is more preoccupied with how much food has been laid out on... (full context)
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
Grief, Loss, and Moving On Theme Icon
Ermina asks why, if Father Divine is God, he can’t just fly to the banquet. But Godfrey ignores her, simply saying... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Critical Thinking and Open-Mindedness Theme Icon
...like to be with a man who refuses to touch her. Gerte loyally explains that Father Divine doesn’t approve of marital sex. (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
Racism and Opportunity Theme Icon
Critical Thinking and Open-Mindedness Theme Icon
...Godfrey tells her not to say such things, but Lily defends her niece, suggesting that Father Divine inspired Godfrey to marry a white woman without urging him to consider the real-world consequences.... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 4
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
Grief, Loss, and Moving On Theme Icon
...the living room. As she does so, she reads the questions Godfrey wrote down for Father Divine , which largely implore Father Divine to give him guidance—he came to New York with... (full context)