Crumbs from the Table of Joy

by

Lynn Nottage

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The Notepad Symbol Icon

The notepad Godfrey uses to write down questions symbolizes an escapist desire to look toward other people or belief systems as a way of avoiding confronting hardship head-on. Throughout the play, Godfrey frequently pauses in conversation to write something down, especially when he’s having an uncomfortable conversation. It’s eventually revealed that he’s writing down questions that he wants to ask Father Divine when he finally meets him. This might seem harmless, but it soon becomes clear that Godfrey uses this habit to run from his problems. By writing in his notepad, he delays the actual act of dealing with whatever has just come up, effectively putting himself at ease with the idea that Father Divine will eventually answer all his questions. In this way, Godfrey doesn’t actually have to deal with anything himself. But when Father Divine fails to show up at the Holy Communion Banquet, Godfrey feels lost because he realizes he still has all of these unanswered questions. He even says that he needs Father Divine’s answers in order to “move on,” making it quite clear that he has devoted himself to the Peace Mission Movement as a way of coping with the loss of his wife—a loss from which he hasn’t yet managed to “move on,” since he hasn’t actually been doing anything other than investing himself in the idea that somebody else will help him put his life back together. The notepad thus represents the dangers of investing too much faith in any single person or belief, since doing so can take away the motivation to address certain challenges on one’s own.

The Notepad Quotes in Crumbs from the Table of Joy

The Crumbs from the Table of Joy quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Notepad. 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
).
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:
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

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:
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Crumbs from the Table of Joy PDF

The Notepad Symbol Timeline in Crumbs from the Table of Joy

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Notepad appears in Crumbs from the Table of Joy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Grief, Loss, and Moving On Theme Icon
...mention this achievement, but she hints that she did. Embarrassed, Godfrey takes out a small notepad and writes something down. (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Faith, Devotion, and Hope Theme Icon
Grief, Loss, and Moving On Theme Icon
...out that this is exactly what she herself has done. Godfrey then pulls out his notepad, but Gerte stops him, saying that he spends too much time writing down questions. She... (full context)