Deacon King Kong

by

James McBride

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Potts Mullen Character Analysis

Potts is a middle-aged police officer who works in the Cause. Although he’s white, he’s more sensitive to the concerns of the Cause’s predominantly Black residents, and he is assigned to investigate Deems’s shooting. Potts repeatedly travels to the Cause to question Sister Gee about what’s happened. Although their conversations are official business, Potts is also attracted to Sister Gee, and by the end of the novel, the two of them strike up a romance. Unlike other police officers in the novel, Potts understands why Sister Gee would be skeptical of law enforcement, even if he thinks she is not doing the right thing by withholding information.

Potts Mullen Quotes in Deacon King Kong

The Deacon King Kong quotes below are all either spoken by Potts Mullen or refer to Potts Mullen. 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:
Substance Abuse Theme Icon
).
Chapter 9: Dirt Quotes

Sister Gee snorted. “Things got unstable ’round here four years ago when that new drug come in. This new stuff—I don’t know what they call it —you smoke it, you put it in your veins with needles . . . however you do it, once you do it a few times you is stuck with it. Never seen nothing like it around here before, and I seen a lot. This projects was safe till this new drug come in. Now the old folks is getting clubbed coming home from work every night, getting robbed outta their little payday money so these junkies can buy more of Deems’s poison. He ought to be ashamed of hisself. His grandfather would kill him if he was living.”

Related Characters: Sister Gee (speaker), Potts Mullen, Bunch Moon, Deems Clemens
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15: You Have No Idea What’s Coming Quotes

“That Christmas Club money is all we can control. We can’t stop these drug dealers from selling poison in front of our houses. Or make the city stop sending our kids to lousy schools. We can’t stop folks from blaming us for everything gone wrong in New York, or stop the army from calling our sons to Vietnam after them Vietcong done cut the white soldiers’ toenails too short to walk. But the little nickels and dimes we saved up so we can give our kids ten minutes of love at Christmastime, that’s ours to control.”

Related Characters: Sister Gee (speaker), Potts Mullen
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26: Beautiful Quotes

As the ferry pulled away from the dock and arced into New York Harbor, heading due southwest, it offered her a clear view of the redbrick Cause housing projects on one side, and the Statue of Liberty and Staten Island on the other. One side represented the certainty of the past. The other side the uncertainty of the future. She felt suddenly nervous. All she had was an address. And a letter. And a promise.

Related Characters: Sister Gee, Potts Mullen
Page Number: 367
Explanation and Analysis:
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Deacon King Kong PDF

Potts Mullen Character Timeline in Deacon King Kong

The timeline below shows where the character Potts Mullen appears in Deacon King Kong. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: Jet
Race and Power Theme Icon
Love, Hope, and Redemption Theme Icon
Jet’s superior is Kevin “Potts” Mullen, an aging Irish sergeant. Potts is fond of Jet and tells him not to... (full context)
Substance Abuse Theme Icon
...although Sportcoat manages to flee the scene by escaping to a nearby building. Jet’s partner, Potts, arrests him in an attempt to maintain Jet’s undercover status. (full context)
Chapter 9: Dirt
Race and Power Theme Icon
Community and Religion Theme Icon
...Jet has likely blown his cover, his higher-ups transfer him to Queens. Meanwhile, they put Potts in charge of the case surrounding Deems’s shooting. Potts, along with a younger member of... (full context)
Race and Power Theme Icon
Community and Religion Theme Icon
Because the young detective is rude and arrogant, Potts sends him outside and decides to perform the questioning on his own. He apologizes to... (full context)
Substance Abuse Theme Icon
As Sister Gee and Potts converse, Potts realizes that he is attracted to Sister Gee, and she seems to like... (full context)
Race and Power Theme Icon
Eventually, Potts does focus in on police business. He asks Sister Gee questions about a man named... (full context)
Race and Power Theme Icon
Still, Sister Gee does provide Potts with some new information. She tells him that Deems survived the shooting because Jet, whom... (full context)
Chapter 10: Soup
Community and Religion Theme Icon
...Hot Sausage’s name and Sportcoat’s picture. This mix-up angers Sister Gee, who now thinks that Potts will assume she lied to him. (full context)
Chapter 15: You Have No Idea What’s Coming
Substance Abuse Theme Icon
Community and Religion Theme Icon
Potts returns to the Five Ends Church for another conversation with Sister Gee. He informs her... (full context)
Substance Abuse Theme Icon
Race and Power Theme Icon
Potts insists that Sister Gee hand Sportcoat over to the police so they can protect him... (full context)
Race and Power Theme Icon
Still, Sister Gee does not help Potts find Sportcoat. This saddens Potts, who cares for Sister Gee and does not want to... (full context)
Chapter 18: Investigation
Race and Power Theme Icon
While working, Sister Gee spots Potts, who shows up with a number of other officers who have come to gather information... (full context)
Community and Religion Theme Icon
...once again confused Hot Sausage for Sportcoat. However, she doesn’t say anything about this to Potts. Additionally, Potts asks Sister Gee if he can speak to Hot Sausage’s girlfriend because he... (full context)
Chapter 21: New Dirt
Substance Abuse Theme Icon
Potts decides to pay Elefante a visit to try and gather more information about the shooting.... (full context)
Parental Figures and Masculinity  Theme Icon
Potts also tells the story of how he first met Elefante’s father, whom he has great... (full context)
Love, Hope, and Redemption Theme Icon
The conversation between Potts and Elefante turns to their respective retirements. Potts discusses his desire to retire and go... (full context)
Chapter 24: Sister Paul
Parental Figures and Masculinity  Theme Icon
...Paul was a young woman, she happened to witness the incident where Elefante’s father saved Potts’s life. According to Sister Paul, Potts ran off after the man was flattened by the... (full context)
Chapter 26: Beautiful
Community and Religion Theme Icon
Love, Hope, and Redemption Theme Icon
...being renovated during the funeral), and Elefante himself shows up for Sportcoat’s funeral, as do Potts and even Sister Paul. Included in Elefante’s renovations is a marvelous painting of a Black... (full context)
Substance Abuse Theme Icon
Community and Religion Theme Icon
Parental Figures and Masculinity  Theme Icon
Love, Hope, and Redemption Theme Icon
Elefante and Melissa are now married, and Potts is retired from the service. Meanwhile, Deems, as a result of his conversation with Sportcoat,... (full context)
Love, Hope, and Redemption Theme Icon
...after Sportcoat’s funeral, Sister Gee takes the Staten Island Ferry—something she’s never done before—to see Potts. While riding the ferry, Sister Gee tries to keep a low profile, as though someone... (full context)
Race and Power Theme Icon
Love, Hope, and Redemption Theme Icon
...uncertainty of the future. This makes her nervous, but she reassures herself by thinking about Potts. Potts is newly divorced from his wife and has a lot in common with Sister... (full context)