Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

by

August Wilson

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Martha Loomis (Martha Pentecost) Character Analysis

Herald Loomis’s wife, and Zonia’s mother. After Herald was captured by Joe Turner, Martha had trouble sustaining Zonia and herself financially, so she left Zonia with her own mother and traveled north, following the family’s church. After establishing herself in the north, she returned to fetch Zonia, but Herald had already come and taken the young girl. Martha then lived for a brief period in Seth and Bertha’s boarding house before moving just outside town to be near the church. When she finally sees Herald, she tries to convince him to return to Christianity, telling him that Jesus bled for him and that he can’t “just be alive”; “Life don’t mean nothing unless it got a meaning,” she says, but she’s unable to convince her husband.

Martha Loomis (Martha Pentecost) Quotes in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

The Joe Turner’s Come and Gone quotes below are all either spoken by Martha Loomis (Martha Pentecost) or refer to Martha Loomis (Martha Pentecost). 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:
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone published in 1988.
Act One: Scene One Quotes

(LOOMIS slashes himself across the chest. He rubs the blood over his face and comes to a realization.)
I’m standing! I’m standing. My legs stood up! I’m standing now!
(Having found his song, the song of self-sufficiency, fully resurrected, cleansed and given breath, free from any encumbrance other than the workings of his own heart and the bonds of the flesh, having accepted the responsibility for his own presence in the world, he is free to soar above the environs that weighed and pushed his spirit into terrifying contractions.)

Related Characters: Herald Loomis (speaker), Martha Loomis (Martha Pentecost)
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
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Martha Loomis (Martha Pentecost) Character Timeline in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

The timeline below shows where the character Martha Loomis (Martha Pentecost) appears in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One: Scene One
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
...way we go.” He goes on to reveal that he’s looking for a woman named Martha Loomis—his wife. Seth says he knows several Marthas, but nobody with the last name Loomis,... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
...traveling…coming over from Ohio. Say he a deacon in the church. Say he looking for Martha Pentecost. Talking about that’s his wife.” Although Herald claims to be looking for a Martha... (full context)
Act One: Scene Two
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
...outside town, a fact that only contributes to his mysterious aspect. Seth reminds Bertha that Martha—whom he’s now sure is Loomis’s wife—stayed in the boarding house for a little while before... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
...tells him Herald’s upstairs, and Bynum remarks that Herald’s going to hire Selig to find Martha. “Selig can’t find her,” Seth says. “He talk all that…but unless he get lucky and... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
...While Selig pays Seth for the dustpans, Herald comes downstairs and asks him to find Martha. Paying him a dollar, he describes his wife, explaining that the last time he saw... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
Selig tells Herald there’s no guarantee he’ll find be able to find Martha. Nonetheless, he assures his client of his expertise, saying, “My great-granddaddy used to bring Nigras... (full context)
Act Two: Scene Two
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Spirituality Theme Icon
...point he went back to the place he and his family had been sharecropping, but Martha and Zonia were gone. When he went to Martha’s mother’s house, he discovered that Martha... (full context)
Act Two: Scene Five
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
...is standing on the corner, just watching the house. At that moment, Selig appears with Martha Loomis (also known as Martha Pentecost), who’s dressed “as befitting a member of an Evangelist... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Herald accuses Martha of leaving his daughter “motherless in the world,” but Martha insists she never intended to... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
Herald’s disappearance was so painful, Martha explains, that she had to tell herself he’d died. “Even if you weren’t,” she says,... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Herald listens to Martha’s explanation and says he’s been waiting years to see her face to say his goodbye.... (full context)
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Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
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Martha comforts Zonia and turns to Bynum, thanking him. Seeing this, Herald erupts. “It was you!”... (full context)
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Spirituality Theme Icon
...he can “stand up and sing” his song, he’ll finally be free. At this point, Martha implores Herald to get ahold of himself, pointing out his apparent savagery. “You gone over... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Spirituality Theme Icon
...need anybody to bleed for him, since he can do so for himself. In response, Martha says, “You got to be something, Herald! You just can’t be alive. Life don’t mean... (full context)
Migration and Transience Theme Icon
Racism in Post-Slavery America Theme Icon
Identity Theme Icon
Spirituality Theme Icon
...own struggles, Loomis says the fateful words he’s been waiting to utter for years: “Goodbye, Martha.” Having said this, he turns and makes his exit, and as Mattie runs to join... (full context)