Crumbs from the Table of Joy

by Lynn Nottage

Start Free Trial

How do the Crump family members' reactions to Father Divine in Crumbs from the Table of Joy differ and why? What is his overall impact on them?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Father Divine was a real person, and the way he is portrayed in Crumbs from the Table of Joy is very similar to the manner in which he appeared in the public arena in the 1950s. As Lynn Nottage depicts him, he is a charismatic cult leader who claims to be God. It is not clear (as it was not clear in real life) whether he is a charlatan or a true believer in his own divinity. Despite his eccentricities, he appears to believe in social justice, particularly the Civil Rights Movement, and to have some genuine concern for the welfare of his followers.

Godfrey is an enthusiastic acolyte of Father Divine. His daughters, Ernestine and Ermina, are more suspicious and resentful, particularly when Father Divine decides to rename them as Darling Angel and Devout Mary. The cult leader has a mixed influence on the family. He is a divisive figure and motivates strange behavior from Godfrey. However, he also gives Godfrey a sense of hope and purpose and has helped him to cope with his grief.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial