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When a couple no longer has enough money to pay the rent, the Lord in his mercy providentially makes available a handful of dollars; but the hint is clear that the daughter in the poem had obtained the money by prostituting herself, so that the devil is partly to be thanked that faith in Providence met with some measure of response.

The arraignment of faith as lacking material efficacy has always been a major theme in Negro poetry, but to it Brown adds his own greater bitterness and more chilling cynicism.


From Black Poets of the United States: From Paul Laurence Dunbar to Langston Hughes. Copyright © 1973 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.