Homegoing Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Go over the importance of names in Homegoing. What relationship do names need to household, culture, and identity?

    Names hold a lot of information about an individual. A last name typically determines family, the given name may have a significance in English or another language, and a middle or additional name might show a connection to faith or ancestors. In Homegoing, a number of the main characters’ names show their connection to Akan culture and to other characters in the book. A good example is Kojo, Ness and Sam’s kid. Kojo is a traditional Akan name significance “Monday born” that is seen briefly in the beginning of the story as the name of Esi’s dad’s eldest son. Kojo’s name shows his connection to his African ancestors, and considering that he does not remember his moms and dads, it is important that he keeps the name they offered him. It is likewise intriguing that Kojo usually passes the label Jo as an adult living in Baltimore, considering that this is a more conventional American name, which he may feel helps him blend into American culture.

  2. 2

    How are women treated throughout the novel? What functions do marital relationship and motherhood play in the lives of the females portrayed in the story?

    Homegoing begins in the 17th century and covers until the early 21st century. Therefore, not just does the treatment of Africans and African-Americans change throughout the story, however the treatment and roles of ladies likewise go through drastic changes. Gyasi uses the chapters that follow female descendants of Maame to illustrate and challenge the roles of ladies in Ghanaian and American history, both showing the unfavorable effects of women being treated as residential or commercial property and the favorable aspects of marriage and motherhood. The descendants of Esi need to handle forced marriage, absent dads, and difficulty discovering tasks due largely to their gender, and Effia’s descendants residing in Africa depend on marriage and motherhood to shape their lives.

    Contrasting the lives of Willie and Akua, female characters living in the exact same period in the United States and Africa, the reader comprehends that both women are limited in their ability to support themselves and their families due to the fact that they can not get tasks as quickly as men. Though American society has a more developed economy at the time, Willie still finds herself cleaning up to earn money and struggling to take care of her kids. Both of these women likewise have boys who resent them for things the reader understands weren’t their fault, a painful part of being a parent. Nevertheless, in the end, Willie and Akua form strong relationships with their kids and grandchildren, which gives them joy and peace in old age.

  3. 3

    Evaluate the structure of the book. Why did the author pick to separate the book into chapters focusing on different characters? How might the book have been various if it was informed with a different structure or narrative viewpoint?

    Homegoing is structured with chronological chapters following descendants of Maame, starting with her children Effia and Esi. This structure enables the reader to learn more about the history of Ghana and black history in United States from the 17th century to the 21st century while likewise observing themes and concepts around household, race, and culture. The book would be extremely various if Gyasi had chosen to write about just one of the characters who has a chapter in the book; she would have had the ability to go deeper into that character’s experiences, feelings, and development, but the reader would not have the ability to see the elements that led up to the character being born or having specific restrictions and opportunities. Gyasi might also have actually focused on just one family line, which would have gotten rid of the capability to compare the advancement of Ghana and the United States and the roles race and gender play in their history.

  4. 4

    What does the author believe about the relationships between moms and dads and children? How do the relationships alter as the kids grow and influence the choices the kids make about their lives and the raising of their own children?

    Due to the fact that of the wide range of primary characters in Homegoing, Gyasi has the ability to paint a complex, nuanced picture of the effects moms and dads can have on children. An important point to understand is that Gyasi includes non-biological parental figures who have a fantastic effect on a lot of the primary characters; the very first chapter of the book concentrates on Effia, who is raised by a woman she discovers is not her biological mother, however nonetheless has possibly the most significant influence on Effia’s life of any character. While Baaba’s function in Effia’s life is mostly unfavorable, other non-biological moms and dads have favorable, nurturing roles in the lives of main characters; for example, Kojo pertains to consider Ma Aku, who saved him from slavery and raised him in the North, as his mom.

    Gyasi shows that there are lots of kinds of relationships in between moms and dads and children, but all will affect the way those kids grow up and the method they decide to raise their children. Sonny, whose dad is missing for most of his life, is not present in the lives of his first 3 children, who he has with 3 various women. Though he always resented his mom for his dad’s absence, something makes him do the exact same thing, showing how parental habits can be handed down to children. However, after Sonny leaves of drugs, with the assistance of his mom he is able to get involved in his fourth child’s life and offer more than what his father attended to him. This reveals that, though one’s moms and dads and upbringing will always have an impact, children need not be specified by their parents’ characters and choices.

  5. 5

    What does this story teach the reader about the nature of history? Usage examples from numerous chapters.

    Homegoing teaches primarily that the history one learns in school is most likely not the whole, and even the correct, story. Yaw, a schoolteacher in 20th century Ghana, tells his class that “History is storytelling” (p. 237). What he means is that a story will always be slightly various depending upon who is informing it, and the stories that comprise history are normally told by those who gained power. The method history is informed will exaggerate particular aspects, probably the successes or goodwill of the effective party, and the stories of those who did not win will be lost. This is very important to Homegoing since Gyasi attempts to highlight stories in African and African-American history that have been distinguished a white, Western viewpoint to many people in the world.

    Another thing Gyasi teaches the reader in Homegoing is that history is complexly interwoven. Marcus, the final character in the book, attempts to study the history of his own household for his graduate research at Stanford. However, he finds himself not able to untangle the story of his great-grandfather the coal miner from that of his great-great-grandfather the slave and his ancestors in Africa. Gyasi likely felt the same difficulty when deciding how far back in Ghana’s history to begin her story and when selecting what minutes in history to focus on. Marcus’s chapter and Gyasi’s book as an entire show the way people and occasions affect one another to create domino effect that push history forward.