Homegoing Analytical Essay

Background note: Beginning in the 18th Century, Homegoing tells the story of two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, and their descendants over the course of 200+ years, tracing the impact of colonialism, slavery, and their effects in both Gyasis homeland of Ghana and her adopted one of the United States of America. Still, Gyasi beautifully states for herself and her characters, home is not a place but instead a little light that you carry inside you wherever you go.

Essay Question / Prompt: Examine how the social construct of gender functions in Yaa Gyasis Homegoing. How does it impact upon the lives and experiences of the characters? How does gender play a role in

characters strengths and or weaknesses? Their femininity and or masculinity? What about in terms of their sexuality? How does gender give voice to those characters who might otherwise be silenced because of it; or instead, where does gender work to silence the voices of others?

Some other questions which might help you to think about how gender functions in Homegoing are:

How are the female characters depicted? How are the male ones? How are they depicted in terms of one another? When, where, and how does patriarchy play a role in the novel? Where does it not? Who are the female characters who are most impacted by it? Are there any male characters who are subject to patriarchy and patriarchal notions as well? How does marriage figure in the novel and within the different social groups and cultures depicted? What is the importance of fertility and motherhood for several of the characters? What about the fertility and fatherhood of the male characters?

What does the collective experience of Gyasis female characters reveal about womanhood? What does it reveal about manhood through the male characters?

Homegoing tells the story of 14 individual characters and you may want to focus on 2 3 characters for the purposes of this essay. If you do, recall that some of the characters appear in the stories of their parents before them or in the stories of their children; in other words, make sure to take the whole stories of the focused upon characters into account. Likewise, make sure to keep the focus on how gender functions in the novel.