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Archives > [February] Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi - Part 3 (spoilers for Part Two)

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Katie | 2369 comments Part 3 Questions

Section of book:
Part Two (Through End)

Notes:
- Each member is asked to end with a question for the next member.
- If the person above you forgets to pose a question then just pick a different one from above (make sure you indicate which one you're answering!)
- If some other question from above moves you then feel free to answer as many as you want. It is a discussion after all!


1. What was your favorite chapter/character in the book?
2. Were there any characters that you wish had more than one chapter? Or do you think the book was successful with the chapter dedicated to each character?
3. In what ways do you think the title Homegoing relates to the events in the novel?
4. In Marjorie's chapter, she has a discussion with a teacher about a book, and the teacher asks her, "But do you love it? Do you feel it inside you?" What is a book that you feel inside you? Is Homegoing a book you feel inside you?
5. Do you consider Marcus's trip to Ghana a fitting end to the book?
6. Answer the question posed by the person above you!


Hannah | 9 comments 1. I really liked H. I'm not sure why him, above others. Maybe the way he selflessly helped others despite his own poor circumstances and the way that by doing this, they helped him in return. He seemed to have a build in need to give something back, the way he chaired the union meetings etc. I also think he was something of a role model father to Willie.

2. I think I got engrossed in each character and at the time wished they'd all continued for longer. As soon as you start a new chapter, I became engrossed in that too though and was glad it had moved on. I actually think Gyasi struck the perfect balance and I can't believe she fitted so much into 300 pages!

3. In a literal sense, each chapter celebrates and summarises the highlights (good and bad) of a characters life, like a homegoing ceremony.

4. I suppose it could be a book that strikes true with your inner beliefs and values. Something you champion and relate too. I don't know if I would say I feel this book inside me. I think it's the time period I struggle to relate too more than the cultural differences. I have the same difficulties when I read about the Tudor period and the victorians, whereas more modern historical fiction, such as world war two feels more a part of me because it directly affected my grandparents and people I know who are still alive. Maybe I just don't have a very good imagination?? The author did a great job, with so many rich details, particularly in the early chapters and I wouldn't be at all surprised if this doesn't become a set text at some point and it's hugely educational, thought provoking and poses so many themes for discussion. It's also far more interesting when you can see the affects of history on an individual, and really feel them, rather than just generically learning the facts which is what seemed to happen when I was at school.

5. Yes. I really liked it. It almost felt like a circle of life.

6. There are lots of mentions of fire throughout the book, do you think there is a symbolic meaning to this?


Kelly Brown | 382 comments 1. What was your favorite chapter/character in the book?
Yaw. He is the one sticking out in my mind. I really like the whole family dynamic with his mother too.

2. Were there any characters that you wish had more than one chapter? Or do you think the book was successful with the chapter dedicated to each character?
I know at the time there were a few I wish I could keep reading about, but at the same time, there were also characters I didn't care as much about either.

3. In what ways do you think the title Homegoing relates to the events in the novel? Basically each chapter gives the reader an overview of that chacter's life, much as a homegoing ceremony would for a person.

4. In Marjorie's chapter, she has a discussion with a teacher about a book, and the teacher asks her, "But do you love it? Do you feel it inside you?" What is a book that you feel inside you? Is Homegoing a book you feel inside you? I don't know if I have really "felt" a book inside of me. I have felt characters, that is for sure. Some characters end up feeling like family members.

5. Do you consider Marcus's trip to Ghana a fitting end to the book?
I do. It takes the reader back to where it all started.

6. Answer the question posed by the person above you!
Yes I believe there has to be a symbolic meaning to the mentions of fire throughout the book. You are right- fire was mentioned quite a lot. Now I am not sure of all the symbolism. Symbolic of slavery? Anger? The curses? Good question.

I add to your question and ask was there also any symbolism with water too? Akua had dreams of fire, but also the ocean. Marcus was scared of the water. ?


message 4: by Bec (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bec | 759 comments 1. What was your favorite chapter/character in the book?
The last one I read each time LOL. They were all very moving and had their own battles within.

2. Were there any characters that you wish had more than one chapter? Or do you think the book was successful with the chapter dedicated to each character? I liked one chapter dedicated to each character, and I liked how they would talk about their parents/grandparents so we would learn a little about the character we left earlier.

3. In what ways do you think the title Homegoing relates to the events in the novel?

4. In Marjorie's chapter, she has a discussion with a teacher about a book, and the teacher asks her, "But do you love it? Do you feel it inside you?" What is a book that you feel inside you? Is Homegoing a book you feel inside you?
I feel many books inside of me, I think ones that move me. Homegoing has certainly piqued my interest in slavery and I'm keen to read more now. I was also moved by Sarah's Key and The Bronze Horseman and The Power of One

5. Do you consider Marcus's trip to Ghana a fitting end to the book? Yes, ended right back where Effia started in the castle.

6. Answer the question posed by the person above you!
I think the fire was a theme as it was what started the whole thread of the story. The night Effia was born a fire raged through the woods! I think the water is related as it's another strong element.

My question - do you ever think the Marjorie and Marcus will work out they are related?


message 5: by Pamela (last edited Feb 21, 2017 12:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pamela | 613 comments 1. What was your favorite chapter/character in the book?
Most of them!

2. Were there any characters that you wish had more than one chapter? Or do you think the book was successful with the chapter dedicated to each character?
I hate short stories and feel like this is a collection of connected short stories- but that didn't matter here. For some of these characters to have longer stories would have been too much tragedy. For others, more would have just been boring "so they waited for the crops to grow." We seem to have jumped into each character's life at the most important time of their life, I think H is the only character I would have liked too much on because his life kept changing so much and has alot of variety.
I was also curious about Robert- did he really turn into a white man and lead that life? Did he have guilt? What about his white descendents? Do they know?

3. In what ways do you think the title Homegoing relates to the events in the novel?
It goes into the tradition of going home to Africa after you die, that eventually the family returned with Marcus and were able to heal. But I feel, with the exception of the first few generations in America, that each chapter concluded with a peace of some sort for each character.

4. In Marjorie's chapter, she has a discussion with a teacher about a book, and the teacher asks her, "But do you love it? Do you feel it inside you?" What is a book that you feel inside you? Is Homegoing a book you feel inside you?
No, probably because of the structure, But boy, I keep thinking about this book, trying to find meaning and patterns.

5. Do you consider Marcus's trip to Ghana a fitting end to the book?
In the sense of Homegoing, yes. But the fact he did it with Marjorie is even more powerful (although if they don't get married and have kids, he better give that necklace back to her!)

6. Do you ever think the Marjorie and Marcus will work out they are related?
I doubt they will. I'm addicted to genealogy shows and it is pretty impossible to track ancestry through people who were enslaved and back to when they left Africa, mostly because records were not kept of departures and arrivals. They could do a DNA test and see they are related, but they won't know that point where they are. And I hope not- seeing Marcus's anger at the past while working on this dissertation I can't imagine how he would react knowing Marjorie is descended from the man who sent his family away.

My question: How would this book have been different if written by an African-American rather than someone born in Africa?


message 6: by Zaz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zaz | 3034 comments 1. What was your favorite chapter/character in the book?
I connected the most with Esi, Ness, Yaw and Marjorie, so they are my favorite chapters and characters.

2. Were there any characters that you wish had more than one chapter? Or do you think the book was successful with the chapter dedicated to each character?
Some characters had full closure through their kids, but for others we don't learn what happened to them (but we can guess). I wished to learn more about Ness especially. Otherwise, the way the book was told was a smart way to present a good length of history and generations.

3. In what ways do you think the title Homegoing relates to the events in the novel?
The book does a loop with the last generation coming back to the home/land of their ancestors.

4. In Marjorie's chapter, she has a discussion with a teacher about a book, and the teacher asks her, "But do you love it? Do you feel it inside you?" What is a book that you feel inside you? Is Homegoing a book you feel inside you?
Not really, except maybe the last chapters because I could relate with some struggles or fears and the first ones because they were the most difficult to read. The middle of the book described very lightly in my opinion the horror of the life at these periods, so it wasn't emotional for me.

5. Do you consider Marcus's trip to Ghana a fitting end to the book?
Yes in the way as he returns there as a free man, even if he doesn't know about his ancestors. It's a nice closure for all the fights every generation did to save their children or improve their lives.

6. How would this book have been different if written by an African-American rather than someone born in Africa?
I found the author grabbed well the African culture, from the tribe wars to the spirits or food, I think it would have been more difficult for someone not connected as heavily with her roots. For me she's African-American as she was raised in the US, she didn't grow up in the full African culture.

My question: Are you interested in learning more about a period presented in the book?


Jackie | 18 comments 1. What was your favorite chapter/character in the book? They were all so interesting and gave us a good sense of the hardships and positives of their lives. I think the two that stick with me are Yaw and H. This surprised me because while reading it I would have said the female characters kept my attention/interest the most. I think Ekua and Willie would be my next favorites.
2. Were there any characters that you wish had more than one chapter? Or do you think the book was successful with the chapter dedicated to each character? I liked how the author did the chapters, I could have used two chapters on every character. I thought the development of each character made you want more, which is probably better than including more and then possibly not being as interested in their lives. I liked the character of Esther and would have liked to know more about her, although she was not a descendant.
3. In what ways do you think the title Homegoing relates to the events in the novel?
4. In Marjorie's chapter, she has a discussion with a teacher about a book, and the teacher asks her, "But do you love it? Do you feel it inside you?" What is a book that you feel inside you? I don't think I have had that feeling with any book. I have really enjoyed many books, been moved by many books, left thinking and wondering by many books, but 'feel it inside me?' Is Homegoing a book you feel inside you? It made me feel a lot of things, it certainly was engrossing and engaging. It raised a lot of empathy for most of the characters and amazed me in how the author could write about so many characters and times in history and continue to keep my attention.
5. Do you consider Marcus's trip to Ghana a fitting end to the book? I had no idea how she was going to end it. I like that both sides of the family found each other for the readers, even if the characters themselves did not know of the connection. I think it was a fitting ending. In Ghana, conquering their fears, together.
6. Answer the question posed by the person above you! Are you interested in learning more about a period presented in the book? This is a tough question, I was actually very interested in the Ghana chapters and the development of that side of the family. I did not know much about the Asante and would love to learn more about Ghana, the Gold/Ivory Coast and the stool they mention a few times in the book. Is this a real object?

My question: Was there a character you had difficulty connecting with? If so, do you know why?


Molly (mollyrotondo) | 57 comments 1. What was your favorite chapter/character in the book?

I still love Ness and Kojo. Their stories were so shocking and emotional. But I also really liked Akua. She was not raised by her parents just like Kojo was not raised in America by his biological parents. She was "raised" by the man who killed her mother. He, who claimed to be a man of God, kept her under emotional slavery. And even though she was able to escape him by marrying and having her own family, she could never escape the "curse" of her family. It was a very powerful section. I also loved reading more about her relationship with her granddaughter later in her life. It was beautiful.

2. Were there any characters that you wish had more than one chapter? Or do you think the book was successful with the chapter dedicated to each character?

I thought she did a great job giving us more of the characters' stories in the next generations' section. I learned what I was curious about for most of the characters that I found intriguing.

3. In what ways do you think the title Homegoing relates to the events in the novel?

Most of the characters had to either accept the life they were given and embrace it which in a way can be a home going experience. Learn who you truly are and make the best of it. Some people had to accept their family's past in order to make a better life for themselves. Each experience the characters had brought them closer to understanding where they came from.

4. In Marjorie's chapter, she has a discussion with a teacher about a book, and the teacher asks her, "But do you love it? Do you feel it inside you?" What is a book that you feel inside you? Is Homegoing a book you feel inside you?

I definitely feel The Great Gatsby inside me each time I read it. I also feel Pride and Prejudice inside me. The Vegetarian. I let a lot of books creep into my heart lol This book is definitely one that I can add to the list. Even though my family history is different, I understand how the past affects the present. Even when family tries to hide the past from the new generation, there is something within our shared blood that makes us live just like our ancestors. I think of the phrase "history repeats itself." Even in families, we can repeat the choices and lifestyles of the past. Sheltering the next generation does not prevent that from happening. I feel this struggle in my own family.

5. Do you consider Marcus's trip to Ghana a fitting end to the book?

I do think it was fitting. Akua told Marjorie that she could always return to the water because the souls of her family would be there to greet her. Marcus also gets to learn that his family is waiting there for whenever he wants to return home. It was very fitting.

6. Was there a character you had difficulty connecting with? If so, do you know why?

Even though I liked the ending, I had difficulty connecting with Marcus. He was a little too cliché as a modern day young man. He hung out with the artsy pretentious crowd and that's not easy for me to bond with lol

My question: Do you think Willie and her first husband would have remained together and happy in Pratt City instead of moving to Harlem?


message 9: by Rachel (last edited Feb 27, 2017 03:44PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2594 comments 1. What was your favorite chapter/character in the book?
From the second half, I especially enjoyed Marjorie because I thought it was a nice change to get a perspective from a younger character. Most of the other chapters were told from the perspective of adults who were either married or looking for a partner. I also really liked H's chapter. From the book as a whole, I think the ones that still stand out most to me are Abena and Kojo.

2. Were there any characters that you wish had more than one chapter? Or do you think the book was successful with the chapter dedicated to each character?
I think the book was pretty successful as it was. While I was reading, there were definitely characters that I wanted to learn more about, but they were often referred to later on (ie. Anna), so you still get to find out what happened to them.

3. In what ways do you think the title Homegoing relates to the events in the novel?
I think it relates in a literal sense to the latest generation, who do go back home. Marjorie, for example, visited her grandmother multiple times over the years. In a more symbolic sense, I think it was about trying to find their place in society. In many of the chapters, characters talked about not fitting in anywhere because of their colour and how society treated them, so I think "homegoing" in that sense means finding a place where they feel at home, or creating such a place...or at least trying to.

4. In Marjorie's chapter, she has a discussion with a teacher about a book, and the teacher asks her, "But do you love it? Do you feel it inside you?" What is a book that you feel inside you? Is Homegoing a book you feel inside you?
There have been a few books over the years that have left an impact, which is what I assume "feel inside you" is supposed to mean. I think Homegoing has potential to be one of them, but probably not the book with the strongest impact on me.

If I had to pick some others, I'd probably have to say The Thirteenth Tale, Rebecca, Jane Eyre, Little Women, and several of Jodi Picoult's books.

5. Do you consider Marcus's trip to Ghana a fitting end to the book?
I would say so, especially given his field of study. I think it's great for him to explore his roots. Although someone mentioned above that he and Marjorie should get married -- if I'm not mistaken, aren't they blood relatives, although fairly distantly?

Do you think Willie and her first husband would have remained together and happy in Pratt City instead of moving to Harlem?
I'm not sure. Robert seemed like a pretty weak, easily influenced person to me. I think there would have been problems in the relationship anyway.

New question: Have you read any other books about a similar topic (ie. the slave trade, civil rights, etc.)? How does this book compare to the others?


Veronica | 786 comments 1. What was your favorite chapter/character in the book? I still love Ness, Kojo and Abena. I also love Willie and Yaw.
2. Were there any characters that you wish had more than one chapter? Or do you think the book was successful with the chapter dedicated to each character?
That's hard, as some characters are continued through their descendant's chapter so we get a glimpse of how they turned out. I think the one chapter per character works well in that way.
3. In what ways do you think the title Homegoing relates to the events in the novel?
In a way, every person is looking for a place to call home or for the place where they feel like they belong. For example, Willie is looking for an apartment for her and her son while Sonny is looking for a place where he feels like he belongs.
4. In Marjorie's chapter, she has a discussion with a teacher about a book, and the teacher asks her, "But do you love it? Do you feel it inside you?" What is a book that you feel inside you? Is Homegoing a book you feel inside you?
There are a few books that have definitely stuck with me, such as Little Women and Pride and Prejudice. I think Homegoing is going with me for awhile at least.
5. Do you consider Marcus's trip to Ghana a fitting end to the book?
I think by both he and Marjorie going to Ghana, it brought the novel full circle and gave them a sense of where they come from, even though Marjorie had been several times before.
6. Have you read any other books about a similar topic (ie. the slave trade, civil rights,etc)? How does this book compare to the others?
Sadly, this is one area in which my reading lacks. I have read and remember loving To Kill A Mockingbird, which deals with Civil Rights. I am interested to broaden myself in that area and read more about it.

My question: Have you ever traced your geneaology and if so, did you learn something surprising about your family history?


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