Barracoon

by

Zora Neale Hurston

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Poe-lee Character Analysis

One of Cudjo’s sons. Unlike the others, he is only referred to by his African name, not his English one. After the deaths of David and Cudjo Jr., Poe-lee becomes completely disillusioned with the racial prejudice he and his family constantly experiences, and feels he will never be able to achieve a satisfying life. He eventually runs away from his family and is never seen again.

Poe-lee Quotes in Barracoon

The Barracoon quotes below are all either spoken by Poe-lee or refer to Poe-lee. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Amistad edition of Barracoon published in 2018.
Chapter 11 Quotes

Poe-lee very mad. He say de deputy kill his baby brother. Den de train kill David. He want to do something. But I ain’ hold no malice. De Bible say not. Poe-lee say in Afficky soil it ain’ lak in de Americky. He ain’ been in de Afficky, you unnerstand me, but he hear what we tellee him and he think dat better dan where he at.

Related Characters: Kossula / Cudjo Lewis (speaker), David, Poe-lee, Cudjo Jr.
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

Maybe de kill my boy. It a hidden mystery. So many de folks dey hate my boy ‘cause he lak his brothers. Dey doan let nobody ‘buse dem lak dey dogs. Maybe he in Afficky soil lak somebody say.

Related Characters: Kossula / Cudjo Lewis (speaker), Poe-lee
Page Number: 88
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Barracoon LitChart as a printable PDF.
Barracoon PDF

Poe-lee Character Timeline in Barracoon

The timeline below shows where the character Poe-lee appears in Barracoon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
The American Dream Theme Icon
Cultural Relativism Theme Icon
...crooked” for America so he goes by Cudjo Lewis. Cudjo’s children are named Aleck, Jimmy, Poe-lee, David, Cudjo Jr., and Seely Jr. (full context)
Chapter 11
Storytelling and Memory Theme Icon
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
Poe-lee is particularly upset by his brother David’s death. He wants Cudjo to sue the railroad... (full context)
Slavery and Racism Theme Icon
The American Dream Theme Icon
Cudjo and Seely try to talk to Poe-lee and persuade him to be satisfied with his life, but to no avail. He’s been... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
...he can’t help it, because he misses his sons so much. He still wonders if Poe-lee has been killed. So many people hate Cudjo’s sons because “de doan let nobody ‘buse... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
When the family is still mourning David’s death and Poe-lee’s disappearance, Jimmy comes home sick one day. A few days later, he dies while holding... (full context)