Homegoing

by

Yaa Gyasi

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Abena Character Analysis

Abena is James and Akosua’s daughter. Abena is resentful of her father’s bad luck, particularly because it means that no one wants to marry her. She is in love with Ohene Nyarko, but he will not marry her until he has a good harvest. When she becomes pregnant by him and he still refuses to marry her, she travels to the missionary church in Kumasi to raise her daughter, Akua. Once there, however, she is killed by the Missionary who tries to baptize her and accidentally drowns her.

Abena Quotes in Homegoing

The Homegoing quotes below are all either spoken by Abena or refer to Abena. 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:
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Homegoing published in 2017.
Part 1: Abena Quotes

An unmarried twenty-five-year-old woman was unheard of, in her village or any other on this continent or the next. But there were only a few men in her village, and none of them wanted to take a chance with Unlucky's daughter.

Related Characters: James, Abena
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2: Akua Quotes

“You are a sinner and a heathen,” he said. Akua nodded. The teachers had told them this before. “Your mother had no husband when she came here to me, pregnant, begging for help. I helped her because that is what God would have wanted me to do. But she was a sinner and a heathen, like you.”

Related Characters: The Missionary (speaker), Abena, Akua / Crazy Woman , Ohene Nyarko
Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Homegoing LitChart as a printable PDF.
Homegoing PDF

Abena Character Timeline in Homegoing

The timeline below shows where the character Abena appears in Homegoing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Abena
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Abena makes the journey back to her village with new seeds in hand. She thinks again... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Abena brings the seeds to James, and announces that she would like to visit Kumasi. She... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Abena’s mother, Akosua, tells her to sit. She explains that they are not welcome in Kumasi... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
That evening, Abena slips away to Ohene Nyarko’s compound. She asks his wife, Mefia, where he is, and... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Abena cringes, thinking of their youth, when Ohene had shown her his penis, and she had... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Abena asks Ohene to take her to Kumasi. He says that he must tend to his... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
At the end of that week, Abena and Ohene go to Kumasi. Abena is amazed at the size of the compounds. She... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
Abena and Ohene continue to walk through the village, and they part ways when Ohene wants... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Abena meets up with Ohene again, telling him that she has just seen a white man.... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Ohene and Abena travel back to their village, stopping to rest even though Abena wants to continue. He... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Abena and Ohene start to kiss before undressing and lying down together. She thinks about the... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
As they rest, Abena thinks about when she was five and had been watering James’s farm. When the plants... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
That year, everyone in Abena’s village has a bad harvest, followed by another bad year. After that, there are four... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
...witch among them, and when a woman in the village sees Ohene walking back from Abena’s hut to his own, she accuses Abena of spreading evil. The elders  gather and decide... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Abena visits Ohene’s hut on the third day of the sixth bad year. He is going... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
...and palm wine. The villagers throw a huge celebration. In the middle of the celebration, Abena approaches him, wanting to tell him that she is four days late. But when she... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
The next day, the elders announce that Abena can stay in the village, and Ohene can marry her, but Abena knows that he... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Abena resolves to leave. Before she goes, James gives her Effia’s black stone necklace. He tells... (full context)
Part 2: Akua
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...to repent. She had begun to question God and the Missionary and why her mother, Abena, had gone to them. But she is unable to find the answers. (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
...try to make her stay. The Missionary instead offered to tell her about her mother, Abena. He said that Abena would not repent; she didn’t regret her sins. (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
The Missionary went on to say that after Akua was born, he took Abena to the water to be baptized. She thrashed in the water as he lowered her... (full context)