Homegoing

by

Yaa Gyasi

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Akua / Crazy Woman Character Analysis

Akua is Abena and Ohene’s daughter. When Abena turned to the Church for help when Ohene would not marry her, the Missionary attempted to baptize her but drowned her by mistake. Thus, the Missionary raises Abena’s daughter, Akua. Akua marries Asamoah and has three children: Abee, Ama Serwah, and Yaw. After the birth of her son, Yaw, Akua is haunted by visions of a firewoman in her sleep. In her madness, she sets fire to her hut, killing her two daughters and scarring her son, thus earning her the name “Crazy Woman.” The villagers then send Yaw away in order to protect him, and after Akua’s husband dies, she lives alone with a house girl. At the end of the novel, Yaw reconciles with her, and she grows very close to her granddaughter Marjorie.

Akua / Crazy Woman Quotes in Homegoing

The Homegoing quotes below are all either spoken by Akua / Crazy Woman or refer to Akua / Crazy Woman . 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 2: Akua Quotes

In her dreams the fire was shaped like a woman holding two babies to her heart. The firewoman would carry these two little girls with her all the way to the woods of the Inland and then the babies would vanish, and the firewoman’s sadness would send orange and red and hints of blue swarming every tree and every bush in sight.

Related Characters: Effia, Esi, Akua / Crazy Woman , Maame
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 177
Explanation and Analysis:

“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:
Part 2: Yaw Quotes

“What I know now my son: Evil begets evil. It grows. It transmutes, so that sometimes you cannot see that the evil in the world began as the evil in your own home. I'm sorry you have suffered.”

Related Characters: Akua / Crazy Woman (speaker), Yaw, Marjorie, Marcus
Page Number: 242
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2: Marjorie Quotes

Her father had told her that the necklace was a part of their family history and she was to never take it off, never give it away. Now it reflected the ocean water before them, gold waves shimmering in the black stone.

Related Characters: Effia, Akua / Crazy Woman , Yaw, Marjorie, Maame
Related Symbols: Black Stones, Water and Boats
Page Number: 267
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Homegoing LitChart as a printable PDF.
Homegoing PDF

Akua / Crazy Woman Character Timeline in Homegoing

The timeline below shows where the character Akua / Crazy Woman appears in Homegoing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2: Akua
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Akua is frying yams in palm oil. She had grown up in missionary school, where they... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
That night, Akua has another nightmare, and her husband Asamoah wakes up and comforts her. She tells him... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Akua spends her days in her compound with her mother-in-law, Nana Serwah, and her children, Abee... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Akua walks to the market, stopping at the spot where the townsmen had burned the white... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
Akua had made friends with the fetish man, against the wishes of the Missionary. They called... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Akua remembered this incident as the white man sleeping under the tree had been picked up... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Akua returns from her walk. Nana Serwah tells her to help with the cooking. The men... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
The Missionary had kept a long, thin switch on his desk. One day, he told Akua that she would not go to class with the other students, but instead take lessons... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Every day Akua wakes her daughters before sunrise, and they walk out singing in support of their warriors.... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Akua and Asamoah have been married for five years. He had seen her one day at... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
As the war rages on, Akua’s dreams become worse.  In the midst of her turmoil, she discovers she is pregnant. One... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
At first Akua is grateful for the break, but when she sleeps, she continues to see the firewoman,... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
The Missionary would not let Akua leave the orphanage to marry Asamoah. She had asked the Missionary if he would beat... (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... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Asamoah returns at the end of Akua’s week of imprisonment. Upon seeing the man at the door, he roars at Nana Serwah.... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
...ends in September. Crops have died and food is limited, but they still have freedom. Akua and Asamoah try to acclimate to the loss of his leg. Akua also no longer... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
In the beginning, Akua and Asamoah had not wanted to touch each other, but one night he begins to... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Akua begins to speak more and more, and she wanders as she sleeps. The only people... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
At home, Asamoah greets Akua and his daughters. They eat dinner together before going to sleep. Akua closes her eyes,... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Akua then hears chants of “the Crazy Woman!” as her eyes begin to open. Ten men... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...front of the crowd, begging them to stop. They ask how he could be on Akua’s side when she killed their children. Asamoah begins to weep; Akua thinks that she must... (full context)
Part 2: Yaw
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
What Yaw had heard about his scar was this: his mother, Akua, had set the hut on fire while he and his sisters slept. Asamoah had only... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
...decides to ask Esther if she wants to go to Edweso with him to visit Akua because she had been nudging him to do so for years. She nods. (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
As Yaw and Esther eat dinner, he asks what to expect from Akua. Kofi Poku explains that she lives with a house girl, tending her garden and rarely... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
The next evening, Kofi Poku brings Yaw and Esther to Akua’s house and leaves them. Yaw knocks, and the girl who answers the door is so... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Akua puts her hands on Yaw’s scar and pulls him into an embrace. He begins to... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Akua had then gone to the fetish priest’s son to make offerings to the ancestors, and... (full context)
Part 2: Marjorie
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Marjorie is in Ghana visiting her grandmother Akua when a boy asks her in English if she wants to see the Cape Coast... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
Marjorie arrives at Akua’s house. Akua had moved to a bungalow on the beach to be near the water.... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Marjorie and Akua go to the beach together, and Akua notes that Marjorie is wearing Effia’s stone necklace.... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
...playing with his lighter. She asks him to put it away: ever since she heard Akua’s story, she has been terrified of fire. (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Marjorie is working on her poem when Yaw gets a call from Ghana, saying that Akua is very frail. Marjorie speaks to her on the phone, asking if she’s sick. Akua... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
...so: she doesn’t feel like she belongs there anymore. She says she feels her grandmother, Akua, is the only one who really understands her. When she looks up, Graham kisses her. (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
For weeks, Marjorie waits for news about Akua. At school, she is quiet. She eats lunch one day in the cafeteria, and Graham... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Akua dies in her sleep before summer. Marjorie takes the rest of the year off; her... (full context)
Part 2: Marcus
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
...goes back to Ghana often. Marjorie admits that she hasn’t been back since her grandmother, Akua, passed away. She then touches her stone necklace, explaining that her grandmother gave it to... (full context)