Homegoing

by

Yaa Gyasi

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Baaba Character Analysis

Baaba is Cobbe Otcher’s wife, Fiifi’s mother, and Effia’s adoptive mother. Resentful of having to take care of a daughter that is not her own, Baaba is extremely cruel to Effia and beats her frequently. Baaba eventually plots for Effia to marry British colonist James Collins so that she can rid herself of Effia, telling everyone that the girl is evil and cannot have children.

Baaba Quotes in Homegoing

The Homegoing quotes below are all either spoken by Baaba or refer to Baaba. 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: Effia Quotes

He knew then that the memory of the fire that burned, then fled, would haunt him, his children, and his children’s children for as long as the line continued.

Related Characters: Effia, Maame, Baaba, Cobbe Otcher
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Homegoing LitChart as a printable PDF.
Homegoing PDF

Baaba Character Timeline in Homegoing

The timeline below shows where the character Baaba appears in Homegoing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Effia
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
...wrecking everything in its path. Effia’s father, Cobbe Otcher, leaves Effia with his first wife, Baaba, to survey his yams, which have been damaged. He is haunted by the sight of... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
The villagers say that Effia had been born of that fire, and that was why Baaba had no milk. Effia is nursed by another of Cobbe’s wives, but she bites the... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Effia grows older. When Effia is three, Baaba has a son named Fiifi. The first day that Effia holds Fiifi, she accidentally drops... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
When Cobbe comes home and discovers what happened, he and Baaba fight into the night, and he beats her for the cruel way she treated Effia.... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
...hides behind Cobbe’s leg, as she has never seen a white man before. Cobbe and Baaba show him their compound, explaining that each wife has her own hut that she shares... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...has bigger plans for her, however, and that she will not marry a white man. Baaba scowls at this, though Cobbe does not see her. (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Effia nods and stays quiet, which she notes pleases Baaba. She has come to realize that Baaba prefers to remain silent and wants Effia to... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Abeeku finishes eating and tells Baaba to let him know when Effia is “ready.” That night, Baaba tells Effia that when... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
On one such visit, Baaba asks Millicent’s mother what it is like in the Castle. Millicent’s mother says that they... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Two days after Effia’s fifteenth birthday, she has her first menstrual period. She tells Baaba, who tells Effia to keep this development a secret. When Effia asks why, Baaba pinches... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Effia asks Baaba what they’re doing, but Baaba tells her that it does not concern her. Baaba has... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
In the days following the chief ceremony, Cobbe continues to ask Baaba what is happening with Effia, as he had hoped that she would be Abeeku’s wife... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
On one such visit to Abeeku’s compound, Baaba and Effia are there at the same time as British soldiers. When the soldiers tour... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...appointed governor of the Cape Coast Castle. Within a week, he comes back to ask Baaba for Effia’s hand. Cobbe is outraged because he wants her to marry Abeeku, but Baaba... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
Cobbe tells Baaba that they must make Abeeku think that it is his own idea for Effia to... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Abeeku calls Effia into the room, and tells Baaba and Cobbe that they are right—Effia should marry James Collins. Cobbe weeps openly, but Baaba... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
...Coast Castle, reciting words she doesn’t understand. Effia’s family does not attend the ceremony, because Baaba convinced them that Effia was a bad omen. (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
...his hand over her mouth, telling her that her home is no better. Effia remembers Baaba’s treatment and realizes that he is right. (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
James Collins leads her to the bed, and he and Effia consummate their marriage. Baaba had told Effia what was expected of her, but James seems very unsure, and so... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...had wanted her to marry a Fante chief rather than a white man. But instead, Baaba had cast Effia out of the village entirely. (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
...be a bad mother, because she had such a bad mother herself. Furthermore, even though Baaba’s insistence that Effia could not have children had been a ruse, Effia worries that she... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Effia and a house girl travel to Effia’s village. Baaba stands in the entranceway when she arrives, scowling. Baaba leads Effia to Cobbe. No one... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Fiifi then reveals that Baaba is not Effia’s mother. Effia is actually the child of Cobbe and a house girl... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
As Effia leaves, she starts to apologize to Baaba for the burden that Cobbe made her carry for so many years, but before she... (full context)
Part 1: Quey
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Effia is a patient and loving mother, in an attempt to be as little like Baaba as possible. She never hits Quey, even when others taunt her that she is spoiling... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...would visit, as she still feels that there is evil in the village, even though Baaba had died many years prior. He also knows she would never want to see Abeeku,... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
...on to say, however, that Effia is not the daughter of his mother. Furthermore, because Baaba had hated her, Fiifi had hated Effia too, particularly when she left to live with... (full context)
Part 1: James
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...her crying, and when he asked her why, she had told him the story of Baaba. (full context)