Homegoing

by

Yaa Gyasi

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H is Jo and Anna’s son. After being kidnapped and sold into slavery while pregnant, Anna kills herself. H is born when his master cuts him out of Anna’s stomach. H works on a plantation until he is thirteen, and after the Civil War, he is imprisoned (for supposedly staring at a white woman) and put into the convict leasing system, working in the mines in Alabama. After he is released from prison, he continues to work in the mines as a free laborer, marries a woman named Ethe whom he knew before his imprisonment, and has two children: Willie, who eventually moves up to Harlem, and Hazel.

H Quotes in Homegoing

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

Mm-hmm. See, that's what I thought. You was young. Slavery ain’t nothin’ but a dot in your eye, huh? If nobody tell you, I’ma tell you. War may be over but it ain’t ended.

Related Characters: H
Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2: Marcus Quotes

And if he slammed the book down, then everyone in the room would stare and all they would see would be his skin and his anger, and they’d think they knew something about him, and it would be the same something that had justified putting his great-grandpa H in prison, only it would be different too, less obvious than it once was.

Related Characters: H, Marcus
Page Number: 289-290
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Homegoing LitChart as a printable PDF.
Homegoing PDF

H Character Timeline in Homegoing

The timeline below shows where the character H appears in Homegoing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Kojo
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
...A through G, and so Anna has lovingly started referring to the new baby as H, as a placeholder name. (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Baby H continues to grow. Jo’s oldest daughter, Agnes, gets a cleaning job at the Methodist church.... (full context)
Part 2: H
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Four policemen put H in chains, against his futile protests. He rattles the bars of his cell, while his... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
H thinks about the day the war had ended, when he was about thirteen. He had... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
H had been eighteen when he met Ethe. His relationship with her had been his longest... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Unable to pay the fine, the next day—in July 1880—H is chained to ten other men and sold by the state of Alabama to work... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
The first thousand pounds of coal are hardest to shovel, and H spends hours and days on his knees. His arms burn, but he knows the pain... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
H can hardly remember being free, and he tries to remember Ethe. The convicts in the... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
At one point, H is partnered with a white man named Thomas whose arms start shaking so badly he... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
That morning, H is partnered with Thomas again. He tries to lift his shovel but can’t. Joecy, his... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Thomas asks H about his name. H explains that his mother, Anna, called him H before she gave... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
H shovels his last thousand pounds of coal in 1889. He thinks about going home, but... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Another man joins their conversation, saying that H looks really strong. The man asks him to roll up his sleeve. H rolls it... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
H moves to Pratt City, a town made up of ex-cons. He meets up with Joecy,... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Life in Pratt City is unlike anything H had experienced before, with black and white people living next door to each other. H... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
H sits in the back at his first union meeting, while a doctor explains some of... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
H starts to feel very aware of his own mortality and the kind of life he... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
At the next union meeting, a white member says that they should strike. H, who has become more vocal at the meetings, explains that white people barely listen to... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
...The next week, a carriage of black convicts appears, all under the age of sixteen. H worries that they are arresting more people simply to get more workers. (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
The members make signs and picket outside the mines. H sees one boy pee himself waiting for the mine shaft before trying to run away.... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
...in to paying fifty cents more. After the union meeting where the raise is announced, H returns home to find Ethe waiting for him, cooking greens. She says that when she... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
H doesn’t respond, simply taking Ethe’s body in his arms as she cooks. She doesn’t give... (full context)
Part 2: Willie
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...narrative flashes back to her youth, when Willie lives in Pratt City with her father, H. A boy named Robert Clifton comes with his father to the union meeting to hear... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Willie’s sister Hazel asks if Robert is white, and he says he isn’t, but that he has “a... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
A month after Carson’s birth, H passes away. A month later, Ethe dies as well, and Willie is inconsolable. She sings... (full context)
Part 2: Marcus
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Marcus returns to his research. He had wanted to focus on the convict leasing system that had cut H’s life short,... (full context)