Homegoing

by

Yaa Gyasi

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James Collins Character Analysis

James Collins is the white governor of the Cape Coast Castle at the beginning of the novel, Effia’s husband, and Quey’s father. He has a lot of affection for Effia but also seems haunted by seeing the women (including Esi) in the dungeons of the Castle. When he returns upstairs to Effia after seeing the imprisoned women, he has a hard time looking at her. Later in the novel, he is disappointed by his son Quey’s seeming weakness.

James Collins Quotes in Homegoing

The Homegoing quotes below are all either spoken by James Collins or refer to James Collins. 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

The need to call this thing “good” and this thing “bad,” this thing “white” and this thing “black,” was an impulse that Effia did not understand.

Related Characters: Effia, James Collins, Adwoa
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: Quey Quotes

Quey had wanted to cry but that desire embarrassed him. He knew that he was one of the half-caste children of the Castle, and, like the other half-caste children, he could not fully claim either half of himself, neither his father's whiteness nor his mother’s blackness. Neither England nor the Gold Coast.

Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:

This was how they lived there, in the bush: Eat or be eaten. Capture or be captured. Marry for protection. Quey would never go to Cudjo's village. He would not be weak. He was in the business of slavery, and sacrifices had to be made.

Related Characters: Effia, Quey, James Collins, Nana Yaa, Cudjo Sackee, Fiifi
Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 1: James Quotes

“That was my father and grandfather's work. It is not mine.” He didn’t add that because of their work, he didn’t have to work, but instead could live off the family name and power.

Related Characters: James (speaker), Quey, James Collins, Akosua, Amma Atta
Page Number: 103
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Homegoing LitChart as a printable PDF.
Homegoing PDF

James Collins Character Timeline in Homegoing

The timeline below shows where the character James Collins appears in Homegoing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Effia
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
One of the soldiers, James Collins, says hello to each woman in bad Fante. When he reaches Effia, she giggles. He... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
James Collins is the newly appointed governor of the Cape Coast Castle. Within a week, he comes... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
...must make Abeeku think that it is his own idea for Effia to marry James Collins. To do so, Baaba tells Abeeku that there is evil in Effia’s spirit and that... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
...into the room, and tells Baaba and Cobbe that they are right—Effia should marry James Collins. Cobbe weeps openly, but Baaba is happy. When Abeeku leaves, Baaba gives Effia a black... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
James Collins tries to make Effia comfortable, learning more and more Fante words so that he can... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
...a breeze coming up from holes in the floor. She asks what’s below, and James Collins says “cargo.” She hears a faint crying sound. She asks if there are people down... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
James Collins leads Effia up to his quarters on the top floor. She can see out onto... (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... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...weeks, Effia feels very comfortable in her new routine. She likes the attention that James Collins pays to her and the fact that she doesn’t have to compete with any other... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
...wives, in order to keep their conscience clean with their god. However, Effia and James Collins continue to be more and more affectionate: they teach each other their language, and James... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
One day, Effia asks about James Collins’s British wife. He explains that her name is Anne. They married ten years ago, but... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
On this night, however, James Collins tells Effia that he wants children with her. Effia cringes in worry. First, she thinks... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
When James Collins arrives home that evening, Effia pounces on him. He grows excited by her seduction, but... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
...slaves in the dungeon, she had never thought that they would look like her—that James Collins would return in the evening haunted by seeing women who reminded him of her. (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
In the spring, Effia realizes she is pregnant. James Collins is thrilled at the news. But soon after, they receive word from Effia’s village that... (full context)
Part 1: Esi
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
James Collins and other British soldiers enter the compound. They are the first white men that Esi... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
The dungeon door opens and reveals James Collins. He points to twenty women, including Esi. Another soldier grabs them by the wrists and... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
...smells the ocean as the women are led to the beach. Before she leaves, James Collins looks at her and gives her a smile. For the rest of her life, she... (full context)
Part 1: Quey
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...that he has no friends and doesn’t play with the other village children, but James Collins says that he needs to learn to make friends on his own. Nonetheless, a few... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...way the British are bad. Quey agrees, forgetting for a second that his father, James Collins, is British, and for the first time feeling like he really belongs. (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
James Collins interrupts them, telling them to get up. Quey doesn’t know how long his father has... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
...had messed herself. He thinks of his father, who had received so many slaves; James Collins had died shortly after Quey left for London. He wonders how James felt about what... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...knows she would never want to see Abeeku, because she had genuinely cared for James Collins. And even though Quey hated James, there was a part of him that still wanted... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
...to be better and richer than the British. He began to hate Effia and James Collins, but also himself for the person he had become. (full context)