Homegoing

by

Yaa Gyasi

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Kojo / Jo Character Analysis

Kojo is Sam and Ness’s son. He escapes the plantation with Ma Aku as a baby, and Ma Aku brings him to freedom in the North, where she raises him as an adopted son. He then works as a free man on boats in Baltimore and starts a family with his wife, Anna. Even though he is a free man in a city that is relatively friendly towards black people, slavery still exists and its specter torments him. Once the Fugitive Slave Act is passed (which means that Kojo, as a runaway, can legally be sent back into slavery), Kojo develops a deep fear of law enforcement officials, avoiding them whenever possible. Right after the Fugitive Slave Act is passed, Anna wife is kidnapped, leaving Kojo a heartbroken and terrified single father to their daughter, Agnes. He never knows the son that Anna was pregnant with, H, when she was kidnapped.

Kojo / Jo Quotes in Homegoing

The Homegoing quotes below are all either spoken by Kojo / Jo or refer to Kojo / Jo. 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: Kojo Quotes

He loved the look of those boats, loved that his hands helped build and maintain them, but Ma Aku always said it was bad juju, him and all the other freed Negroes working on ships. She said there was something evil about them building up the things that had brought them to America in the first place, the very things that had tried to drag them under.

Related Characters: Kojo / Jo, Ma Aku, Anna
Related Symbols: Water and Boats
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:

He would never truly know who his people were, and who their people were before them, and if there were stories to be heard about where he had come from, he would never hear them.

Related Characters: Esi, Ness, Kojo / Jo, Ma Aku, Sam, Anna
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Homegoing LitChart as a printable PDF.
Homegoing PDF

Kojo / Jo Character Timeline in Homegoing

The timeline below shows where the character Kojo / Jo appears in Homegoing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Ness
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...waiting. She had made Sam wait outside when she was in labor with their son, Kojo. Following Kojo’s birth, Sam rarely made trouble and became a good, hard worker. When he... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Ness and Sam started planning to escape when Jo turned one year old. They waited until spring for Aku to come get them. When... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Days passed this way. One day, Ness asked Aku to take Jo for the night because her back was aching. That morning, the dogs came with the... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
The Devil had asked where the boy was. Ness told him that Jo died. The Devil then took her and Sam back to Hell. Once there, he stripped... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...like a prayer, asking for forgiveness of her sins, deliverance from evil, and protection for Jo. (full context)
Part 1: Kojo
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Someone has robbed the boat that Jo is working on, which means that the police will come searching the boat and asking... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Jo asks his friend, Poot, to cover for him, and Jo jumps off the boat. As... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Jo walks down the street, knowing that he should go help his pregnant wife, Anna, at... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Jo then swings by the Mathison house, where Anna and Ma Aku are cleaning. He buys... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
When Jo had seen Anna for the first time, walking on the street, he had been mesmerized... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
When Jo had first heard them speak this way years prior, he had been heartened by their... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Jo, Anna, and Ma Aku return to their apartment. Inside, their seven kids are playing. Each... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Jo strives to be a good father, because he knows that his father never got the... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Jo and Anna get all of the kids to sleep. As Anna undresses, Jo tells her... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
The next morning, Jo goes back to work. Poot tells him that the police asked the usual questions, but... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Towards the end of the day, Jo sees Anna on the dock, which is odd because he usually finishes his work day... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Mr. Mathison tells Jo that there’s a new law being drafted by the South that would require law enforcement... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Later that night, Jo explains what Mr. Mathison said. He knows that Ma Aku would never leave Baltimore, and... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
The next day, Jo asks Poot if he would leave Baltimore. Poot says no, claiming that Baltimore is a... (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. Two weeks later, the... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Jo had been to church only once since the day he and Ma Aku were kicked... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Jo agrees to let Timmy marry Agnes. They marry the next month, the morning the Fugitive... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
...a few weeks, people start to move up to Canada by the hundreds. Mathison tells Jo to always carry his free papers. In the mornings, Jo makes the children practice showing... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Then one day, Anna doesn’t come home. Jo asks Ma Aku where she is, and she says that Anna was going to pick... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Timmy draws a picture of Anna, and the next day Jo carries it around with him, asking everyone he meets if they have seen her, but... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
The officer asks if he’s a runaway. Jo starts to shake, and says that he was born free in Baltimore. The officer tells... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
...boy who says he saw a white man take a pregnant woman into his carriage. Jo assumes that they sold her. Mathison says that they don’t know that, but his voice... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Jo crawls into bed with Ma Aku, resting his head on her as he had done... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...dies, Agnes has three children, and the other kids have since married or moved out. Jo is still depressed, seeing Anna everywhere. He goes to New York, unable to look at... (full context)