Homegoing

by

Yaa Gyasi

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Homegoing can help.

Maame Character Analysis

Maame is Esi and Effia’s biological mother. She had been a house girl for Cobbe Otcher when he raped her, making her pregnant with Effia. However, the night she gave birth to Effia, a fire raged through the Fante village, and Maame had been able to escape. She then married Big Man. She leaves each of her daughters a black stone to remember her by, symbolizing their heritage. The chance difference between her two daughters’ fates leads to an irreversible legacy, as Esi is sold into slavery and Effia marries a British colonist named James Collins.

Maame Quotes in Homegoing

The Homegoing quotes below are all either spoken by Maame or refer to Maame. 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:
Part 1: Esi Quotes

“Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.”

Related Characters: Maame (speaker), Esi, Abronoma, Kwame Asare / Big Man
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
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:
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

Maame Character Timeline in Homegoing

The timeline below shows where the character Maame appears in Homegoing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Effia
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...is not Effia’s mother. Effia is actually the child of Cobbe and a house girl (Maame) who ran away into the fire the night Effia was born. The stone that Effia... (full context)
Part 1: Esi
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
...small village to Big Man (who at that time was known as Kwame Asare) and Maame. Esi’s father was not a chief, but he was the best warrior in the village.... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
...hears the men’s rallying cries and spills a bit of hot oil on her mother, Maame. Maame chastises her, telling her to be careful around fire. But she doesn’t stay mad... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
...wars, some of whom are then taken by villagers as slaves and servants. Esi asks Maame what happens to the extra prisoners; her mother tells her that that’s “boys’ talk.” (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Maame, for her part, had refused for many years to choose a house girl. But with... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
The next day, Esi and Maame choose a girl and name her Abronoma: “Little Dove.” However, they quickly discover that she... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Maame returns to her hut and pulls out her own switch, which she has never used.... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Maame is very upset after the beating, and she watches Abronoma sleep. Esi tries to comfort... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
...a big man, too, and now look what has become of her. She hints that Maame had also been a house girl. Esi is surprised by this news. (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Abronoma explains that Maame had been a slave for a Fante family. She goes on to say that Maame... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Esi thinks about Maame and starts to acknowledge some of the remnants of her former life: how her shoulders... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
...is upon their village. Big Man jumps up and grabs his machete. He screams at Maame to take Esi into the woods. Esi grabs a small knife and places it in... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
...bursts in, laughing and dancing at her father’s arrival. Outside, people are screaming and running. Maame gives Esi a black stone that she had been keeping for Esi’s wedding day, saying... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Esi wants to ask more questions, but the noise outside grows louder, and Maame tells her to go. Esi sees that her mother cannot will herself to come with... (full context)
Part 1: Quey
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...She teaches him Fante and English. She also tells him the story of her mother Maame and the black stone Maame had given her. (full context)
Part 1: Ness
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
...five lashes for each minute of Ness’s silence. Before the lashes, Esi had called Ness “Maame” after her own mother, Maame. But the master had whipped Esi for that as well,... (full context)