Homegoing

by

Yaa Gyasi

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Quey Character Analysis

Quey is the son of James Collins and Effia. As a biracial man, Quey doesn’t feel like he fits in with any culture. He is constantly afraid of appearing weak and disappointing his father, and so he reluctantly takes up his father’s business of slave trading. In addition, even though it is implied that he is attracted to men (particularly his childhood friend Cudjo), he marries a girl named Nana Yaa in order to make his father and his uncle Fiifi proud. He comes to expect the same prioritization of family above personal fulfillment from his own son, James, who is not as eager to please his father as Quey was. James goes against Quey’s wishes by rejecting the slave trade altogether and living with a poor Asante girl named Akosua.

Quey Quotes in Homegoing

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

“There's more at stake here than just slavery, my brother. It's a question of who will own the land, the people, the power. You cannot stick a knife in a goat and then say, Now I will remove my knife slowly, so let things be easy and clean, let there be no mess. There will always be blood.”

Related Characters: Quey (speaker), James, Nana Yaa
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

“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

Quey Character Timeline in Homegoing

The timeline below shows where the character Quey appears in Homegoing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Quey
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Quey lies awake in the village where his mother, Effia, grew up. He pictures the prisoners... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Quey had been sent to the village because the British had enjoyed a longstanding relationship with... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
In the morning, Quey goes to see his uncle Fiifi, who welcomes him into his hut for a meal.... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
...have finished speaking, and then speaks up and chooses a mate. The village, he tells Quey, must act like the female bird, waiting for the companies to pay more and more... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Quey had been a lonely child. When Quey was born, James had built a hut close... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...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 him. She teaches him Fante and... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Quey laments that their family is so small, unlike the other families. Effia worries that he... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
While their fathers conduct business, Quey and Cudjo walk off to a different side of the Castle. Cudjo asks if Quey... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Quey and Cudjo quickly become friends. Two weeks later, Quey visits Cudjo’s village—the first village he... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...snail Richard because he is a bad snail, like the way the British are bad. Quey agrees, forgetting for a second that his father, James Collins, is British, and for the... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
The boys grow older. Quey grows in height while Cudjo grows in muscle. Cudjo becomes known for his wrestling prowess,... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Cudjo tries to get Quey to wrestle, but Quey tells him to get “Richard” to wrestle him. The boys had... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
...white man. Many other soldiers gather to watch, and Cudjo brings his father and brothers. Quey watches as well. A minute after the match begins, Cudjo has the soldier pinned. More... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
...to the village, while Cudjo plans to spend the night at Cape Coast Castle with Quey. Quey then says he’ll wrestle Cudjo, tackling him to the ground. Within seconds, Cudjo is... (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 been watching, but hears the measured threat and... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Back at the meeting with Fiifi, Quey remembers that Cudjo had recently asked to see him, hearing that Quey had returned from... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Quey goes to oversee the boys transporting slaves. On this day, there are only five slaves,... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Quey sees Abeeku Badu in the village, already drunk. Abeeku tells Quey that he should tell... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Weeks go by, and Quey does not answer Cudjo’s request to see him. Instead, he dives into work. Trade has... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Cudjo greets Quey, asking why he hasn’t returned his message. Quey says he didn’t have time. Cudjo looks... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Quey wonders why Cudjo would comment on the fact that he is unmarried, and how he... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Four weeks later, Quey is summoned to the slave cellar. Fiifi has returned with a large gash, and Fiifi’s... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Quey tells Fiifi that the Asantes will not forgive what he has done. Fiifi says that... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
...girl approaches Fiifi with food, but he says that she must serve his “son” first. Quey wonders why he says that—Quey is not his son. Fiifi reminds him that mothers and... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...because he has sons but no sisters. He wants to leave what he has to Quey, to make up for the way that Baaba treated Effia. Fiifi tells Quey that tomorrow... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
Quey resolves not to be weak. He would not go to Cudjo’s village. He would marry... (full context)
Part 1: James
Colonization Theme Icon
James’s father, Quey, returns from the Castle with a white man. He motions to James to join them.... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
Quey explains that Nana Yaa wants to go to the funeral, but the white man says... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
James holds a gun as he, Quey, and Nana Yaa ride through the forest in a carriage. Nana Yaa and Quey argue... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
After days of travel, they spend the night in Dunkwa with David, a friend of Quey’s from his time in England. When they arrive, Nana Yaa goes immediately to bed, but... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
David asks if James is going to marry soon, and Quey explains that he has chosen a wife for James to marry. Her name is Amma... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
David asks Quey if it’s true that the British are going to abolish slavery. Quey shrugs and says... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
The next morning, James, Nana Yaa, and Quey set out once again. They pass little towns and villages, where Quey’s light skin attracts... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
...should go to Mampanyin, the apothecary. He agrees to go the next day. His father, Quey, and many others had always called the apothecary a witch doctor. When he goes to... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...so bad as to want to escape it. He has all but resolved to continue Quey’s work when Effia visits. (full context)