Homegoing

by

Yaa Gyasi

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Yaw is Akua and Asamoah’s only son. He is resentful of his mother, whose actions have left a permanent scar on his face—in her madness, she set the family’s hut on fire, killing Yaw’s two sisters and badly burning Yaw in the process. He works as a history teacher at a boys’ high school and also hopes that Ghana will gain independence. With the help of his house girl, Esther, he eventually reconciles with his mother. He then marries Esther and has a daughter with her named Marjorie, and the three of them move to Alabama together while Yaw gets a higher degree.

Yaw Quotes in Homegoing

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

“This is the problem of history. We cannot know that which we were not there to see and hear and experience for ourselves. We must rely upon the words of others […] We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story.”

Related Characters: Yaw (speaker), Esi, Ness
Page Number: 226
Explanation and Analysis:

“What I know now my son: Evil begets evil. It grows. It transmutes, so that sometimes you cannot see that the evil in the world began as the evil in your own home. I'm sorry you have suffered.”

Related Characters: Akua / Crazy Woman (speaker), Yaw, Marjorie, Marcus
Page Number: 242
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

Yaw Character Timeline in Homegoing

The timeline below shows where the character Yaw appears in Homegoing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2: Akua
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...sleep without dreaming of fire. She thinks that she’ll be alright, and when her son Yaw is born, she knows he will be alright, too. (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...her any joy are her children. She goes on long walks with her daughters, slinging Yaw in a wrapper. But one day, Abee mentions that the villagers call her Crazy Woman... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...to weep; Akua thinks that she must still be asleep. He says that he rescued Yaw, and his son will need Akua. When he asks if he has not lost enough... (full context)
Part 2: Yaw
Colonization Theme Icon
Yaw is sitting in his classroom, staring at the title of his book, Let the Africans... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
That night, Yaw eats dinner with Edward Boahen, a fellow teacher at the Roman Catholic school where Yaw... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Edward tells Yaw that he should go to America to finish his schooling and to help lead the... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
At the end of dinner, Edward’s wife offers to introduce Yaw to a nice girl, but he leaves abruptly. He walks home and sees boys playing... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
It is Yaw’s tenth year of teaching at the school. He teaches fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds. He starts his... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Yaw then asks whose story is correct. He says that the problem of history is that... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
What Yaw had heard about his scar was this: his mother, Akua, had set the hut on... (full context)
Colonization Theme Icon
...semester passes. In June, a political leader starts the Convention People’s Party and Edward joins. Yaw still goes to Edward and his wife’s house for dinner, but does so far less... (full context)
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Esther is a plain girl. On her first day of work, Yaw shows her to her room and tells her that he spends most of his time... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Esther interrupts Yaw’s work tentatively, saying “excuse me” in English. As soon as Yaw tells her she can... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...market, Esther buys a goat for soup. She says her soup is so good that Yaw would think his mother had made it. She then asks where his mother is. He... (full context)
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Five years pass, and Yaw realizes that he is in love with Esther. He watches her work and is upset... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
When Yaw and Esther reach the town in their car, a young boy points out Yaw’s face.... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
When Esther and Yaw go back to Kofi Poku’s house for dinner, the children realize that he is “Crazy... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
As Yaw and Esther eat dinner, he asks what to expect from Akua. Kofi Poku explains that... (full context)
Family and Progress Theme Icon
The next evening, Kofi Poku brings Yaw and Esther to Akua’s house and leaves them. Yaw knocks, and the girl who answers... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Akua puts her hands on Yaw’s scar and pulls him into an embrace. He begins to cry. After staying still a... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...done wrong, and who could not see the result of that wrong. She apologizes to Yaw for what he has suffered. (full context)
Part 2: Marjorie
Gender Stereotypes, Sexism, and Violence Theme Icon
Marjorie goes home and asks Yaw when he knew he liked Esther. Esther asks if she likes someone, or if someone... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Marjorie is working on her poem when Yaw gets a call from Ghana, saying that Akua is very frail. Marjorie speaks to her... (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...history at the Castle, to slavery, and to a lost sister. When she looks up, Yaw is standing at the door, but she cannot see the tears running down his face. (full context)