Yaa Gyasi

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Black Stones Symbol Analysis

Black Stones Symbol Icon

In Homegoing, the black stones that Maame gives to each of her two daughters, Effia and Esi, symbolize a person’s connection to his or her heritage. Effia remains on the Gold Coast (modern-day Ghana), and her stone is passed down through seven generations of her descendants, ending with Marjorie. Esi, on the other hand, is sold into slavery, and right before she is shipped from the Gold Coast to America, she loses the stone in the women’s dungeon of the Cape Coast Castle. Thus, for the characters who remain in Ghana, the stone becomes a symbol of their connection to the culture, and is also a haunting reminder of their family’s participation in the slave trade. In contrast, for the characters in America, the stone symbolizes lost culture, as many of those characters become disconnected from their parents or the rest of their family and feel detached from their Ghanaian heritage due to American slavery. At the end of the novel, when the two final characters from each branch of the family, Marjorie and Marcus, unknowingly meet and travel to Ghana together, Marjorie gives Marcus the stone and welcomes him home to Ghana, thus acknowledging his lost culture and attempting to make amends to help him to regain his connection to the country.

Black Stones Quotes in Homegoing

The Homegoing quotes below all refer to the symbol of Black Stones. 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
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:
Part 2: Marcus Quotes

“Here,” Marjorie said. “Have it.” She lifted the stone from her neck, and placed it around Marcus’s. “Welcome home.”

Related Characters: Marjorie (speaker), Marcus
Related Symbols: Black Stones, Water and Boats
Page Number: 300
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Homegoing LitChart as a printable PDF.
Homegoing PDF

Black Stones Symbol Timeline in Homegoing

The timeline below shows where the symbol Black Stones appears in Homegoing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Quey
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...and English. She also tells him the story of her mother Maame and the black stone Maame had given her. (full context)
Part 2: Yaw
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
...for answers about her mother, she had been able to get back one thing: Effia’s stone pendant. (full context)
Heritage and Identity Theme Icon
Racism, Slavery, and Systemic Oppression Theme Icon
Colonization Theme Icon
Family and Progress Theme Icon
...gone to the fetish priest’s son to make offerings to the ancestors, and seeing the stone necklace, he had said that there was evil in Akua’s lineage. Akua knows that he... (full context)