Sing, Unburied, Sing


Jesmyn Ward

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Sing, Unburied, Sing: Chapter 15: Jojo Summary & Analysis

Time has passed, and Leonie and Michael only come home to stay for a couple of days in each week. They are both “fish-thin,” and sleep on the sofa together. Sometimes Jojo hears Pop talking to Mam at night, calling her by her first name, Philomène. Sometimes at night Jojo thinks he understands Leonie, but he never has this feeling during the day. Jojo can hear animals and plants speaking, and sometimes he still sees Richie. Richie says he thought he would be able to cross over and go home once he knew how he died. He says he hears “the song” that he wants to be part of, but he can’t get to it. He says there are many other ghosts waiting. Jojo sees them too, and can see their violent, terrible deaths in their eyes. 
In some ways, the end of the novel seems to have not departed very far from the beginning, and this perhaps speaks to the idea of time not moving in a linear fashion but existing all at once. Leonie and Michael are using drugs again, and Richie has still not been able to go “home” to the next part of the afterlife. At the same time, there are also signs of change, perhaps the most important of which is Jojo’s admission that he sometimes feels he understands Leonie––a sign of his increasing maturity.
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Jojo finds Pop, who is holding Kayla. Kayla asks to be put down, and she walks toward the ghosts. Jojo tries to stop her, but she goes anyway. She tells the ghosts: “Go home.” They don’t go, but just stand there swaying. Kayla starts singing, and the ghosts start to cry. Kayla waves her arms, and the ghosts smile, and say: “Yes.” Jojo picks her up and she whispers “shhh.” The ghosts repeat: “Home.”
As a young child, Kayla seems to have a special connection with the ghosts. She is not afraid of them and knows how to make them smile. Although there is no clear resolution at the end of the novel, there is a sense of optimism that the ghosts may eventually be able to get home, and that a new generation with a strong connection to the past (like Kayla with her gift) can hope for something better as well.
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