Sing, Unburied, Sing

by

Jesmyn Ward

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Big Joseph Character Analysis

Big Joseph is Michael’s father, and Jojo is named after him. He is a cruel man and an ardent racist. He helps to cover up Given’s murder, pretending that Michael’s cousin killed Given by accident. He also calls Leonie a “nigger” and refuses to acknowledge his biracial grandchildren at all.
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Big Joseph Character Timeline in Sing, Unburied, Sing

The timeline below shows where the character Big Joseph appears in Sing, Unburied, Sing. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Jojo
Family, Heritage, and Homecoming Theme Icon
Animals and Nature Theme Icon
Illness, Wounds, and Death Theme Icon
Race, Racism, and Miscegenation Theme Icon
...shed and Pop unties the “unlucky” goat. Jojo tells the reader that his other grandfather, Big Joseph , is white. Jojo lives with Pop and has only met Big Joseph twice. Big... (full context)
Chapter 2: Leonie
Family, Heritage, and Homecoming Theme Icon
Animals and Nature Theme Icon
Illness, Wounds, and Death Theme Icon
Race, Racism, and Miscegenation Theme Icon
...him. Later Michael’s uncle slapped his son for this, saying, “This ain’t the old days.” Big Joseph called the police and told them it was a hunting accident. Michael’s cousin was sentenced... (full context)
Family, Heritage, and Homecoming Theme Icon
Animals and Nature Theme Icon
Illness, Wounds, and Death Theme Icon
Feeding, Healing, and Care Theme Icon
Race, Racism, and Miscegenation Theme Icon
...spending time together. Back in the present, Leonie gets to Michaels’ parents house and sees Big Joseph out mowing the lawn. Leonie turns the car around and, as she drives away, gives... (full context)
Chapter 10: Leonie
Family, Heritage, and Homecoming Theme Icon
Feeding, Healing, and Care Theme Icon
Race, Racism, and Miscegenation Theme Icon
...unable to look at either of them. They drive to Michael’s parents’ house in silence. Big Joseph answers the door and hugs Michael. Michael’s mother Maggie joins them, suggesting that they come... (full context)
Family, Heritage, and Homecoming Theme Icon
Illness, Wounds, and Death Theme Icon
Race, Racism, and Miscegenation Theme Icon
Michael head-butts Big Joseph and they begin to wrestle one another. Leonie feels panicked but also strangely amused, thinking... (full context)