The Sellout

by

Paul Beatty

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Hominy Jenkins Character Analysis

Hominy is an elderly man and extreme manifestation of the “Uncle Tom” figure (a reference to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin). A former child actor and the last living member of the “Little Rascals,” Hominy has spent his life playing racist caricatures. As a result, he appears to have internalized racism to the point that he attempts to lynch himself; when the narrator saves his live, Hominy voluntarily enslaves himself to him. Hominy is not a very good worker, and the part of slavery he seems to like is simply the subservience itself. He is enthusiastic about the narrator’s plans to re-segregate Dickens. Although Hominy is an odd figure, he is beloved by the narrator, Marpessa, and other residents of Dickens. At the end of the novel, Hominy quits slavery and promises that he and the narrator will need to discuss reparations.
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Hominy Jenkins Character Timeline in The Sellout

The timeline below shows where the character Hominy Jenkins appears in The Sellout. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
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...Dickens was erased, the person who needed the narrator most was an elderly man named Hominy Jenkins. Back in the day, the narrator’s father had sent his son to take care... (full context)
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Hominy’s entire acting career consists of shots of him getting covered in white substances (eggs, paint,... (full context)
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One night, the narrator hears Marpessa say the name “Hominy” in his dreams. He wakes and runs to Hominy’s door, where he finds a note... (full context)
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The narrator asks: “Why, Hominy?” Calling the narrator “massa,” Hominy replies that he wanted to “feel relevant.” The narrator tells... (full context)
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 Hominy says he wants to thank the narrator for saving his life, and then he asks... (full context)
Chapter 6
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The narrator finds slaveholding a tricky business. Hominy has no skills other than subservience, and spends his days at “work” doing whatever he... (full context)
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The narrator regularly takes Hominy to a BDSM club, where he pays for Hominy to be whipped by dominatrices. Although... (full context)
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...where to turn off for Dickens have been removed. He commissions new signs and asks Hominy if it feels better to get whipped or look at the new signs, and Hominy... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...refinery, descends on Dickens. Two weeks after the border is finished, both the narrator and Hominy are woken up at 4 am by the Stank. Hominy offers the narrator some hash,... (full context)
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...especially loved Kafka. Back in the present, Marpessa opens the bus doors and asks after Hominy. The narrator tells her that he has an idea that he needs her help with.... (full context)
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...had a baby, whom she gave the middle name Bonbon. When the narrator asks about Hominy’s birthday present, Marpessa tells him to “get the fuck off the bus.” The narrator boasts... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Later Hominy and the narrator are riding the bus, and Hominy feels like he cannot wait to... (full context)
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The narrator recently realized that Hominy and Rodney King have the same birthday, April 2. He wonders if LA contains “racism... (full context)
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...into a moving party with an open bar, casino, and DJ. Laura Jane dances with Hominy, who grips the overhead pole. (full context)
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Laura Jane kisses Marpessa’s forehead, then returns to Hominy. The narrator stops Marpessa from hitting Laura Jane, which leads Marpessa to accuse the narrator... (full context)
City Lites: An Interlude
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...finding their “soul mate” use a matchmaking service called Sister City Global. Two days after Hominy’s birthday, a City Match Consultant from the company named Susan Silverman calls the narrator and... (full context)
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...pollution, and Kinshasa because Dickens is “too black.” The narrator is too embarrassed to tell Hominy about his failure, so he lies to make it seem like Dickens is still getting... (full context)
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Hominy is so disappointed that he attempts to sell himself, standing on an auction block in... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...rains all summer, and the narrator frets over his crops and his plans for segregation. Hominy loves the idea of re-segregating the school, hoping that it will lead to reverse white... (full context)
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...and suddenly he understands how to segregate the school. The narrator gets home to find Hominy standing protectively by the satsuma tree. Hominy discovered his love of satsumas while working on... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...freshener.” The next day the children come back, asking if the satsumas are ready yet. Hominy tells them a story about a black child who “turns white” by putting flour on... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...make matters worse, the segregation project becomes difficult when he gets “segregation block.” He and Hominy are digging together and trying to come up with ideas. Hominy suggests concentration camps, but... (full context)
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...divided by crop. He realizes that as a farmer, he’s a “natural segregationist.” He asks Hominy what day it is, and on learning it’s Sunday tells him that he is going... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...He realizes that the only reward he will get for bringing back the city is “Hominy’s wide smile.” (full context)
Chapter 20
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...admits that he secretly found re-segregating Dickens quite fun and “sort of empowering.” He and Hominy would go around town sticking up signs that read “COLORED ONLY.” Sometimes the narrator would... (full context)
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...director was a friend of his father’s. In the dark of night, the narrator and Hominy paint “The Bessie Smith Trauma Center” on the glass doors and put up a placard... (full context)
Chapter 22
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...at the LA Festival of Forbidden Cinema and Unabashedly Racist Animation, watching old footage of Hominy. After the screening is over, the host announces that the last living Little Rascal is... (full context)
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...calls “non-ironic blackface,” which earns them jeers from the surrounding crowd. Speaking into the microphone, Hominy says that they didn’t use to call it blackface, just “acting.” The crowd settles down,... (full context)
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...two hours, but when the lights come up again everyone starts to feel guilty. After, Hominy sits in the lobby signing memorabilia. The narrator had forgotten how funny Hominy is, and... (full context)
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...a photo of the Obamas in front of the White House. A white man tells Hominy that he’s “the last real nigger,” adding he means it with the hard “r.” Hominy... (full context)
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...narrator sees a list of names of people who have checked out the ledger—including Foy’s. Hominy gets in the car and puts his arm around Butterfly’s shoulders. As they drive, Butterfly... (full context)
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Hominy, Butterfly, and the narrator arrive at Foy’s house on Mulholland drive. The narrator correctly guesses... (full context)
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Back at Foy’s house, Butterfly and Hominy are skinny dipping in the pool. Hominy pretends he can’t swim, gripping Butterfly to stay... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...Charisma stands with her arms across the entrance to the school, saying: “No Anglos allowed.” Hominy is at Chaff that day, having been invited to “tutor Jim Crow.” Foy is also... (full context)
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...shoots him, and the narrator finds himself lying on the ground, clutching his own blood. Hominy attacks Foy, screaming: “Give me back my Little Rascals movies, motherfucker!” He then cradles the... (full context)
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...his next of kin, he replies that he has a girlfriend but that she’s married. Hominy then announces that “I is something closer than family.” The sheriff’s deputy remarks that Hominy... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...party. He arrives home to find everyone in his den, watching Little Rascals movies with Hominy. Foy was cleared of attempted murder on grounds of insanity, but the narrator won the... (full context)
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The narrator goes outside to cuddle his animals. Hominy joins him and tells him that he’s quitting slavery, adding: “We’ll talk reparations in the... (full context)