Transcendent Kingdom

by

Yaa Gyasi

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Han is Gifty’s lab partner at Stanford, where his research involves imaging the neural circuits involved in reward expectation. He is shy and reticent with Gifty at first, and his ears turn red when she talks to him. Over time, however, he becomes more open with her and invites her to parties at his home, where he is much more relaxed and personable. It’s clear that he like Gifty, and that his blushing is, in part, a response to her, although she doesn’t notice this and is surprised when he asks her out on a date. Eventually, Han’s good sense of humor and quiet friendship allows Gifty to open up about her mother’s illness and Nana’s death. By the end of the book, Han and Gifty are a well-established couple.

Han Quotes in Transcendent Kingdom

The Transcendent Kingdom quotes below are all either spoken by Han or refer to Han. 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:
Science and Religion Theme Icon
).
Chapter 50 Quotes

It took me many years to realize that it’s hard to live in this world. I don’t mean the mechanics of living, because for most of us, our hearts will beat, our lungs will take in oxygen, without us doing anything at all to tell them to. For most of us, mechanically, physically, it’s harder to die than it is to live. But still we try to die. We drive too fast down winding roads, we have sex with strangers without wearing protection, we drink, we use drugs. We try to squeeze a little more out of our lives. It’s natural to want to do that. But to be alive in the world, every day, as we are given more and more and more, as the nature of “what we can handle” changes and our methods for how we handle it change, too, that’s something of a miracle.

Related Characters: Gifty (speaker), Mother , Anne, Raymond, Katherine, Han
Page Number: 261
Explanation and Analysis:
Epilogue Quotes

I wish I were trying to figure out how to clone an alien, but my work pursuits are much more modest: neurons and proteins and mammals. I’m no longer interested in other worlds or spiritual planes. I’ve seen enough in a mouse to understand transcendence, holiness, redemption. In people, I’ve seen even more.

From the back pew, Christ’s face is the portrait of ecstasy. I stare at it, and it changes, goes from angry to pained to joyful. Some days, I sit there for hours, some days mere minutes, but I never bow my head. I never pray, never wait to hear God’s voice, I just look. I sit in blessed silence, and I remember. I try to make order, make sense, make meaning of the jumble of it all. Always, I light two candles before I go.

Related Characters: Gifty (speaker), Mother , Han
Page Number: 288
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Transcendent Kingdom LitChart as a printable PDF.
Transcendent Kingdom PDF

Han Character Timeline in Transcendent Kingdom

The timeline below shows where the character Han appears in Transcendent Kingdom. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Self-Discovery, Identity, and Individuality Theme Icon
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
On the day that Gifty found her mice injured, her lab mate, Han, found her weeping in a corner. He tried to comfort her, but she imagined him... (full context)
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
On the day of her mother’s arrival, Han is in the lab before Gifty. They don’t talk much; if she says more than... (full context)
Chapter 8
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
...Gifty and her mother aren’t talking. One night, when she goes to a party at Han’s house, she approaches her colleague, Katherine. She’s wary around Katherine, whom she feels overshares. Katherine... (full context)
Chapter 22
Science and Religion Theme Icon
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
...mice look like they belong in a science fiction movie. When she mentions this to Han, he confirms that they are, indeed, creating cyborgs, which sends him into a lengthy monologue... (full context)
Chapter 23
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
...work to boredom at home, which is painful since she’s always hoping it will change. Han also spends a lot of time in the lab, driven by his work. (full context)
Chapter 28
Addiction, Depression, and Control Theme Icon
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
...too attached to the limping mouse. She feels sorry for it. One day, she asks Han if he’s ever tried Ensure. It’s been a year since they’ve shared the lab and... (full context)
Chapter 34
Addiction, Depression, and Control Theme Icon
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
...the drugs stop providing euphoria and only offer relief from withdrawal. She attended a lecture Han gave on imaging of what it looks like in the brain when a person expects... (full context)
Chapter 40
Science and Religion Theme Icon
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
One day, Han stops by Gifty’s office after Katherine dropped off a strawberry cake. He offers to get... (full context)
Chapter 50
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
At the lab, Han is celebrating getting a publication in Nature. Gifty brings him a cupcake and sings him... (full context)
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
Han breaks Gifty’s reverie by asking her on a dinner date. She tries to brush him... (full context)
Epilogue
Science and Religion Theme Icon
Trauma, Caretaking, and Intimacy  Theme Icon
Han and Gifty are a couple. He was with her when her mother eventually died of... (full context)