Intangible Thief: Slavery, Status, and the Idea of Home in 'Homegoing' and 'The Odyssey' College
In her debut novel Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi explores the concept of a home as a function of both family and community: if specific characters are to truly establish a sense of belonging within a region, they must have not only the support of a powerful familial network, but also a respected and gratifying position within society. By this logic, a home may be both lost and gained through the laying or breaking of the foundations of these dual pillars. Growing up trapped within the institution of slavery, H never held claim to the experience of a true home; however, upon reconnecting with Ethe and garnering respect from his community via his leadership in the labor union, he learns to define this concept. Alternatively, though Kojo felt accepted in Baltimore as a man loved by his family and respected through his trade, the sudden loss of the former catalyzed the eventual destruction of this ideal. A similar theme may be observed in Homer’s The Odyssey, however, over the course of Odysseus’s twenty-year journey, he never regarded his home as lost: only temporarily distanced. This dichotomy may be conceptualized through the lens of slavery, under which a home is so impermanent that it may be created or snatched away at any given...
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