The Symbolism Of Water In Homegoing By Yaa Gyasi

828 Words4 Pages

Homegoing written by Yaa Gyasi explores the impact of the slave trade on a family split between the U.S. and the Gold Coast of Ghana. The story dedicates an individual chapter to character from a different era and tells a tale that spans across 200 years. Water, is a tool often used by authors, as it exists in many forms, and across cultures is seen as an essential building block for life. Water is the most basic of all archetypes. In writing, different bodies of water often embody different meanings. Rivers often represent the flow of life or fertility. Oceans often represent obstacles that characters must journey across to reach a destination. Additionally, oceans can represent symbolically mysterious places that can force a character to …show more content…

In this instance, water is the means used to chain pinky to slavery and to keep her occupied. Simultaneously, the water that is keeping pinky shackled, is being used by their masters children to cleanse themselves. While these moments are persistent throughout the work, the final chapter places a vivid focus on the role of water. In the final chapter of the novel, water in the form of the ocean, meets fire. This moment is paramount because the ocean serves as the antithesis of the recurring fire motif which sets forth the chain of events that unfold throughout the novel. Gyasi writes,
“It’s not just because I’m scared of drowning. Though I guess I am. It’s because of all that space. It’s because everywhere I look, I see blue, and I have no idea where it begins. When I’m out there, I stay as close as I can to the sand, because at least then I know where it ends.”
She didn’t speak for a while, just continued walking a little bit ahead of him. Maybe she was thinking about fire, the thing she had told him she most feared. Marcus had never seen so much as a picture of her father, but he imagined that he had been a fearsome man with a scar covering one whole side of his face. He imagined that Marjorie feared fire for the same reasons he feared water”(Gyasi

Open Document