Reads with Reena: Home by Toni Morrison

posted in: Opinion | 0

Home by Toni Morrison is a jam-packed novel, offering far more than its slender size would suggest. It centers on the life of Frank Money, a veteran of the Korean War who hates his hometown in Georgia. Frank is traumatized by his experiences overseas, and seeks relief from his memories in alcohol and wandering. However, he receives notice that his younger sister, Ycidra (also known as Cee) is in grave danger. The story follows his journey back to Georgia to rescue Cee, as well as Cee’s personal transformation.

Although Frank is arguably the main character in this novel, I feel that Cee’s story is the most profound. She grows up being told that she is nothing, and cowers in the face of the world. She was a trembling, obedient child, who consistently depended on her older brother to guide and protect her. However, throughout the book she uses the horrible realities of her world to grow into a tough, independent woman like those who surround her – women who became strong in the face of adversity, who grew lives for themselves out of nothing.

However, Frank Money is also a fascinating character. His hometown, Lotus, was always too slow and dull for his taste. But once he experiences the horrors of the world, both in his surroundings and in himself, he is forever changed; Lotus becomes a beautiful haven, and finally feels like home.

Toni Morrison makes sections of her novel almost like interviews with Frank Money; he addresses her and the readers in the first person, and allows us a deeper insight into his mind. He admits to not completely telling his interviewer the truth, and thereby causes us to question the validity of the story he offers.

This book contains many disturbing aspects, branches of the story that are horrifying and nauseating. However, Home is a powerful novel dealing with race, violence, and the transformation that one can undergo when he leaves home.

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