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Summary

Introduction

Home is Toni Morrison’s tenth novel. Published in 2012, it received positive reviews and became a national bestseller. Critics praised Morrison’s use of language and the simplicity of the narrative. Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 and was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015. Her novels focus on the stories of black people in America, especially African American women.

Home follows the story of Korean War veteran Frank Money, an African American man who grew up in Lotus, Georgia. After the war, Frank struggles with alcoholism and post-traumatic stress disorder. Listless and sad, the only thing that can break Frank’s stupor is a letter warning him that his beloved younger sister, Cee, is in danger. Frank, revitalized, travels to Atlanta in order to save Cee. Along the way, he reflects on his experiences during the war, his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Lily, and the discrimination he faces as an African American man in 1950s America.

The novel alternates between first- and third-person narration. The third-person chapters explore stories from the lives of both Frank and the women in his life. These include stories about his sister, Cee, his ex-girlfriend, Lily, and his step grandmother, Lenore. The first-person narration is told in retrospect as Frank reflects on his experiences. These chapters distance Frank from the narrator of the third-person sections. There are also subtle inconsistencies between Frank’s first-person reflections and the third-person accounts, suggesting that truth differs depending on the type of story being told.

Plot Summary

Toni Morrison’s novel Home opens with Frank Money narrating an event from his childhood where he and his younger sister, Cee, snuck into a cordoned-off field. They watch in awe as two stallions fight, and Frank remarks on the beauty of the horses. On their way home, they see a group of men burying a body, which horrifies Cee. Frank claims he forgot about the body but still remembers the beauty of the horses that “stood like men.”

The narrative switches to third person as an adult Frank plots his escape from a mental hospital. A few days earlier, Frank received a letter telling him that Cee is in danger and that he needs to rescue her. After successfully escaping in the middle of the night, Frank is left without shoes. After walking six blocks in the snow, he knocks on the door of a church. Reverend John Locke and his wife give Frank shoes, food, and money. They help Frank leave for Georgia to rescue his sister.

As he journeys by bus and train, Frank reflects on his post-war life. After serving in an integrated army regiment during the Korean War, Frank experiences violent episodes and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. His ex-girlfriend, Lily, helped calm him. However, Frank admits that he was not the best boyfriend and that he could never keep a job. He and Lily parted on tense terms. In Chicago, Frank goes to a diner willing to serve black customers and meets Billy Watson. Billy lets Frank stay the night at his house and then takes him shopping at Goodwill for new clothes.

In first person, Frank recounts his family’s move to Georgia and Cee’s birth. When Frank was four, all of the black residents of Bandera County in Texas were told to evacuate. The Moneys were poor and did not have a car, so they abandoned most of their belongings. His mother gave birth in a church basement shortly after the evacuation and named her daughter Ycidra—Cee for short.

The story shifts back to third person and tells Cee’s story. After being forced to evacuate, the Moneys arrive in Lotus, Georgia, to stay with relatives. Cee’s step grandmother, Lenore, resented their presence and either ignores Frank and Cee or beats them. Cee ended up relying on Frank for everything. However, after Frank joined the army, she was left by herself.

She blames her childhood over-reliance on her brother for her running away with a boy named...

(The entire section is 1,707 words.)