Frank Money, a 24-year old war veteran from Korea struggles to find the meaning of home as he drifts from one place to the next. However, when his sister is need of help, Money must make a journey that will unravel a past that continues to haunt him and, in the process, help him find his true place in life.
Toni Morrison continues her writing on human tragedy through “Home” as she tells the story of a man who struggles to find a true definition of the word after returning from war. “Home” focuses on African- American characters as it follows Money through his suffering with gambling and drinking problems as he is haunted by his past.
After learning that his sister, Cee, is in need of help, Money realizes he must go to her to provide assistance to his only close family member. As Money travels back to his childhood residence, he must relive memories of harsh goodbyes and growing up as his sister’s only protector.
The story, in a similar style to Morrison’s “Beloved,” is filled with past memories which jump from different perspectives as well as different times, flashing back to childhood and wartime memories from both the perspectives of Money, his past girlfriend and his sister.
On his journey to his sister, Money tells a story from war about a little Korean girl who is shot by another member of the military after approaching him inappropriately. The fear of being corrupt drives the man to shoot the girl, despite the harsh reality of death. This memory seems to haunt Money along with other skewed memories from his childhood and war. Later, however, Money must face the truth of what really happened in Korea to the girl and the realities of his time at war and their impact on his life.
Morrison ends the novel similarly to her other pieces of literature such as “Beloved”: in a community setting. She brings her characters together to mend some of the tragedies that they have faced. Morrison’s unique writing style shines once again as she uses rich vocabulary and changing perspectives to convey her message about the importance of community.
Morrison uses her writing style to portray different sides of the story. However, if one is not paying attention, she easily confuses the reader with a continuous change in perspectives. With her at times confusing writing style and discussion of tragedy that most are not familiar with, “Home” is somewhat hard to relate to despite the reality of its words.
This is in part due to the fact that most readers were not Korean war veterans, nor so harshly discriminated against because of the color of their skin. Despite this, even if one underwent these hardships, the severity of each tragedy is brought to the surface in Morrison’s novel, presenting readers with the challenge of fully understanding the motivations of each character in such difficult times.
Due to its complexity and discussion of hardships unfamiliar to most readers, “Home” does not stray far from Morrison’s other novels and would be best recommended for those with the purpose of book-analysis in mind. That being said, it does offer a good story that entertains and keeps readers on their toes.
Money’s journey to his sister presents tragedies mixed with everyday life events such as new jobs, love and at times, feeling completely lost. This makes the story realistic in that it does not simply state tragedies, once again proving the complexity of Morrison’s writing.
If you have never read one of Morrison’s novels before, keep in mind that they would not be considered light or breezy pleasure reads, nor is “Home” a thrill read. However, the hardships that occur within the book are deeply moving, making it unique and definitely a worth-your-while read.