In her latest novel Home, Toni Morrison explores the life of a 24-year old African American veteran from the Korean War. Frank Money grew up in a small town called Lotus in the warm climate of Georgia. As a child he, his family and their neighbors were driven from their home in Texas by hooded men, forced to abandon their land, crops and property. In Lotus his parents worked sixteen hours a day in the cotton fields and die early on, “one of lung disease, another of a stroke,” leaving him and his sister to their cruel grandparents (Morrison 34). Soon Lotus became for him “the worst place in the world, worse than any battlefield” (Morrison 83). For Frank and Cee “there was no future, just long stretches of killing time” (Morrison 83). As soon as they were old enough, they left Lotus each searching for their new and better “home.” Frank looks for home in the Army, as he and his “homeboys” recruited for the Korean War. Cee flees to Atlanta with a man she married but hardly knows, and is quickly abandoned. They both are continuously searching for a better replacement of their childhood home, a place where they can find security, peace and shelter.
Morrison cross-cuts Frank’s story with that of his sister for a reason. The parallel she makes is to show us that the meaning of “home” is both personal and universal – a community, a family, or a relationship where people can feel comfortable and nurtured. After returning from the integrated army in Korea, Frank discovers that mid-20th-century America is just as he left it, segregated and full of hardships. He has seen his best friends die on the battlefield, young girls searching for food and finding soldiers, innocent people die for nothing. Suffering from PTSD, he is like a wanderer chased by his own memories. He constantly tries, but can hardly escape from the “horrible pictures” (Morrison 24). No matter what he used to dull his mental disorder – from alcohol to casual sex and relationships - violence was always...
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