full title Homecoming
author Cynthia Voigt
type of work Novel
genre Young adult problem novel, adventure/accomplishment romance, quest novel
time and place written Annapolis, Maryland, late 1970s
date of first publication 1981
narrator Anonymous narrator closely allied with Dicey's perspective
point of view The narrator speaks in third person, divulging Dicey's perceptions, thoughts, and emotions. Other characters are portrayed from the outside, according to Dicey's perception of them.
tone The narrator speaks in a straightforward tone, describing the children's dramatic situations in a reporter-like style. The narrator attempts to accurately portray a young person's thoughts and perceptions.
tense Simple past, with brief flashbacks to life with Momma
setting (time) Late 1970s
setting (place) Connecticut and Maryland
protagonist Dicey Tillerman
major conflict Dicey and her siblings, abandoned by their mentally ill mother, try desperately to find a home with relatives whom they barely know
rising action The abandoned children travel for hundreds of miles on foot and almost no money to their cousin's house in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Their cousin, however, is a fussy and joyless woman, and though she agrees to take them in, the children know they will not be happy there. The children leave to visit their grandmother, of whom they had never heard before they arrived in Bridgeport, and to see if she will take them in. The children travel by bus, boat, foot, and car, and after a series of perilous events, reach their grandmother's run down farm. Their grandmother, however, flatly refuses to take them in.
climax Their grandmother lets them stay on the farm for several days, and during that time grows fond of them. At dinner one day, however, she and Dicey conflict over what punishment Sammy should receive for disobeying Dicey. Dicey feels that even if it costs them their future at the farm, she must protect Sammy, and their grandmother firmly tells them that she does not want them to stay.
falling action Gram tells Dicey later that night that she is afraid of repeating the same mistakes she made with her own children, and thus cannot take them in. A few days later, however, when Gram is about to mail a letter to their cousin in Bridgeport asking her to come for the children, Gram relents and agrees to take the children in.
themes The transformative power of breaking conventions and habits; family as home; and the connection between freedom and abandonment
motifs Money; theft; fighting
symbols Sailboats; honeysuckle; song
foreshadowing Dicey's repetition of Gram's address the very night after they arrive in Bridgeport foreshadows their departure for Crisfield from Bridgeport; Dicey's repetition of Momma's exact words when she leaves her siblings to meet their grandmother foreshadows some sort of repetition of the abandonment that began the book; Dicey's discovery of the boat foreshadows their making a home for themselves at their grandmother's