Posted in Short Stories

Frank Yerby: The Homecoming

Deal Me In 2021 – Week 47

Up on the edge of the skyline, a man stopped his plowing to wave at the passing train.

‘How come we always do that?’ Willie speculated idly. ‘Don’t know a soul on this train – not a soul – but he got to wave. Oh, well…’

Sergeant Willie Jackson comes home from World War II with a purple heart and an artificial leg in Frank Yerby’s “The Homecoming”. We don’t get too far into the story before we realize that the homecoming isn’t the grand type we usually associate with the word.

Willie encounters racism in the violent manner almost right away. He then encounters it with the white man who seems to think he is some sort of family to Willie. Telling Willie how lucky he was as a kid to go from back door to back door in town to beg for food.

Willie wants to find a new home but leaving isn’t as easy as he thought it might be. The story’s shocking and bizarre ending reveals just how trapped Willie is – after fighting for his home.

This story is included in Black American Short Stories: A Century of the Best edited by John Henrick Clarke. I read it for Week 47 of my Deal Me In 2021 short story project. Check out my Deal Me In list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

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