Homer spent the whole of The Underground Railroad helping Ridgeway catching men and women who looked like him. Why would the 10-year-old do that?
At first, you’d think Homer is a young slave who is simply trying to survive. However, that’s not the case. When Ridgeway bought Homer for $5, Ridgeway freed the boy the next day. Homer chose to remain with Ridgeway after that.
Part of it would certainly have been survival. As a Back child, Homer had few prospects, even as a freedman. He would have had to prove that all the time, and there was always going to be a fight to get food and find shelter. It made more sense for this 10-year-old boy to remain with someone who could feed and clothe him.
Ridgeway offered that. And it wasn’t like Ridgeway freed the boy just to send him on his way. He accepts this young boy as someone to help him.
Homer is a devastating character you want to save on The Underground Railroad
While there will be some anger toward Homer for helping the slave catcher, there is a devastating element to this character. After all, he’s at a young and impressionable age, learning from a man he thinks he can trust. This isn’t like Black adults choosing to turn against their own for their own protection. Homer starts to believe some of the things that have been said to him.
In fact, Homer doesn’t even feel safe on a night without shackling himself in the wagon. This isn’t something Ridgeway orders, but something Homer chooses to do. He’d spent so many nights shackled that it’s just normal for him.
Ridgeway has groomed Homer. There’s this weird dynamic between the two that can lead to a lot of hatred. It’s clear at the very end of The Underground Railroad the Homer is loyal to Ridgeway to the end. He curses Cora’s name, threatening vengeance after Cora kills Ridgeway and runs off.
The scary thing is that his beliefs will now run so deep that he will continue to cause problems for people that look like him. That hatred for his own people runs deep.
By the way, this was the character Barry Jenkins struggled with the most on The Underground Railroad, according to TV Guide.
What did you think of Homer’s story on The Underground Railroad? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
The Underground Railroad is available on Amazon Prime Video.