Study Guide

Homecoming Plot Analysis

By Cynthia Voigt

Plot Analysis

Exposition

Road Trip

Things aren't looking good for the Tillerman family, so Momma has packed some food and clothes in the middle of the night, and is taking the kids on a car ride to see her rich Aunt Cilla in Bridgeport. Maybe she can help since they have no money and no place to stay? Fingers crossed because Momma has been acting really strange lately.

Complications

Hit the Road, Tillermans

When Momma parks the car in the middle of a mall parking lot and leaves the kids to fend for themselves, things turn from really bad to really, really bad just like that. Dicey decides that the kids should just walk to Bridgeport on their own—she can't see a better option—so off they go. Along the way, they go hungry, sleep outside, and nearly get arrested. It's definitely not a pleasant adventure, but at least they're still together.

Not All It's Cracked Up to Be

Unfortunately, things aren't so wonderful at Aunt Cilla's house when they arrive. For starters, she's not rich. More than that, though, she's also not alive. The Tillermans meet their Cousin Eunice instead. Though she's studying to be a nun, she agrees to adopt the children out of Christian duty, even though she is totally unfit to raise four abandoned and struggling kids on her own.

On the Road Again

Dicey hears about their grandmother—Abigail Tillerman—so she decides to take off to see what's up in her neck of the woods. Her siblings insist on joining her, and on the way, the kids miss their bus, hitchhike on a boat, runaway with the circus, and are nearly kidnapped by a guy we're pretty sure is a child molester. In case you hadn't noticed, it's dangerous out there for four little kids traveling on their own.

Climax

Sorry, Grandkids

The hope is that their grandmother will be the answer to their prayers, but when they show up at her house, they find themselves completely out of luck. Even though Abigail lets the children stay with her for a few days and they try to win her over, she refuses to give them a permanent home. Turns out she just can't risk getting close to another set of kids and failing them like she did her own children. It's a pretty sad reality for everyone involved at this point, and the Tillermans are out of options.

Falling Action

Killing Some Time

Looks like the Tillerman kids are going back to Cousin Eunice's, though she's refused to keep Sammy and has qualms about Maybeth's intellectual capacity. Oh, well—at least they tried. But Abigail still needs to write to Eunice to figure out how to get the kids back to her place, and since school is starting, in the meantime they might as well get enrolled while they wait. Heck, maybe they can help out with some more stuff around the house. You know—if they're going to be hanging around for a while.

Resolution

Home Sweet Home

Dicey realizes that Abigail has never sent the letter to Eunice. Maybe she doesn't even want to send it? Well? What do you say, Gram? Can the grandkids crash at your place until they're eighteen? Abigail finally admits that she cares for her grandkids and takes them home with her forever. Yay.

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