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The Haunting Story of Haint (2006): A Summary by Tyehimba Jess

The Haunting Story of Haint (2006): A Summary by Tyehimba Jess

In his article, “The Haunting Story of Haint (2006): A Summary,” Tyehimba Jess delves into the eerie and captivating tale of Haint, a novel written by Terrell Garren. Jess provides a brief overview of the plot and characters, as well as an analysis of the themes and motifs that make Haint a haunting and unforgettable story.

Background Information

Haint (2006) is a novel written by Tyehimba Jess, an American poet and educator. The book is a haunting story that explores the themes of race, identity, and family. Set in the rural South, the novel follows the life of a young African American girl named Haint, who is haunted by the ghosts of her ancestors. As she struggles to come to terms with her past and her place in the world, Haint must confront the ghosts of her family’s history and the legacy of slavery that still haunts her community. Through vivid imagery and powerful storytelling, Jess creates a haunting and unforgettable tale that explores the complexities of race and identity in America.

Plot Summary

The Haunting Story of Haint (2006) is a gripping tale of a young woman named Haint who is haunted by the ghosts of her ancestors. The story takes place in a small town in the South, where Haint has returned to after living in the city for several years. As she tries to reconnect with her family and her roots, she begins to experience strange and terrifying occurrences that she cannot explain.

Haint soon discovers that the ghosts of her ancestors are trying to communicate with her, and she must confront the secrets and traumas of her family’s past in order to put them to rest. Along the way, she meets a cast of colorful characters, including a wise old woman who helps her understand the spirits and a handsome stranger who becomes her ally in the fight against the supernatural forces that threaten her.

As Haint delves deeper into her family’s history, she uncovers a web of lies and deceit that has been passed down through generations. She must confront the sins of her ancestors and make peace with the ghosts that haunt her in order to find true happiness and freedom.

The Haunting Story of Haint is a haunting and powerful tale of family, history, and the supernatural. It is a must-read for anyone who loves a good ghost story or a compelling family drama.


The characters in “The Haunting Story of Haint” are complex and multi-dimensional. The protagonist, Haint, is a young woman who is haunted by the ghosts of her ancestors. She is struggling to come to terms with her own identity and her place in the world. Haint’s mother, Mama, is a strong and resilient woman who has faced many challenges in her life. She is fiercely protective of her daughter and will do anything to keep her safe. The other characters in the story, including Haint’s friends and family members, are all well-developed and add depth to the narrative. Overall, the characters in “The Haunting Story of Haint” are a key element of the story and help to bring it to life.


One of the prominent themes in “The Haunting Story of Haint” is the idea of the supernatural and the unknown. The story revolves around the ghost of a young girl named Haint, who haunts the protagonist, a young woman named Sarah. The ghostly presence of Haint is a constant reminder of the unknown and the unexplainable, which creates a sense of unease and tension throughout the story. Another theme that is explored in the story is the idea of grief and loss. Sarah is still mourning the loss of her mother, and the presence of Haint seems to exacerbate her feelings of sadness and loneliness. The story also touches on the theme of family and the importance of human connection. Despite the supernatural elements of the story, the relationships between the characters are grounded in reality, and their interactions with one another provide a sense of comfort and familiarity amidst the eerie atmosphere. Overall, “The Haunting Story of Haint” is a haunting tale that explores themes of the supernatural, grief, and human connection.


Symbolism plays a significant role in “The Haunting Story of Haint (2006)” by Tyehimba Jess. The title itself is symbolic, as “haint” is a Southern term for a ghost or spirit. The story takes place in a small Southern town, where the protagonist, a young girl named Lila, is haunted by the ghost of her deceased mother.

Throughout the story, Jess uses various symbols to convey the themes of loss, grief, and the supernatural. For example, Lila’s mother is often represented by the color blue, which is associated with sadness and mourning. Lila’s memories of her mother are also symbolized by a bluebird, which appears throughout the story as a reminder of her mother’s presence.

Another important symbol in the story is the tree in Lila’s backyard, which is described as “gnarled and twisted, with branches that reached out like skeletal fingers.” This tree represents the connection between the living and the dead, as Lila’s mother is said to have loved it and spent time under its branches.

Overall, the use of symbolism in “The Haunting Story of Haint (2006)” adds depth and meaning to the narrative, allowing readers to explore the complex emotions and themes presented in the story.


The setting of “The Haunting Story of Haint” is a small town in the southern United States. The town is surrounded by dense forests and is known for its eerie atmosphere. The main character, Haint, lives in a rundown house on the outskirts of town. The house is said to be haunted by the ghosts of Haint’s ancestors, who were slaves on the plantation that once stood on the land. The town itself is filled with secrets and mysteries, and the people who live there are wary of outsiders. The setting creates a sense of isolation and unease, which adds to the overall atmosphere of the story.

Writing Style

Tyehimba Jess’s writing style in “The Haunting Story of Haint (2006)” is both haunting and lyrical. He uses vivid imagery and sensory details to transport the reader into the world of the story. Jess also employs repetition and alliteration to create a musical quality to his prose. The use of dialect and colloquial language adds authenticity to the characters and setting. Overall, Jess’s writing style enhances the eerie and unsettling atmosphere of the story.

Critical Reception

The critical reception of Tyehimba Jess’s “The Haunting Story of Haint” has been overwhelmingly positive. Critics have praised Jess’s ability to weave together elements of horror, folklore, and history into a compelling and thought-provoking narrative. Many have also noted the skillful way in which Jess uses language to create a haunting atmosphere and convey the emotional depth of his characters. Overall, “The Haunting Story of Haint” has been hailed as a powerful and important work of contemporary literature.

Impact on Literature

The impact of “The Haunting Story of Haint” on literature cannot be overstated. Tyehimba Jess’s use of language and imagery in the poem is masterful, and it has inspired countless writers to experiment with form and structure in their own work. The poem’s exploration of themes such as race, identity, and memory has also had a profound impact on the literary world, sparking important conversations about these issues. Overall, “The Haunting Story of Haint” is a powerful work of literature that will continue to influence writers and readers for years to come.

Author’s Biography

Tyehimba Jess is an award-winning poet and author. He was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1965 and grew up in a family of educators. Jess attended the University of Chicago and earned his MFA from New York University. He has published several collections of poetry, including “Leadbelly” and “Olio,” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2017. Jess is also a professor of English at College of Staten Island, City University of New York. His work often explores themes of African American history and culture, and he is known for his innovative use of form and language.

Historical Context

The historical context of “The Haunting Story of Haint” is crucial to understanding the themes and messages of the poem. Set in the American South during the era of slavery, the poem explores the haunting legacy of this dark period in American history. The use of the word “haint,” which is a Southern term for ghost or spirit, is particularly significant in this context. It suggests that the ghosts of slavery still linger in the present day, haunting the descendants of both slaves and slave owners. By exploring this haunting legacy, the poem sheds light on the ongoing struggle for racial justice in America.


The Haunting Story of Haint (2006) is a horror novel that will send shivers down your spine. The book is set in a small town in the southern United States, where a group of teenagers discovers an old abandoned house that is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman who died there many years ago. As they explore the house, they begin to experience strange and terrifying events that lead them to believe that the ghost is real and is trying to communicate with them.

The novel is a classic example of the horror genre, with its eerie setting, supernatural elements, and suspenseful plot. The author, Tyehimba Jess, does an excellent job of building tension and creating a sense of dread throughout the book. The characters are well-developed and relatable, which makes their experiences all the more terrifying.

Overall, The Haunting Story of Haint is a must-read for horror fans. It is a chilling and suspenseful novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. If you’re looking for a good scare, this book is definitely worth checking out.

Narrative Techniques

One of the most striking narrative techniques used in “The Haunting Story of Haint” is the use of multiple perspectives. The story is told from the point of view of several different characters, each with their own unique voice and perspective on the events that unfold. This allows the reader to see the story from multiple angles and to gain a deeper understanding of the complex relationships between the characters. Additionally, the use of flashbacks and non-linear storytelling adds to the haunting and mysterious atmosphere of the story, keeping the reader on edge and engaged throughout. Overall, the narrative techniques used in “The Haunting Story of Haint” are masterfully crafted to create a chilling and unforgettable reading experience.


The imagery in Haint (2006) is haunting and vivid, painting a picture of a world that is both beautiful and terrifying. From the opening scene, where the protagonist is walking through a misty forest, to the final moments of the film, where the ghostly apparitions of the dead rise up from the ground, the imagery is both stunning and unsettling. The use of color, light, and shadow is particularly effective, creating a sense of unease and foreboding that permeates the entire film. Whether it’s the eerie glow of the moon on a dark night or the flickering flames of a bonfire, the imagery in Haint (2006) is sure to stay with viewers long after the credits have rolled.


Irony is a literary device that is often used to create a sense of contrast between what is expected and what actually happens. In the case of “The Haunting Story of Haint (2006),” there are several instances of irony that add to the overall eerie atmosphere of the story. For example, the fact that Haint’s ghost is haunting the very house that he built with his own hands is a cruel twist of fate. Additionally, the fact that Haint’s wife and children are unable to see or hear his ghostly presence adds to the sense of isolation and despair that permeates the story. Overall, the use of irony in “The Haunting Story of Haint (2006)” serves to heighten the sense of unease and tension that the reader feels as they follow Haint’s ghostly journey.


One of the most prominent motifs in Haint is the idea of ghosts and hauntings. The title itself refers to a Southern term for a ghost or spirit, and throughout the story, the characters are plagued by visions and apparitions. This motif serves to create a sense of unease and tension, as the reader is never quite sure what is real and what is imagined. Additionally, the ghosts in the story often represent the past and the characters’ unresolved traumas and regrets. By exploring these themes through the lens of the supernatural, Haint offers a unique and haunting perspective on the human experience.


The language used in Tyehimba Jess’ “The Haunting Story of Haint” is both haunting and beautiful. Jess employs a mix of poetic and colloquial language to create a unique voice for each character. The use of dialect and slang adds to the authenticity of the story and helps to transport the reader to the rural South. The language also serves to highlight the cultural differences between the African American and white characters, emphasizing the power dynamics at play. Overall, Jess’ masterful use of language adds depth and nuance to an already compelling story.


The structure of “The Haunting Story of Haint” is unique and complex. The story is told through a series of interconnected poems, each one building upon the last to create a haunting and eerie atmosphere. The poems are written in a variety of styles and forms, including free verse, sonnets, and haikus. This variety adds to the overall effect of the story, as it keeps the reader engaged and on edge. Additionally, the use of repetition and imagery throughout the poems creates a sense of continuity and unity, tying the story together and making it feel like a cohesive whole. Overall, the structure of “The Haunting Story of Haint” is a testament to the skill and creativity of its author, Tyehimba Jess.

Analysis of the Title

The title of the short story, “Haint,” immediately sets the tone for the eerie and unsettling events that unfold throughout the narrative. The word “haint” is a Southern colloquialism for a ghost or spirit, and its use in the title suggests that the story will involve supernatural elements. Additionally, the use of the word “haunting” in the subtitle further emphasizes the ghostly nature of the story. The title also hints at the cultural and historical context of the narrative, as the term “haint” is rooted in African American folklore and traditions. Overall, the title effectively sets the stage for a chilling and thought-provoking tale that explores themes of race, identity, and the supernatural.