Study Guide

Hush, Hush Mortality

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Before we even meet her in Hush, Hush, death has impacted Nora's life in a major way since her father was murdered. For much of the book, she tries to sweep all discussion of his death under the rug, shutting down questions whenever they arise. Nevertheless, brushes with death continue to creep into the story, and by the end, Nora is forced to contemplate her own death. She doesn't want to die, but when the time comes, she accepts her fate and takes her death into her own hands, throwing herself from the rafters. In this moment, she confronts and accepts mortality.

Also important in the mortality theme is the fact that Patch, an immortal, wants to become a mortal human. Unlike, say, Voldemort, Patch finds mortality more attractive. Poor dude never gets his wish, though. Instead of becoming human, he morphs into Nora's guardian angel, a job which includes staving off death. In an interesting twist, then, once Nora accepts her mortality, she no longer has to worry about dying because she has her own personal guardian angel to keep death away from her.

Questions About Mortality

  1. How do you interpret Nora's many near misses with death? How do her repeated interactions with death shape her character and your understanding of her character? Why?
  2. Why isn't more time spent on Nora's father's murder? What does it mean that his murder hangs out in the background of the story?
  3. Why does Patch want to become human? What is the appeal of a mortal human life over an immortal life?
  4. What does Patch's immortality versus Nora's mortality mean for their relationship?

Chew on This

As Patch's desire to become human suggests, being mortal is better than being immortal.

Death itself isn't frightening; only violent and unexpected death is.

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