Study Guide

hush Plot Analysis

By Jacqueline Woodson

Plot Analysis

Exposition

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

If Toswiah/Evie's Daddy hadn't witnessed the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by two white cops, he wouldn't be in the position of choosing between testifying and losing everything for both himself and his family and not testifying and losing his self-respect. The exposition sets everything that happens later in the story in motion. In hush, it's these events—the shooting and Daddy's decision to testify—that lead the Green family into witness protection.

Rising Action

Bring on the Reflection

Toswiah/Evie does a lot of remembering and thinking about what's happened to her family rather than taking much direct action. The rising action in hush is visible in the slow process each member of the family goes through to reshape his or her identity in their new life. Toswiah/Evie becomes a runner, Cameron/Anna gets accepted to college early, Mama finds religion and goes back to teaching. Daddy is the one who really struggles, sitting silently by a window for most of the book—he might be quiet about it, but it's clear his suffering is a force to be reckoned with.

Climax

One More Chance

The climax comes just after the other family members are beginning to feel like their lives are back on track: Daddy slits his wrists with the shards of his oatmeal bowl. We know this is the climax because it's the point where the most is at stake: Prior to this, the family's felt like they've lost everything, but now they realize they've still had each other all along. And now they're in danger of losing Daddy.

Falling Action

Run For Your Life

Toswiah/Evie's track coach tells her to run for her life, not knowing she already has. Now that it's clear Daddy will survive his suicide attempt, the other family members continue to form their new lives, making friends and continuing with their plans. Things are settling down.

Resolution

All's Well Enough

Toswiah/Evie visits Daddy in the rehabilitation center, where he's relearning the use of his hand because he has some nerve damage in his wrist. They talk about everything that's happened and begin to rebuild their relationship. Daddy says that he's back now, so though family is still in witness protection and will never return to their old lives, they are on their way to building new ones—together.

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