Study Guide

hush Setting

By Jacqueline Woodson

Setting

Denver, Colorado and the Green/Thomas Family's New Home in the Northeast

In a book about a family's move across the country with the Federal Witness Protection Program, place matters, as you might imagine. So let's talk about the places the Green family finds themselves in a bit.

There's Denver, where the Green family starts out. Denver is Home with a capital H, and it continues to symbolize home for Toswiah/Evie throughout the novel; her family has lived there for generations. On the way to their new home, the family is stuck in a safe house, which is in an abandoned motel that sounds pretty terrible and not super safe. Toswiah/Evie says:

No one would tell us where we were, and after a while we stopped asking. I knew we were still in Colorado, because I could see the mountains. (9.1)

Toswiah/Evie goes from the home her family has known for generations to not even knowing the name of the place she shacks up in. That's a pretty major upheaval, right? And importantly, we don't know the name of the Greens' new home once they arrive, either, only that i's within a three hour drive of Simon's Rock College in Massachusetts. It's somewhere in the Northeast, and a far cry from Denver, but because Toswiah/Evie doesn't connect with it on the level she does with Denver, it remains nameless.

Of course, most of the book takes place inside Toswiah/Evie's own head, so she switches between Denver and the Northeast at will, which means the reader doesn't see a clear trajectory from one setting to another. Instead, they're all mixed up, the way they are in Toswiah/Evie's mind.

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