Study Guide

hush Writing Style

By Jacqueline Woodson

Writing Style

Dreamy, Detached

hush jumps from place to place and moment to moment. One minute we're in the Northeast, and the next minute we're back in one of Toswiah/Evie's Denver memories—perhaps a memory that has to do with the shooting, or perhaps one from even further back, like Cameron's tenth birthday. The narrative does not follow a linear path from one place to another in this book, and this gives it a dream-like quality.

Now let's talk about how Toswiah/Evie often takes a detached view of events, even though she's the main character telling us about her own life. As a coping mechanism as she sorts out her new identity, Toswiah/Evie often steps outside of herself to tell us what's going on, like when she describes the night the Feds came to take them from their Denver house.

The night got quieter. I knew Denver was growing smaller and smaller behind me.

[...]

When I closed my eyes, I wasn't in the van anymore. I was back at our house, waving good-bye to these strangers. Holding my father's hand. (8.17-19)

Detaching from the experience is part of how Toswiah/Evie deals, and it's reflected in her writing style. It's a clever trick: In detaching from some of the details of what's happened to her when she writes, we experience Toswiah/Evie's detachment along with her. Which, in its own way, actually brings us closer to her experience.

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