Study Guide

Minor Characters in hush

By Jacqueline Woodson

Minor Characters

Carla

Carla is the "cootie-girl" (13.1) from Toswiah/Evie's fifth grade class. Toswiah/Evie was the one who yelled to the whole class that Carla had cooties, and she remembers, "I couldn't help feeling relieved that it was her and not me" (13.1). Unfortunately, in her new school, Toswiah/Evie feels like the cootie-girl, which is what makes her think of Carla.

Denise

Denise is one of the girls on Toswiah/Evie's track team. Other than that, she doesn't have any impact on the novel.

Grandma

Grandma is Mama's mother. She decides to stay in Denver and take care of Matt Cat because she feels too old to start over in a new place.

Toswiah/Evie feels especially close to her because they have the same name; losing her grandmother's name is one of her biggest regrets. She was also supposed to inherit her grandmother's rocking chair, and now she never will. She writes:

What I know now is this: Look at your grandmother's face. Remember the lines. Touch her cheekbones. Hold the memory of her in your fingers, in your eyes, in your mind. It might be all you get to keep. (2.9)

Initially, Toswiah/Evie starts thinking of ways to eventually get back to Grandma, but by the end of the novel, she has stopped doing so, accepting that their time together is done.

Inspector Albert Oliver

Inspector Oliver is the policeman assigned to cover the shooting incident. He shows up at the Green house to talk to Daddy about the case one night in April. Toswiah/Evie says:

Inspector Oliver was tall and white-haired, even though he wasn't old. I didn't know him as well as I knew other cops, but I liked what I knew of him. He was always shy and polite around Mama, Cameron and me, speaking softly and taking each of our hands in both of his to say hello. (5.12)

Toswiah overhears his conversation with Daddy. Inspector Oliver doesn't take one side or another in the case, but he presents the pros and cons of testifying against Officers Randall and Dennis.

Joseph Randall

Joseph Randall is Cameron's boyfriend and the son of Officer Randall. We can imagine that the shooting incident really throws a wrench in their relationship, and does it ever. Joseph is the one who starts making things difficult for Cameron/Anna and Toswiah/Evie at school after the shooting, telling everyone that Daddy is a liar. He's the kind of person others will follow:

He played guard on the basketball team and was a running back on the football team. Girls followed him and giggled. Boys held up their hands, feeling important when he slapped them five. (5.6)

Cameron/Anna thinks she loves him, but of course, the shooting and the trial and witness protection bring things to an abrupt halt.

Leigh Lacori

Leigh Lacori is Toswiah/Evie's track coach and Cameron/Anna's geometry teacher. He is tough but encouraging, and running becomes both Toswiah/Evie's new identity and a metaphor for her family's escape from Denver:

At practice, Coach tells us to run for our lives. One day I might tell him that I've already done that, watch his face get that puzzled look it gets when one of us makes a crack that he doesn't understand. My whole family, Coach, I might say. We're all runners. (28.14)

It's just a hunch, but we think she could say that to Coach and he'd get it, no further explanation needed.

Lulu

Lulu is Toswiah/Evie's best friend in Denver. Leaving Lulu behind is especially hard because Toswiah/Evie has known her since they were both born a month early and slept next to each other in the hospital nursery. When her teacher asks her to describe herself, Toswiah/Evie says, "My best friend is Lulu" (3.8). Aw—this friendship is so important that Toswiah includes it in her explanation of who she is.

Lulu is louder and more outgoing than Toswiah/Evie, and along with Grandma, is what Toswiah/Evie misses most about Denver. She has a plan that she and Lulu will eventually get back together and attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison together, just like they always planned. As is the case with her memories of Grandma, though, once Toswiah/Evie starts accepting her new life, her tendency to dwell on Lulu fades.

Matt Cat

Matt Cat is the Green family's pet. He has to be left behind in Denver with Grandma because they're not allowed to take any obvious reminders of their old lives. Apparently, a cat would totally blow their cover.

Mira

Mira is on Toswiah/Evie's track team, and she's one of the first friends our main girl makes at her new school. Toswiah/Evie says, "She is about my height, dark like my mother and soft-spoken. She speaks with a little bit of an accent. Like someone from England" (17.17)—though we never find out for sure, perhaps Mira is new in town, too. In any case, she is the first person who is really friendly to Toswiah/Evie, giving her nicknames and complimenting her on her running. Mira's character lets Toswiah/Evie, and the reader, see that she won't feel so isolated forever.

Officer Dennis

Officer Dennis, "who always had a silly joke to tell" (4.24), and whom Toswiah/Evie has known her whole life, is one of the officers involved in the shooting.

Officer Randall

Officer Randall is Joseph's father and the other officer involved in the shooting. Toswiah/Evie says, "he was tall and gray-eyed and had a son named Joseph, who Cameron was in love with" (4.24). Like Officer Dennis, Toswiah/Evie has known him her whole life. She is shocked at how quickly she feels like she doesn't know him at all.

Raymond Taylor

Raymond Taylor is the fifteen-year-old boy killed in the shooting:

The boy was an honor student, the only child of a high school English teacher. A single mom. The boy was only in tenth grade but was already getting mail from colleges [...] As my father talked about the boy, he became more real. I didn't know his name, but I felt like I didn't have to. He was black and I was black, and maybe somewhere along the way we would've met. Maybe we would've become friends. (4.12)

While none of the Green family actually knows Raymond Taylor personally, he symbolizes something different for each of them. Toswiah/Evie sees him as a friend; upon turning fifteen, Cameron/Anna sees herself in him; and Mama and Daddy think that he could have been one of their children.

Sheba

Sheba is Sheila and the other Toswiah's dog. Toswiah/Evie meets her when she runs into Sheila and the other Toswiah one day.

Sheila

Sheila is the other Toswiah's seventeen-year-old sister who has developmental disabilities. Toswiah/Evie meets her with the other Toswiah when she's out running one morning. While the other Toswiah hasn't been the nicest person up to this point, her care for Sheila helps make her a more likeable character.

The Other Toswiah

Try to keep this straight: Not only does Toswiah Green change her name to Evie Thomas, but there's another Toswiah at her new school—and she's not very nice at first. Talk about adding double insult to injury. Not only does Toswiah Green have to change her name, but then there's another girl in her new class with the same name, and she's kind of mean to boot. Ugh. Toswiah/Evie explains:

The Toswiah in my class is small and loud with a constant circle of friends around her. I have never heard this name before on another girl. When our teacher takes attendance, there is that split second when I believe that everything is back the way it once was. We both say Here! and Toswiah's friends look at me and laugh. I am Evie. I am Evie. I am. The other Toswiah doesn't look anything like me—she is shorter and round-faced with dimples and cornrows. I want to snatch her name away and press it all over myself. I want to hear people calling it—calling out to me. (12.1)

The presence of another girl with her old name forces Toswiah/Evie to confront her loss in a very tangible way. She doesn't want anyone else to be Toswiah because she is Toswiah, despite her insistence to herself that she is Evie. Only when she truly accepts her new identity can she and the other Toswiah start to be friends. And when they do, we understand that Toswiah/Evie is at peace with the split between her old life and her new life, ready to befriend the girl who shares who old name as well as the journey her life is on.

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