Study Guide

hush Identity

By Jacqueline Woodson

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hush deals with a lot of issues, but if we really look closely, Toswiah/Evie's character's internal journey is about figuring out who she is. As an adolescent, Toswiah/Evie would be asking herself questions about her identity anyway, but her external circumstances—being placed in witness protection and forced to give up her home and possessions and friends—bring this to the forefront of her mind, so she ponders it more consciously than many characters who have the luxury of figuring it out in familiar surroundings. Or at least with familiar names.

Questions About Identity

  1. How much do external circumstances such as location, possessions, and friends contribute to a person's identity? Is a person the same person when these things change?
  2. If you were in Toswiah/Evie's situation, what new name would you choose? Why?
  3. Toswiah/Evie struggles with her dual identity, with wanting to hold on and needing to move forward. What does she keep from her old identity? What opportunities does a new one present? How do the other members of Toswiah/Evie's family cope with their changed identities?

Chew on This

Toswiah/Evie copes with her new situation by finding a place to fit in, while Cameron/Anna refuses to settle until she defines her new life on her own terms.

hush argues that identity is defined by inner qualities, not external circumstances.

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