Study Guide

hush Race

By Jacqueline Woodson

Race

Along with identity, race is one of the biggest themes in hush. The initiating event (the thing that causes all the conflict) is the fact that Daddy sees two white cops shoot an unarmed black teenager—call it racial profiling or stereotyping or just plain old racism, but Raymond Taylor is dead either way, and Daddy saw what happened and feels compelled to testify, which breaks the Blue Wall of Silence and puts the entire Green family in danger.

So yeah, that's Race with a capital "R" in the novel.

However, we encounter race in another, quieter way, through Toswiah/Evie's reflections on everything the fact of being black means to her. As the novel moves forward, Toswiah/Evie's reflections become less specifically about race and more related to her entire identity. So we might say that she views race as one important part of her identity and explores how it shapes her, but that she also transcends race as the only, or even the most important part, of who she is.

Questions About Race

  1. How does the shooting change the way Toswiah thinks about race?
  2. Why does Cameron say sometimes she hates being black? Why does Toswiah disagree?
  3. To what extent does race contribute to the identities of the various members of the Green/Thomas family?
  4. What are the differences in how the family experiences race between Denver and their new home in the Northeast? Is race more of an issue in one place than the other?

Chew on This

While race is an important part of identity for each member of the Green/Thomas family, other elements are actually more important to each of them.

Race, more than any other single element, drives the plot of hush.

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