Study Guide

hush Religion

By Jacqueline Woodson

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We encounter religion in hush mainly through Mama, who becomes a Jehovah's Witness on the day the family is forced to leave Denver. Although no one in the family has been religious before, Mama embraces her new religion fervently, much to the annoyance of other family members, who are upset by the changes it imposes on their lives and struggle with the role of God in what has happened to them. For Mama, though, religion fills the void left in her life by everything she has lost. Hey, everybody's just trying to get by—they all need something to lean on.

Questions About Religion

  1. Mama goes from not being religious at all to being a fervent Jehovah's witness. Why?
  2. How would you feel if one of your parents suddenly changed their beliefs and forced you to comply? Is Mama being fair to the rest of the family?
  3. Where else in the novel do we encounter themes of religion and God, besides Mama's conversion?
  4. Mama finds religion a comfort, but other characters don't. In what ways do we see conflict between Mama's idea of God's role in their lives and that of other characters?

Chew on This

Mama embraces religion largely to fill the void in her life left by everything she loses upon leaving Denver.

Mama's embrace of religion is a genuine exploration of a new part of her identity.

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