The Water Dancer


Ta-Nehisi Coates

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Water Dancer can help.

Water Dancing

Water dancing is an act that ties together many of the novel’s central themes: rebellion, freedom, love, skill, and memory. When Hiram was a little boy, his mother Rose and aunt Emma used to water…

read analysis of Water Dancing

The River Goose

The River Goose is a river that runs by Lockless, the plantation where Hiram was born. To some characters in the novel, it is a symbol of danger and death, but for Hiram and…

read analysis of The River Goose


Lockless is the plantation where Hiram was born and grows up, and it is a symbol of captivity, injustice, and the ways in which slavery distorts one’s sense of family and home. The name “Lockless”…

read analysis of Lockless

The Coffin

“The coffin” is a phrase many of the characters in the novel use to describe slavery (particularly as it exists in the Deep South), and is thus a way in which the novel characterizes slavery…

read analysis of The Coffin