The Hate U Give

Themes and Colors
Racism and Police Brutality  Theme Icon
Dueling Identities and Double Consciousness  Theme Icon
The Power of Language Theme Icon
Community and Loyalty Theme Icon
The Cycle of Poverty and Crime Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Hate U Give, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

The Hate U Give follows sixteen-year-old Starr Carter after she witnesses the killing of Khalil Harris, her unarmed black friend, by a white police officer. Though this specific moment of police brutality spurs the action of the novel, author Angie Thomas also presents excessive force as part of a larger tapestry of racism and the criminalization of black communities in America as a whole.

Police brutality is such a reality in Starr’s world that…

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Starr feels pulled between two worlds throughout The Hate U Give—namely, that of the poor, primarily black Garden Heights and the affluent, primarily white Williamson Prep. Thomas explores the tension felt by characters of color who must navigate the boundary between who they are and how the outside world portrays them. In doing so, she evokes scholar W. E. B. Du Bois’ famous notion of “double consciousness,” the sensation of “two-ness” experienced by black…

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From the lyrics of hip-hop to the teachings of the Black Panthers, language in The Hate U Give is a tool for education, justice, and speaking truth to power. Starr is initially hesitant to speak out about what she witnessed, fearing retaliation against her family and worrying that she is not worthy of speaking up for Khalil. Throughout the novel, however, she comes to understand her voice as the most powerful tool she possesses…

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Throughout The Hate U Give, competing loyalties test both individual characters and the communities to which they belong. Communities in the novel reveal a basic human desire for connection as well as the importance of ultimately dissolving boundaries in the fight for racial justice.

The King Lords and Garden Disciples are the most rigid examples of community in the novel. Each gang can be identified by specific colors, controls specific territories in the neighborhood…

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The Hate U Give depicts gangs, drugs, and violence as largely the result of lack of opportunity. The deck is stacked against many residents of Garden Heights, who may turn to gangs and drug dealing as their only means of supporting their loved ones and protecting themselves. This, in turn, traps the community in a vicious cycle of poverty and crime.

The cycle of crime is especially evident in Maverick, whose father was one…

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