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…(read full theme analysis)
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…(read full theme analysis)
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…(read full theme analysis)
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…(read full theme analysis)