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Struggle For Survival In The Hate U Give

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In the book The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, there are many themes that are covered. The theme I will be talking about is the struggle for survival. The reason that I believe this is a good theme is because in the book there are many parts where the characters are struggling with life and trying to overcome it. This is a theme that is important in today’s society because we all struggle in different ways that we may or may not realize. Our struggle for survival comes in many ways that often vary by person to person and from group to group. In addition to this, the book demonstrates the different types of survival whether it be about your skin color or your socioeconomic background.

This theme is shown in chapter two when Khalil gets shot by the officer. The struggle to survive is shown when Starr says “My parents haven’t raised me to fear the police, just be smart around them. They told me it’s not smart to move while a cop has their back to you.” (Thomas 23). This shows that in our society if you’re an African American you have to be more cautious around police officers than a white person would have to be. It is inferred that in the past African Americans have had a harder time with officers so they really have to think about how they act around persons of authority. A real life example of this is shown in Apnews’ article, Timeline of events in shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson which tells us about the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. (Apnews). Micael Brown, an unarmed African American male was shot by officer Darren Wilson after an altercation broke out about walking on the sidewalk. Brown was unarmed yet he was still shot and killed which shows that as an African American male, you have to be mindful of your actions. In my opinion, if Brown was another ethnicity such as a white male, the interaction would have been different and he would still be alive today.

Another example of this theme is when Starr witnesses her friend Natasha getting killed because of a drive by when they were kids playing at the fire hydrant. Starr’s struggle here is when she explains to us, “I dove into a rosebush. By the time I got up, somebody was yelling, “Call nine-one-one!” (Thomas 29) Even as young children, you have to be careful of your surroundings. The environment that they grew up in was not the best and that was not in their control. This is not something you should have to worry about at such a young age considering that they were only ten years old. As a result of this, Starr lost her childhood best friend and she also has flashbacks of this memory to this day. Starr’s struggle for survival here is that she has to overcome the environment that she is raised in. Other children may not have to deal with these types of situations because they may be raised in a different socioeconomic environment.

An example of them trying to survive in Garden Heights is when two teenagers come up to Starr and Seven. Starr describes their appearance saying, “There are two of them. They look thirteen, fourteen years old and are wearing green Celtics jerseys. Garden Disciples, no doubt.” (Thomas 145). As you can see, Starr already knew that the two teenagers were gang affiliated because of their appearance. Although Starr and Seven were not in gang attire the struggle that is presented here if the situation was flipped is that you have to be aware of what you’re wearing because you might be representing something that you don’t intend to. Aside from the book an example of this is when girls go out they are always advised to watch what they are wearing because you never really know everyone’s true intentions, whether they’re good or not. There's instances where women are raped because of what they’re wearing and oftentimes the rapist counters that by saying “she was asking for it” just because what the women were wearing is deemed provocative.

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In chapter ten, Starr and her family spend the night at Uncle Carlos’s house because of the riots that occur after the shooting of Khalil. (Thomas 164). The reason Starr and her family have to spend the night at Uncle Carlos’s house is because the riots are making their part of town unsafe. The struggle for survival here is that the intention of protesting is to bring awareness and attempts to bring change to the cause but it is becoming violent which is not good. Because the protests have become violent riots it’s causing more harm than good. As you can see the riots are becoming chaotic leaving the family with no choice but move to a safer area.

In chapter ten Starr and Big Mav talk about the Khalil's family situation. “When the Khalil's get arrested for selling drugs, they either spend most of their life in prison, another billion-dollar industry, or they have a hard time getting a real job and probably start selling drugs again.” (Thomas 170). The reason Khalil started dealing drugs was because his mom owed a lot of debt to the gangs because of her drug addiction so he felt the best decision was to work for King dealing drugs. In life people don’t make the best decisions so people other people have to pick up for their slack. In this case it shows that there are times that you are forced to do things that might not be ethical in order to get through daily life. We don’t always have the best opportunities so we take what we can get in order to deal with the problem the fastest.

In the article Struggle For Existence it talks about how predators have to hunt for their food and the prey has to escape for their life. This is similar to the cycle of life because everyday us humans are competing with others and sometimes even ourselves. We generally all have the same end goal which is to survive so we have to compete with each other to be better. Along with competing with others you are also competing with yourself. For example trying to get rid of your own bad habits and temptations so you don’t hold yourself back. This is important because at times you can be your own worst enemy.

The struggle for survival is a theme that is important in today’s society. The book shows that in many of the events that take place. After talking about the struggle of survival this essay explains why it's hard to live in certain areas. The struggle of survival is important because as humans we have to live life by choosing the next best option available that is the most reasonable in the moment. As human’s life isn't handed to you freely, you have to go out and work for what you want. This essay covers the theme by showing the different ways we struggle for survival and how we work our way through those tough situations. The essay also has one outside source that shows African Americans being mistreated by white police officers.

Works Cited

  1. Darwin Endless Forms ' Struggle for Existence,
  2. Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give. Balzer & Bray/Harperteen, 2017.
  3. “Timeline of Events in Shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson.” AP NEWS, Associated Press, 8 Aug. 2019,
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Struggle For Survival In The Hate U Give. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 3, 2023, from
“Struggle For Survival In The Hate U Give.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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