The Hate U Give': Compare and Contrast Essay

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The two books under comparison are Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. These two books might not seem like they would have a lot in common but there are a few similarities to compare between them. The title Th1rteen R3asons Why is given because Hannah Baker makes 13 tapes for her listeners is because there are 13 reasons as to why she decided to take her own life. The title The Hate U Give is mentioned in also the novel and it means that the hate you give little infants f***ks everybody “Pac said Thug Life stood for 'The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody'.” (Goodreads) because in one part in the novel, from all the anger that was built around everyone which caused an outburst from Starr’s youngest brother when he pulls out a gun and points it at the gang leader ‘King’ (Angie Thomas, page number unknown).

Although The Hate U Give’s themes are; identity and blackness, the weaponizing of stereotyping against black people, and the cyclical nature of racialized poverty (Sparknotes), and Th1rteen reasons Why’s themes are; suicide, violence, betrayal, repercussions, gossip, and reputation and parental obliviousness, (Sparknotes) they both show the themes of cause and effect, gossip and reputation, as well as exposing the hard truth for what it is. Both books address the problems attached to the socially constructed focuses on racism, stereotyping, teen suicide, depression, parental obliviousness, and more. The two books - ‘The Hate U Give’ and ‘Th1rteen R3asons Why’ - were the first books that these two authors published(Wikipedia). The reason I chose these two books to compare is that they both address problems that we struggle in dealing with in our world in today’s age - Depression/suicide as well as racial discrimination, stereotyping, social strata, and many more - in the two books, a few elements of both the author’s lives - currently at the time of release and even from when they were growing up - shine through in parts of the books Angie Thomas reveals elements in her book of her life growing up and Jay Asher reveals elements in his book from work experiences (Goodreads) and both authors bring surroundings from their current lives into their book. Both Th1rteen R3asons Why and The Hate U Give take a unique perspective when telling the story of two people and then play the story through the witness’ point of view - to show a different point of view - and the extent that they go to, to make things right and to try to stop the same events from happening again in the future, or to at least show people the ‘third’ side to the story - the truth - which might help avoidance of such issues. Instead of focusing on topics that people read about every day that aren’t of the same importance (such as the Kardashians' lives or a celebrity couple getting married which takes up a whole column), the authors have decided to deal with things that are an issue whether they made their book fiction or nonfiction, they both addressed really big issues which people do not know enough about and these two books educate people more because they give insight from witnesses which know what happens and they both expose the cold, hard truth. Asher brings rape into his novel which has always been a struggle and only now in 2019, people have started talking about it. Thomas brings racial violence into her novel which we struggle so much with today, our protests go from trying to be peaceful and get a message across to setting things on fire and hurting other people.

While Th1rteen R3asons Why is a fiction novel and The Hate U Give is a non-fiction novel, they both seem very realistic and show a lot of truth. Angie Thomas grew up near the home of assassinated civil rights activist ‘Medgar Evens’ and witnessed a shootout at age 6, in the movie “Starr” also witnessed a shooting when she was young and she also lived close to someone who was assassinated(Mississippi writers and musicians). Angie’s mom took her to the library the next day to show her that there was more to the world than what she had just seen which inspired her to take up writing(Mississippi writers and musicians). In the book The Hate U Give, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement “You can destroy wood and brick, but you can't destroy a movement.” (good

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reads), the story was inspired by the fact that she was getting death threats and all kinds of racist graphics sent to her, even though all of that kept happening, she decided to “keep going and speak out” which is how the main character “Starr” is portrayed, as she keeps going and speaks out about the truth(Wikipedia) “What's the point of having a voice if you're gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn't be?”. The neighborhood she grew up in - Jackson, Mississippi - was known for all the wrong reasons, its prevalence of drugs and neighborhood gangs, just like the town in the novel (Garden Heights which is in the Southern U.S, is also set in the year 2010) (Wikipedia). However, Jay Asher was born in Arcadia, California (26 hours away from Jackson, Mississippi) and went to school in San Luis which is where Th1rteen R3asons Why was based, including the ‘Monet’s Cafe’ and the ‘Crestmonts Theatre’. Crestmont Theatre is where Hannah Baker and Clay Jensen work together for a summer. Even though Asher wrote an amazing book that addressed very common problems in our world today, close to 10 years later, he was accused of sexual harassment (which occurs in the book to a handful of girls by ‘Bryce Walker the rapist’) exactly 10 years after his novel was released. He was expelled from the ‘Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ as he had many affairs with his female peers which did not end well, while he was being accused for sexual harassment, no proof was found, and he responded saying that he had been the one getting harassed for close to a decade ( 2007 - 2017) which started shortly after he released his book Th1rteen R3asons Why which is based on a girl (Hannah Baker) which commits suicide - “A lot of you cared, just not enough.” (goodreads) is said by Hannah Baker in her tapes - after being terribly bullied as well as being sexually assaulted by a football player who raped and sexually assaulted Jessica Davis, Hannah Baker, Chloe Winter - his girlfriend at the current time who falls pregnant and chooses to abort the unborn child - and 7 or 8 other girls, this brings us to one of the most troubling issues in the novel, rape and sexual assault (which is set in a small city in California in the U.S and set in the year 2012 when this topic was at it’s peak at that current time)(wikipedia). “You can't stop the future, you can't rewind the past. The only way to learn the to press play.” (Goodreads) this is a quote from Thirteen Reasons Why which shows that you can’t change your past, which all you can do is change to improve in the future which also links to the quote “You can't go back to how things were. How you thought they were. All you have” (Goodreads)

However, both books are written conversationally. The “conversation” in Th1rteen R3asons Why is an exchange of not only speech but also emotions, experiences, and actions. It has an unreliable narrator, we hear Hannah Baker narrate her journey of being bullied and all her other experiences, etc., and then switch over to Clay Jensen as the narrator after Hannah Baker commits suicide. The story also switches between first person and second person and also shows other characters who narrate small parts of the story to explain how they saw everything happening. They blend the story with two narrators, Hannah Baker’s audio-tape explanation for her suicide and then it changes to Clay Jensen reacting to everything that happened and even some of his friends in the trial of Bryce Walker when Jessica Davis speaks up and shares the story from her point of view when she was raped by him while barely being conscious hoping that he will be charged with rape and put in prison for violating her body. The “conversation” in The Hate U Give is also an exchange of not only speech but also emotions, experiences, and actions. However, this book does have a reliable narrator which is Starr Carter, and the story is only shown from the narrator's first-person view. The story is focused on Starr’s experience of witnessing 2 events in which her friends get shot dead, it then shows how she reacts to the second experience (as she is now older when her second friend who is black is shot by a white police officer) and how she takes matters into her own hands and speaks out about it in defense of both her friends and many more black Americans passing away without having done anything wrong “Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”(Goodreads). Both books reveal to us the experiences that happen and then tell us about how the main characters react to the experiences and the extent they go to, to get justice for their friends as they feel feelings of guilt and solicitude and feel that they have to speak out and reveal the truth to seek justice for the events. The two main characters from both books “Starr Carter” and “Clay Jensen” feel responsible for the deaths of their friends because they feel as if they could have done more to avoid how it all ended and feel that maybe if they had done more, their friends would still be alive. When one loses a loved one, or someone close to them, they feel a sudden rush of guilt wash over them. Whether it be because they could’ve been kinder, showed more appreciation, or even just because they feel guilty for not being there to help avoid the situation. In the novel Th1rteen R3asons Why the main character - Hannah Baker - is the protagonist and addresses her listeners (of the 13 tapes) either by name or the word “you” and in this time she is speaking in the second person as if she is telling someone else’s story. Everything in the novel is tainted by the knowledge of Hannah Baker's death but somehow the story seems to remain with her point of view even while Clay Jensen listens to the tapes because he is still listening to her telling her story which somehow still captures a lot of the story from her point of view. In the novel The Hate U Give the main character - Starr Carter - is the protagonist and addresses the black people as “us” to say that they have to stand together as one but she is speaking in the second person as if she is speaking about someone else’s experience and story which makes the novel more emotional and people who have had the same experiences connect on more of a personal level.

In conclusion, these two books go hand in hand in dealing with topics of high importance and both share the perspectives of witnesses to a few horrible events. I chose these two books because I agree with the arguments and debates that both the books bring, and although they bring the victim's sides into the novels, they also bring the ‘predators’ point of view into the novels too. Both novels have literary merit of ‘universal themes’ and ‘stood the test of time’. ‘Universal themes’ means that it has an idea that applies to anyone regardless of their culture, race, or geographic location ( ‘Stood test of time’ means that it is to be particularly popular for a long period (Wiktionary). I think that these two novels fit this literary merit because Thomas and Asher chose to speak out about these issues from experiences in their past, these few issues are just brushed off by everyone around the world but people are just too afraid to talk about them because people aren’t educated enough on these topics in case of offending someone or making them uncomfortable. These topics have been unspoken for so many years that now, in 2019 it has become a problem globally, racial discrimination is only becoming worse and more males and females are getting raped and sexually assaulted every day. To conclude my essay, these two novels have brought up two topics that people refuse to speak about and are telling us all the gory details of what happens, they have shown us that this is a wake-up call for the world

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