The Hate U Give': Literary Analysis Essay

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In modern-day society, protests are happening due to injustice and violation of human rights as seen with police brutality, predominantly in the black community. In the novel written by Angie Thomas The Hate U Give, an African-American teenage girl, finds herself in a difficult situation, not knowing what to do with her life or her purpose. In search of her identity, Starr Carter, the protagonist, faces the consequences of being situated in two different settings. She copes with the loss of one of her close friends, Khalil Harris, to police brutality and then rises from her bitter past to vocalize her opinion. Throughout The Hate U Give, the protagonist Starr Carter struggles to seek out her true identity due to her race.

The juxtaposition of Starr Carter’s life can be seen as a barrier in her journey to find herself. Living in two completely different worlds, her home in an empty-valued underprivileged ghetto and her primarily white upper-class prep school. In chapter 17 Starr states,” Being two different people is so exhausting. I've taught myself to speak with two different voices and only say certain things around certain people […]” (301). Starr her whole life had to manage two different sides of her, the garden heights/ ghetto version of her vs. the suburbs Williamson prep version of her. Starr never really knew how to manage the two sides, for instance in chapter 21 she explains ” [...] I should be used to my two worlds colliding, but I never know which Starr I should be. I can use some slang, but not too much slang, some attitude, but not too much attitude, so I'm not a “sassy black girl.” I have to watch what I say and how I say it, but I can't sound “white.” (357). The protagonist was considered ‘too white’ in Garden Heights or ‘too black’ at Williamson and always had to find an equilibrium between the two. While living with two contrasting identities, Starr has always found it difficult to know who she really is. As a result, the upcoming events are what led Starr to further explore herself and who she is.

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After witnessing the devastating shooting and death of her friend Khalil, for mistakenly having a gun, Starr became helpless increasing her insecurities which further delayed the process of finding her true identity. After the incident was reported in the news, one of Starr’s friends from Williamson, referred to Khalil as a drug dealer as described in the news. In reaction to her friends’ statement, Starr defends the late Khalil, “The drug dealer. That's how they see him. It doesn't matter that he's suspected of doing it. “Drug dealer” is louder than “suspected” ever will be. If it's revealed that I was in the car, what will that make me? The thug ghetto girl with the drug dealer? What will my teachers think about me? My friends? The whole f****** world, possibly?” (113). As Starr is taking in the incident and grieving, she does not want anyone to know that she was present at the scene because everyone in Williamson prep would think of her differently as “ghetto” and friends with a drug dealer. Although Starr may have insecurities, she points out that she has to have a voice because then what is the point in everyone being silent when there is going to be a time of not being silent and standing up for themselves (252)? Starr is a role model because she is a firm believer in everyone having rights as a human beings and can have a say in what they want or do not want to do. The perception of others with respect to who Starr is is important to how she struggles with her own identity, especially after the death of Khalil.

Within every problem, there is always a solution, if not, a turn of events whether it is physical, mental, or sentimental. A few days later, in the afternoon there was a large protest led by Ms.Ofrah, an advocate and lawyer from the black rights community giving, Starr took the opportunity to say something to fight for her rights and for Khalil’s. During the protest, Starr hopped on a police car and said “‘Everybody wants to talk about how Khalil died,’ I say. ‘But this isn’t about how Khalil died. It’s about the fact that he lived. His life mattered. Khalil lived!’ I look at the cops again. ‘You hear me? Khalil lived!’” (Chp 24 pg. 412). At this point, Starr has completely transformed from an uncertain, grieving teenage girl who lost her best friend to a strong-willed brave activist who fights and stands up for others. As Khalil said before he was incidentally shot that THUG LIFE meant” […] The Hate U Give Little Infants F**** Everybody. T-H-U-G L-I-F-E. Meaning what society gives us as a youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out. Get it?” (Chp 1 pg.17). Starr will always remember what Khalil said because it is true and genuinely represents the protest and what lead Starr voicing her opinion. In other words, Starr is now a strong courageous brave person without Khalil’s incident Starr would still be looking and not have found the bravery that was deep inside of her. Within all of Starr’s weaknesses, insecurities, and strong momentums she became who she needed and wanted to be.

Starr has been through a rough patch from the loss of her best friend to having severe insecurities about herself to becoming an activist for her community. Starr has struggled with her double identity crisis to her insecurities after the incident. As well as her becoming one of the leaders of the huge protest. Without the sudden tragedy of Khalil Starr would still be on the lookout searching for her existence on Earth. Therefore, Starr has learned how to speak up, have a voice, and fight for her rights and for others.

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The Hate U Give’: Literary Analysis Essay. (2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 24, 2024, from
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