The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 1/3 (Clark and Jared’s Group)

The Hate U Give is about a black girl named Starr Carter, who struggles with the prospect of speaking up after her unarmed black friend is shot by a white police officer. The novel covers themes such as racism, gang life, and code switching and can be emotionally heavy at times.

Each time I think of The Hate U Give, I think of the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Junior and Starr are so incredibly similar yet very different. In fact, those two remind me of one of Charles Darwin’s observations in his famous voyage to the Galapagos: species can be ecologically different, yet similar. Obviously, both Junior and Starr do not live under the same circumstances, yet both have a cynical, nonchalant sassiness of a teenager living under difficult circumstances. The only differences between the two of them is that Junior is a boy and his tribe is plagued with alcohol whereas Starr is a girl and plagued by gang violence and drugs. Both also, have to deal with the issue of racism. Starr deals with racism by ignoring it and pretending that it is not that big of a deal until a racist cop kills her friend. Just like Starr, Junior requires a drastic event to convince him to nip racism in the bud. Roger making fun of buffalo, black people, and Indians convinces Junior to fight back. The similarities are so uncanny, that I feel as if Sherman Alexie and Angie Thomas formed some kind of author conspiracy where they wrote the same thing with different characters and problems.

Another recurring idea in both Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and The Hate U Give is code switching. Both Starr and Junior turn on a “white” switch in which they act completely different than how they do around their own race. In The Hate U Give, Starr compares her “hood” self to her white or Williamson self. She says that at Williamson she “doesn’t use slang—if a rapper would say it, she doesn’t say it, even if her white friends do. Slang makes them cool. Slang makes her “hood.” Williamson Starr holds her tongue when people piss her off so nobody will think she’s the “angry black girl.” Williamson Starr is approachable. No stank-eyes, side-eyes, none of that. Williamson Starr is non confrontational. Basically, Williamson Starr doesn’t give anyone a reason to call her ghetto” (Thomas 72). Even though Starr lives in Garden Heights, a ghetto filled with gangs, drugs, and violence, she goes to a preppy high school where everyone is rich and lives in a perfect neighborhood. She wants to be seen besides her class and color so tries to be the opposite of what the stereotype for “hood” girls are. This signifies that fact that she is ashamed to be poor, black, and living in a neighborhood where gunshots are so common, they go unnoticed. In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Junior goes to school with his Indian mindset. He fights the biggest white kid after a tussle, but does not realize that the social norms in Reardan are very different compared with Indian norms. What he takes as normal-punching a guy in the face-is considered murderous and violent to others. This helps Junior create a new, white persona for himself as someone who dates a white girl, plays basketball with white boys against Indian boys, and is best friends with someone who is white. Both Junior and Starr, however, can not always keep out what happens at the home. Junior stays home from school for many days due to funerals and wakes and seems to find out someone else dies everyday. This carries on to class, where his teachers mock him for missing so much school, carrying over the insults from back home on the rez to also at Reardan. Starr takes Khalil’s (her dead friend) murder very seriously and becomes more and more upset and angry at Williamson which causes some of her “friends” to make fun of her for being upset.

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3 responses to “The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 1/3 (Clark and Jared’s Group)

  1. clarkjones1

    Angie Thomas’s portrayal of racism and poverty is well written in The Hate U Give. Thomas’s novel cleverly mixes heavy topics with light humor and pop references. In agreement with Jared, Thomas’s style of writing can easily be compared to the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Both novels are narrated by a young teen facing the struggles of mixing personalities between their community and white dominated high school lives. In order to convey the challenges they face, the authors emphasized voice. Through the first third of the novel, the main character, Starr, reveals the issues in her life and community through the form of humor and sarcasm. Lines such as “he always has [parties] on the Friday of spring break because you need Saturday to recover and Sunday to repent” add a light-hearted mood to the novel that sets up juxtaposition for heavy topics (4). The voice of the narrator brought the book to life and draws the reader in. Even a few pages in I could find tie similarities to Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The challenges the main characters face in both books are similar and their culture and community can be easily compared. The combination of humor and voice mixed with heavy subjects such as racism and poverty make both of these books stand out. While I wouldn’t go as far to say that there is an author conspiracy as Jared stated, I definitely can agree that this writing style is very effective and can create an interesting novel.

    The writing style Angie Thomas uses also intensifies the conflicts of her book. At only twenty three pages in, the main conflict is forced upon the main character. As she sees her friend get shot by a police officer, she is forced to determine if she is going to use her situation to better herself, her community, and the world. Unlike many other novels, the pop references and humor make the novel seem realistic to the reader. The book was published last year and contains references to current songs, dance moves, and celebrities. The incorporation of current events changes the feel of the book from an award-winning novel to a story told by a friendly stranger. However, having a realistic book highlights realistic problems. The challenges Starr faces are issues that many Americans face today. Police brutality, gang violence, poverty, and racism all affect current America. The Hate U Give brings to light these issues and portrays the struggles that may go unnoticed unless we use our voices. Starr is very aware of how the world works which only makes her character stronger. The realism of the book is unique and amplifies the talent the author has.

  2. Jared Nam

    PART 2/3: THE HATE U GIVE
    By: Jared Nam

    The second part of The Hate U Give is just as riveting as the first. One thing I have noticed is a theme change or conflict change as the book progresses. The first part of the book is the conflict of the shooting of Khalil, but in the second half, the conflict shifts to violence inside the slums of Garden Heights. With the present war between the Garden Height Disciples and King Lords, Starr must also face police brutality against her family since she is speaking against Officer 115. In turn there are a lot of riots which are equally as violent as the gang wars. This violence that surrounds Starr is a lot more escalated ever since Khalil is shot and Starr has to find her own path through all this danger with as few casualties as possible.

    Seven and Starr decide the sneak out of their house in order to play basketball despite the ongoing riots. There, they see several King Lords hanging around the play structures. However, as they play, two Garden Disciples go straight at them, but “the boy on the merry-go-round runs over and pushes the GDs back. He lifts up his shirt, flashing his piece” (Thomas 145). Here piece does not mean a portion of anything, but instead a gun. The two Garden Disciples were robbing Seven and Starr and the King Lords ended it with a threat of violence. This age-old question of: Is non-violence always the answer? In History, we learned about Gandhi and his independence movement shifted around non-violence. However, I am beginning to think that non-violence is not always the answer. For Starr and Seven, had they complied or negotiated with the Garden Disciples, they would either have lost their possessions, lost their life, or lost a part of their body. Non-violence, I have decided on, is always a good thing to do, but not always the right thing.

    Another instance of brutality from the police occurs in the second part of the book as well. Two police officers are in Garden Heights and when finding out that Starr’s dad is Maverick Carter, the father of the witness, they immediately shove him to the ground and one cops places “his knee on Daddy’s back as he searches him. He pats him down once, twice, three times, just like One-Fifteen did Khalil” (Thomas 194). Just because Maverick was Starr’s father caused the officers to jump on him like that. Starr was testifying against the officer and so the officers were in turn, showing more violence towards her family for whatever reason they could bring up. This police brutality in response to words against officers brings up another question of the justice from police. There are definitely police like One Fifteen that are not good policemen, but there are mostly hard-working people who save lives every day.

    Mr. Lewis, a fellow store owner who speaks up against King and his drug dealing has his “left eye…swollen shut and blood drips onto his shirt from a slash on his cheek…” (Thomas 220). Mr. Lewis broke the black gang code of never snitching. He even gave the name of the person snitching in a way that was so much worse than ‘dry snitching.’ In response, he is beat up by King and his gang members. This violence from within further adds to the discord that the police want from the blacks living in Garden Heights. Had all of the negativity and gangs been put aside, there would have been unity and a chance to win against the police. All the enmity from within the community further broke apart the community which is another system of hate given to everyone inside, hence the name The Hate U Give.

    This book is a masterpiece of literature and can not wait for the last part, though I will be sad as that means it is over.

  3. clarkjones1

    Part ⅔: THE HATE U GIVE
    By Clark Jones

    In the first two-thirds of the novel, Angie Thomas keeps the reader intrigued as she describes Starr’s daily life as well as her struggles coping with a friend’s death. The contrasting focal points of the main character’s regular life and the death of her friend amplify the issues of police brutality and gang violence. Vivid writing may entice the reader to enjoy the main character playing basketball with her family, but it shocks the reader when two gang members attempt to rob them. The shock value adds to the power of the conflicts and causes the issues to seem realistic. Starr and her family display character which encourages an attachment with the reader. This attachment is later used to strengthen the issues and magnify the central conflict.

    As Jared mentioned in the previous blog, one key challenge the characters face is violence. Through the book, violence is used to progress important events in the story and develop major themes. While the antagonists always turn to aggression, the main characters question the use of violence and are rarely seen committing violent acts. Starr decides to use her voice as her “weapon” and attempts to seek justice through several interviews, blog posts, and rallies. However, towards the end of the second third of the novel, Starr finds that using words is not as effective as she previously thought. As she speaks out against injustices, her father is shoved to the ground and her neighbor is mugged. Even though Starr rejects violence, those around her are assailed and abused. As Mr. Nam stated, “Is non-violence always the answer?” In our English class, violence has never been the answer in class assigned books: Scout is chided for punching Walter Cunningham, Junior becomes confused after punching Roger, and nothing works out happily for the fortune’s fool: Romeo. In The Hate U Give, however, as more and more of Starr’s friends are assaulted, the reader questions if non-violence is the best form of retaliation.

    Another question that is presented in The Hate U Give is prevalent in the second third of the novel. As Starr struggles to cope with the loss of a close childhood friend, she is confronted by a few different people calling her to action. Since Starr was a witness to the injustice, many activists believe that her voice can have a powerful effect on her community. However, Starr is also faced with the challenge of her own personal safety as she deals with controversial topics. The question is posed: At what cost should an individual speak up? While she fears for her life, Starr desires the courage to be active and confront the injustices. She concludes that “What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” (Thomas, 286). The reader learns that if one does not stand up for their beliefs than they lose the power of their voice.

    The Hate U Give continues to be a great book and I cannot wait to finish it.

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