The Hate U Give
This study guide will help you analyze the novel The Hate U Give (2017) by Angie Thomas. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective.
Excerpt from the study guide:
Although Starr is initially angry with Khalil for selling drugs, she eventually realizes that Khalil was trapped in a cycle of poverty and crime. Starr’s father explains to her that drugs are a multi-billion dollar industry that damages the poorest communities most: “ ‘You got folks like Brenda, who think they need them to survive, and then you got the Khalils, who think they need to sell them to survive.’ ” (Chapter 10, 31%). Starr begins to understand that the American social and economic system is structured to keep people like Khalil out.
Later on, Starr also learns that Khalil was only selling drugs because his mother Brenda stole something from King. Khalil was working to pay his mother’s debt. In other words, Khalil was only selling drugs to try to save his mother: “That was classic Khalil. No matter what his momma did, he was still her knight and he was still gonna protect her.” (Chapter 13, 93%). Starr also learns that Khalil was not actually a member of the King Lords gang, despite King trying to give that impression at his funeral.
Khalil was a kind, ordinary boy
When Starr does an interview on national TV, she tries to show that Khalil was a good person and an ordinary boy who was unfairly killed. She mentions that Khalil was a “jokester” and that he had “a big heart” (Chapter 16, 57%). She also says that he was not a thug: “ ‘I’m not saying he was an angel or anything, but he wasn’t a bad person. He was a…’ I shrug. ‘He was a kid.’ ” (Chapter 16, 57%). Starr often makes the point that the way Khalil died was in no way justified, even though he may not have been perfect and definitely made some mistakes in his life.
Starr begins to realize that Khalil would have spoken up for her if their positions had been reversed. She decides that the most important thing about his character was not that he sold drugs or even that he died, but that he had a life of his own that did not deserve to be cut short: “ ‘This isn’t about how Khalil died. It’s about the fact that he lived. His life mattered. Khalil lived!’ ” (Chapter 24, 58%). Starr’s point is that even if all of the accusations and suspicions about Khalil had turned out to be true (which they did not), his life would still have value, and he would not have deserved the fate he met at the hands of One-Fifteen.