The Hate U Give: the Journey of Self-Discovery and Identity

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Table of Contents

  • Starr's Evolution of Identity and Self-Discovery in The Hate U Give
  • The Hate U Give and and the Power of the Voice
  • Conclusion

Starr comes from a family of four. She is a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in a neighbourhood of Garden Heights. She faces many experiences and demanding challenges, she develops a lot of change and finding her voice through the silence. In Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give, Starr’s identity goes through an evolution, where she is challenged and tested, that results in a discovery of self. To begin with, in the first argument Starr makes changes and discover herself by the interaction of her friends and family. In the novel, as Starr overhears the argument that is going with her parents and Carlos about Khalil’s shooting. She comes in the room starts to speak with her dad, about the deaths he’s witnessed before. Starr agrees on meeting with the detectives to talk about Khalil’s shooting, Maverick gives her some advice on her having the questioning with the detectives. He says, “Don’t let them put words in your mouth” (Thomas 58). 

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Starr's Evolution of Identity and Self-Discovery in The Hate U Give

Throughout in the novel, she learns to defeat her pain while still being present for everyone she cares about. She seeks to repress the memories that afflict and but instead invests in becoming the kind of person her friends and family need her to be. Despite her performance of completeness, the reality is that she never allows herself to build a cohesive sense of self. This example connects back to the thesis because Maverick is teaching Starr more advice on how to talk with police and how to act around them since the thesis states how she goes through her identity and discovering herself. Another example is when Kenya is telling Starr to stop being quiet about Khalil’s death, suspects that Starr is hiding something. She tells Starr, “I’m just saying, Starr. If I could change what happens at my house with my momma and daddy, I would. Here you are, with a chance to help change what happens in our neighbourhood, and you staying quiet. Like a coward” (Thomas 198). Starr thinks about Kenya’s speech as a slap in the face and a truth. She struggles with speaking up for Khalil for many reasons. She thinks that she doesn’t deserve to defend Khalil. 

The second reason she is afraid to speak up is because she is in the mid of trauma and grief, it’s difficult for her to take on such a big project as standing up for and giving justice for Khalil in the face of the public. That’s when Kenya inspires her to speak up and not be silent because of her resounding logic. This quote connects back to the thesis because it gives a realization Starr that she needs to stop being silent and find her voice throughout the novel. She sees how her friends and family that are in her life, are giving her the truth and advice to stop being silent and find her voice. Therefore, we can see the changes and reflection of herself through the interactions with her friends and family. Throughout in the novel, Starr represents a lot of change of herself and the inspiration she gets from people that care about her in her life. 

The Hate U Give and and the Power of the Voice

In the next argument Starr shows courageous through her friends and family. Starr is brave for speaking up for Khalil, mainly when she gives a nationally televised interview. She protests that she isn’t brave, that she is “misdiagnosed”by the people around her who commend her braveness. When Starr was about go inside the courtroom by herself her mother says, “Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared, Starr,” she says.“It means you go on even though you’re scared. And you’re doing that” (Thomas 331). It takes Lisa’s perspective to identify that bravery is not the same thing as not being afraid. The very nature of bravery is to act in the face of fear, to refuse to back down even when the task is scary. She demonstrates bravery when she stands on top of the patrol car to give a speech, lead a chant, and throw a can of tear gas back at the police. She gives a speech to angry mob and to the police saying, “I’m sick of this? Just like y’all think all of us are bad because of some people, we think that the same about y’all. Until you give us a reason to think otherwise, we’ll keep protesting” (Thomas 412). The path to her emotional reconciliation comes through to her ability and power to break through her silence and having someone to listen, hear, and to believe her. 


Both of these two examples connect back to the thesis because, from the start of the novel you can see how Starr has reflected and changed from being a silent girl to a girl that is breaking through and speaking up for herself for Khalil. Despite the challenging and complex obstacles, Starr knows her voice is a powerful weapon in the pursuit of Khalil’s justice and those affected by police brutality.     

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