The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas

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In The Hate U Give, what are Mr. Wyatt's feelings towards Maverick?

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Mr. Wyatt was the previous owner of the neighborhood grocery and convenience store that Maverick Carter now runs. Maverick bought the store from Mr. Wyatt after the man retired, moving to the beach to “watch pretty women.”

According to Starr in chapter three, Mr. Wyatt is the only person who would hire Maverick after he was released from prison. She says that Mr. Wyatt felt that Maverick was the only person he could trust to run the store properly. As a result, Mr. Wyatt essentially handed down his business to Maverick, allowing the former gang member to earn an honest living for himself and his family.

In chapter twenty-three, after the officer who shot Khalil is cleared of any wrongdoing, Starr, Seven, DeVante, and Chris attend a street protest that quickly turns riotous and violent. When Starr sees a group of looters set fire to a nearby drugstore, she recalls the moment that Mr. Wyatt handed Maverick the keys to the store. She also thinks about the other small business owners in Garden Heights, all of whom are prominent figures in the community. The significance of this connection is that Starr realizes that the rioters are destroying a small business just like the one her father runs, symbolically tearing down the good people in the community as they attempt to tear down the bad. While Starr recognizes the validity of the community’s anger, she does not condone how destructive that anger can be.

This connects with how Mr. Wyatt viewed Maverick as a person worthy of respect who could successfully handle such a responsibility as running a business, despite his status as a former gangbanger and felon. Starr recognizes that this negative perception of black men—that they are criminals unworthy of redemption—can be changed, but that people within the community have a responsibility to believe in themselves first.

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