The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas

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What are the seven most important events in The Hate U Give?

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The seven most important events in "The Hate U Give" are: Starr attending a party where she reconnects with Khalil; witnessing Khalil's murder by a police officer; the Carter family deciding to keep Starr's involvement secret; Starr giving her statement to the police; the funeral and subsequent riots; Starr publishing "The Khalil I Know" on Tumblr and getting legally involved; and the family moving after the grand jury's decision, which sparks bigger riots and the community reporting King for arson.

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Angie Thomas’s debut novel, The Hate U Give , is an emotional and moving story about Starr Carter. In the novel, sixteen-year-old Starr witnesses the brutal murder of her friend at the hands of a police officer and must learn to use her voice to speak up for both herself...

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and her community.

At the beginning of the novel, Starr goes to a party in Garden Heights, her neighborhood. Starr and her half-brother, Seven, are sent to a (majority-white) school outside of their neighborhood because their parents want a better education for them. The party is important for Starr because she is often looked at differently because of her school. At the party, she runs into Khalil Harris. Starr and Khalil grew up together, but their lives have taken different turns. Starr suspects that he is dealing drugs, but the two enjoy catching up. As shots break out at the party, Khalil grabs Starr and puts her in his car, making sure she is safe.

On the drive home, Khalil is pulled over by a police officer. The police officer, whom Starr calls One-Fifteen because of his badge number, is angry when Khalil will not respond to his demands. He makes Khalil get out of the car and sits him on the ground beside it. When Khalil opens the door to check on Starr, the police officer believes he is reaching for a gun and shoots him three times. Starr watches her friend bleed to death beside her.

The Carter family decides to keep Starr’s involvement in the night’s events to themselves. The neighborhood doesn’t like it when people work with the police officers, and Starr’s father, Maverick, believes King, a local gang leader, will cause more trouble for Starr if she gets involved. This decision ends up being difficult for Starr. At school, no one knows the events she has witnessed, and she doesn’t feel comfortable opening up to them about it.

Starr goes to the police station to give her statement about the night’s events. She grows upset as the officers only focus on rumors of Khalil’s drug dealings and not on the officer that shot him. Starr and her mom fear Khalil will not have a fair case.

At Khalil’s funeral, April Ofrah speaks about the tragedy of the case and reminds the congregation that Khalil was an unarmed boy shot by the police. She arranges a march to follow the funeral. She also offers to represent Starr, pulling her further into the case. For several days, riots break out around the neighborhood. Starr’s father stays at his store to protect it from rioters. The government sends military tanks into the neighborhood and mandates a 10 pm curfew.

Starr begins publishing “The Khalil I Know,” an anonymous Tumblr that paints the true picture of Khalil. She gives stories, pictures, and memories of her friend. The posts empower her to get more involved, and she goes to April’s office. She learns that the case is going to a grand jury; April volunteers to represent Starr for free.

Thirteen weeks after Khalil’s death, Starr and her family move to a new, higher-class neighborhood. This is a difficult decision for her family, as her father never wanted to turn his back on where he came from, but the move is an important step toward healing.

When the grand jury announces that they find the officer innocent of wrongfully killing Khalil, bigger riots break out. This time, Maverick’s store is burned down. However, as another sign of healing, the neighborhood comes together and reports King for the arson. Starr ends the novel promising Khalil she will continue to fight against injustices in their community.

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Angie Thomas's award-winning young adult novel, The Hate U Give, includes several key events that cause conflict, propel the plot forward, and impact the story's protagonist, Starr Carter.

  1. At the age of ten, Starr witnesses a drive-by shooting that results in the death of her friend, Natasha. This traumatizing event is presented through flashbacks in the novel.
  2. At the age of 16, Starr attends a house party in her neighborhood (Garden Heights) where she sees her old childhood friend, Khalil. She suspects that Khalil has been selling drugs, and this upsets her.
  3. Starr and Khalil leave the party in Khalil's car. A police officer pulls them over because the car has a broken taillight. The police officer ends up shooting and killing the unarmed Khalil before pointing the gun at Starr.
  4. Starr tells the police what she witnessed, but the police officer involved in the incident tells a different story. This, coupled with the fact that some of Starr's white friends seem indifferent to the fact that a "drug dealer" was shot, greatly upsets Starr and prompts her to begin to advocate for justice for Khalil.
  5. Starr tells everyone what happened to Khalil in a nationally-televised interview. She receives a lot of support afterward from her family, friends, and anonymous people, but she also experiences negative responses, including a warning about "snitching" from King, a well-known gang leader in the neighborhood.
  6. Starr bravely ignores King's warning and continues to advocate for justice for Khalil. She testifies in front of a grand jury, who ultimately decides not to indict the officer who killed Khalil. When protests erupt in response to the grand jury's decision, Starr finds herself in the middle of the protesting crowd. She climbs atop a police car and speaks through a megaphone about Khalil’s death until police throw tear gas at her.
  7. Starr and her friends flee to the store her father owns. Someone barricades the door from the outside to trap them inside and then throws a flaming bottle through the window, setting the store on fire. King is accused of the crime and arrested by the police.

All of these events alter Starr and help her evolve from a young traumatized girl into a strong young woman who is dedicated to using her voice to advocate for justice for herself and other people.

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The relative importance of the following events is a matter of opinion, but each one plays an important role in moving the action along in The Hate U Give.
  • At the beginning of the story, Starr Carter goes to a house party with old friends from her neighborhood of Garden Heights, which is significant since she now attends school in Riverton Hills and spends time with different friends.
  • Starr and a childhood friend, Khalil, leave the party together in his car. On the way home, Starr witnesses a police officer shoot and kill Khalil (who is unarmed) after pulling him over for a traffic stop. The officer alleges that he thought Khalil's hairbrush was a gun.
  • After a televised interview in which the officer's father gives inaccurate information about what actually occurred, Starr faces her fear of speaking out and comes forth to testify for a district attorney about the killing.
  • She then gives an interview on TV and mentions King, a Garden Heights drug dealer. A drive-by shooting occurs at the Carter home after Starr's interview, which is intended as a warning to her and to anyone considering "snitching," or talking to the police or the general public.
  • Starr ignores the warning and testifies for a grand jury.
  • The grand jury decides not to indict Officer Cruise, and violence breaks out in Garden Heights. Starr bravely speaks to the crowd about unjust police violence and apathy towards Khalil's death.
  • Chris, Starr's boyfriend, demonstrates his devotion to Starr by being present with her during the night's events, rather than staying at home in the safety of Riverton Hills. Starr, Chris, and Starr's half-brother, Seven, are victims of tear gas thrown by police, and afterward they take shelter inside the store owned by her father, Maverick, store just before it is fire-bombed.
  • Residents of Garden Heights tell police officers that King is responsible for the fire in Maverick's store. This is significant since locals do not typically provide information to police voluntarily. The arrest is impactful since Seven, his mother, and his sister will now be free of abusive King, the head of their household.
  • Starr decides that Chris is a true ally and finds peace about their relationship; in contrast, she parts ways with Hailey, an inconsiderate and racist friend that she has not had the confidence to stand up to in the past. Starr vows to continue speaking out for what is right and to never forget Khalil.
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What are some of the most important moments in The Hate U Give?

One of the most important moments in The Hate U Give is when Starr plucks up the courage to testify before a grand jury concerning the shooting of Khalil by a police officer.

What's particularly important about this scene is that it shows moral growth on the part of Starr. It takes enormous courage to do what she's doing, to stand up and be counted and make a stand for justice.

In making this fateful decision, Starr is also getting in touch with her identity as a young Black woman, an identity that she has had to suppress to a certain extent while attending a predominantly white prep school. Testifying before a grand jury can be seen as a way for Starr to affirm her racial identity, a statement of her growing racial consciousness.

Starr realizes all too well that what happened to Khalil could just as easily have happened to her or any other Black person. By taking the stand before the grand jury, she's also taking a stand against the racial injustice to which so many people in her community are subjected on a regular basis.

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