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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 396

Themes in The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris include justice, the value of hard work, and politics.

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The theme of justice is encapsulated in Harris's work in the criminal justice system. She talks about her work as an attorney including specific cases where she had to fight to get a person the justice they deserved. The ways and means of the criminal justice system are examined through her own experiences. She shows how stereotypes can play into the conviction of certain people. For example, one anecdote relates how a man's taste in music influenced the way lawyers perceived him. Ultimately, it's her work in the justice system that led her to run for office. She believed that she could do more for "the victims of crimes committed and the victims of a broken criminal justice system" by holding office. So the book also examines the way in which justice is framed and determined not only by those in the criminal justice system but also by those in political positions.

The Value of Hard Work

The value of hard work is shown throughout the book as being something that offers both resources and self-respect. From the time she's a little girl, Harris works in a variety of positions. She even shows how doing arts and crafts can contribute to a person feeling good about themselves; she uses her yarn-work as an example of how hard work can benefit a person. It's all about setting and meeting goals. Her hard work is also used as an example as she moves from childhood to college to law school to elected office.


Politics is another theme that is expressed in the actions of Harris herself. She is in the U.S. Senate and was the Attorney General of California; she explains how she ran for and won these offices. It's not only political office that's discussed in the book, however. There are specific policy positions that she puts forth based on her own beliefs. For example, she talks about how prescriptions drugs are too expensive. She discusses wealth inequality, medical access, and other progressive policies that she hopes to advocate for in the future. It's clear that the book is about her personal politics and what she believes she can do for the American people if she stays in the Senate or is elected a higher office.

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