The Hate U Give: Book Update

Author: Angie Thomas

In my opinion, the most compelling internal and external conflict in the book “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, is Starr’s conflict. Starr feels as she needs to “code switch” between Williamson Starr, her more kept away less “ghetto” version of herself, and her regular Starr, just her. Externally, Starr’s actions and the way she would handle things are very different when code switching. She makes a promise to herself to never ever let anyone see her as “ghetto” or “loud”.

Starr consistently claims that being cool as a black girl is different than being cool as a white person at Williamson, and since her school is dominantly white, she has to code switch. I believe that the internal conflict that connects with this is the way Starr didn’t really have the energy to code switch after the incident. She kept getting angry with people at school for making racist remarks and the subtle microaggressions. Usually, she would let it pass, but since shes been dealing with it so long internally and the incident, it all just came spilling out. Starr felt alone, embarrassed and confused because she felt as no one would understand her, she felt as she was betraying the black community, and she felt as all her hard work and energy she put into code switching was all for nothing because she had now been officially seen as “The angry black woman”. Stereotypical.

The book builds tension by explicitly describing the way Starr feels about her actions and code switching. The narrator is from Starr’s POV making the book more interesting and easier to connect with when her thoughts, emotions, and feelings are shared. Angie Thomas also leaves space for the reader to infer what she is thinking.

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