The Interpretation Of Tragedy In The Hate U Give
Worlds of individuals can be shifted by the events of tragedy. In Angie Thomas’s novel “The Hate U Give,” she explains the views and lives of individuals that grow from tragedy. Thomas’s interpretation of tragedy is formed through real-life events in the United States, from racism to murder. Even though tragedy can affect people in numerous ways, tragedy can be overcome and transformed into a light in the darkness. In “The Hate U Give,” Thomas digs down into the belief that community, relationships, family, friendships, and heartbreak can be never-ending because of tragedy.
Communities can be brought together through tragedy. As shown in “The Hate U Give,” the tragedy that occurs in people’s lives can drastically alter the way people live and think. At Khalil Harris’s funeral at the church, a woman stands up and speaks about an organization born within the community. “My name is April Ofrah, and i’m with “Just Us For Justice.” (Chapter 8, 133). She then goes on to speak about the officer who shot and killed Khalil Harris, but Thomas digs a little bit deeper with this line from the chapter, as she is showing a representation of what a community can come back from and also what a community can form through tragedy. Her organization supports parents, and siblings of young black men who have been shot and killed by law enforcement. The community that Thomas has portrayed within the book shows that communities can be brought together through tragedy.
Relationships can be formed through tragedy. The relationships and friendships that Starr has with her boyfriend and peers at school tells two different stories. Starr’s friendships in the book are filled with conversations about many different things, conversations about whether a certain food should be toasted or conversations about basketball. But with Chris, their conversations have a more serious tone to them. “I kneel beside my dead friend in the middle of the street with my hands raised. A cop as white as Chris points a gun at me.”(Chapter 5, 83). Chris interacts physically with Starr and she has a flashback to the night Khalil was shot next to her. This event was sudden for Chris, and traumatizing for Starr, later in the book Chris finally has a better understanding of Starr’s pain and ache. Chris better understanding what was going on with Starr is a direct example to a relationship forming and strengthening through tragedy.
Families can be strengthened through tragedy. Starr’s family has bonded through many things such as Starr’s dad’s corner shop that he owns, the person that he is known as in the community and basketball. “We stop at a red light. A Riverton Hills patrol car pulls up beside us. Seven straightens up and stares ahead, barely blinking and gripping the steering wheel… I stare ahead and pray for the light to change too.” (Chapter 5, 87). Starr, Sekani, and Seven all experience what Starr experienced on the night of Khalil’s death. Not as intense, nor did it have nearly the same ending. But the tension they all felt in the car is a reaction to the thought of a tragedy happening again, but to them this time. Thomas explores the ideology of real-life events and experiences of young black men and women when they see a police officer. Comparing and using common knowledge to manipulate how the characters in the book react to different scenarios. The three family members in the car have experienced the fear brought upon Starr the night of Khalil’s death, they all see the fear that Starr had that night. Thus growing the bond and relationship throughout the book of Starr’s family.
Friendships can be formed and strengthened through the events of a tragedy. Starr switching between two characters to hide who she really is has opened up possibilities of forming new friendships at Williamson High. The book ‘The Hate U Give’ portrays a strong view on children coming from struggling neighborhoods. Starr does not want her peer to see her as the “colored girl from the ghetto” as claimed in the book. The connection she has with her friends at Williamson shows how well she is able to switch characters in a new environment. Starr and her friends have controversial conversations about a post of a teen shot and killed on social media. The image on the post is graphic and one of her friends says that those kinds of posts don’t belong on such a wide-spread platform. But also with her friendships she’s built outside of her high school, she has developed an understanding that there are others like her that want to spread the same message on the death of Khalil Harris. April Ofrah, a public speaker for the group ‘Just Us For Justice’ is a woman that Starr admires within the book, and grows a special connection with, Ofrah was not in contact with Starr nor did not know of her until the funeral for Khalil Harris. Thus introducing a new friendship for Starr to grow with through tragedy.
Heartbreak can be never-ending through the events of a tragedy. Thomas paints a perfect picture of heartbreak in the novel ‘The Hate U Give’, Starr witnesses her childhood friend murdered in the street during a routine traffic stop performed by a white officer identified as “115.” The media shortly after Khalil’s death describes Harris’s actions, not his character. News strories on the television and news articles on websites describe him as: “gang member”, or better yet.
Thomas dives into the idea that tragedy is very impactful in a lot of ways, it can impact a person negatively in many ways, but tragedy can reach some positive points, having positive outcomes. The perspective of communities, relationships, and families forming through a negative event in life. Shown by Thomas, the importance of community in a tough event or time in life, like Khalil’s funeral. The impact of the relationships and the people you have around you, dug into with the Post Traumatic Stress event with Starr when interacting with her boyfriend. Lastly, the seriousness of family coming together through a tragedy, through Starr and her siblings experiencing a tense moment with the cops. “The Hate U Give” is impactful and relates to real-life situations, almost replicating the events and thoughts of a real life, young black teen. Angie Thomas chose to dig deeper into ideas that relate to real-life events, because the separation between fiction, and non-fiction, can be narrowed down by one perspective of an author.
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