What is the importance of DeVante’s character in The Hate U Give?
DeVante’s story encapsulates the way stereotypes dehumanize people and mask the complexity of the lives underneath. Although DeVante compares himself unfavorably to Khalil because Khalil had not actually been a member of the King Lords, Starr quickly realizes that DeVante is not a bad person, despite his gang affiliation. We first meet DeVante when he protects Starr and Seven from Garden Disciples even though Starr and Seven are not King Lords, displaying bravery in place of blindly adhering to staunch gang codes of conduct. DeVante shows himself to be gentle and caring when he willingly helps brush a doll’s hair for Starr’s younger cousin. When he wanders back into Garden Heights, he goes not to cause trouble but to visit his brother’s grave, which reminds us that he lost a sibling very recently and is still grieving. DeVante therefore functions to remind us that even if Khalil had been a member of the King Lords, it wouldn’t have changed the injustice of his death. DeVante’s complexity and vulnerability demonstrates that gang members, too, have lives that matter.
Discuss the significance of the Carter family’s new neighborhood Brook Falls.
Brook Falls represents a combination of Maverick and Lisa’s ideals. When Maverick and Lisa argue about moving for most of the novel, their desires seem completely at odds because their only options seem to be to move to Uncle Carlos’s safe, but primarily white community, or stay in primarily black but often dangerous Garden Heights. Brook Falls, however, has space for both of their desires. When Starr first sees Brook Falls, she observes that it is a diverse community, unlike the suburbs Uncle Carlos lives in, which means that the people in that neighborhood do not have to completely assimilate into white respectability, which was one of Maverick’s fears about moving. However, unlike Garden Heights, children can play in the street without fear in Brook Falls, allowing them to have the relaxed childhood Lisa wants so badly for Starr, Seven, and Sekani. Brook Falls therefore gives the Carter family a life that both allows for Maverick’s ideals of Black Power and Lisa’s understanding that children need safety and stability to flourish.
Why is Hailey mad at Starr? Is Starr’s lie about not knowing Khalil enough to account for Hailey’s anger?
Hailey’s anger at Starr results from the discomfort she feels with issues involving race, and the fact that Starr no longer allows her to get away with racist comments and behaviors. Hailey unfollows Starr on Tumblr, the only place Starr brought up racial issues outside of Garden Heights, which creates a world where Hailey can ignore Starr’s blackness. Starr, of course, must constantly confront her own blackness and cannot so easily escape the discomfort associated with it. During the fights over the fried chicken comment and the interview with One-Fifteen’s father, Hailey gets most upset over the idea that she might be considered racist, which shows that she cares less about how her actions hurt Starr and more about protecting herself from accusations of racism. Therefore, when Hailey screams that she doesn’t know who Starr is anymore in Chapter Fourteen, she blames Starr for not allowing her to ignore Starr’s blackness, and that issues like police brutality are a real part of Starr’s life. We can interpret Hailey’s anger as a distraction from the real issue: Hailey’s white privilege is threatened by Starr’s realities.