The Hate U Give and Interpretive Communities : How Young Adult Fiction Can Strengthen a Political Movement
Sammanfattning: In the wake of the guilty verdict of George Floyd’s murderer, police officer Derek Chauvin, there is hope for change in the pattern of police brutality against black people in the United States. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was published three years prior to George Floyd’s death, in 2017, and is a realistic fictional novel in the young adult genre that has gained attention for its relevant contribution in the debate of racism and police violence, as the fictional victim Khalil Harris, an unarmed black teenager, does not receive the same justice as George Floyd. In this essay, reader response to The Hate U Give is analysed in order to examine how it affects the opinions and worldview of the reader during and after the read. A close reading and analysis of pivotal scenes was carried out using affective stylistics, in order to interpret what the text does to the reader word-by-word, and subsequently the reader’s creation of meaning was examined and discussed. The reader’s response was then analysed with Stanley Fish’s theoretical framework of interpretive communities, groups with shared social norms and worldviews, which dictate how individuals create meaning in the first place. The analysis suggests that readers of The Hate U Give, while starting out in different, albeit to a certain extent similar, interpretive communities, will gradually align themselves with the interpretive community of Black Lives Matter through shared ideas and opinions and the increased understanding they develop when they read the novel.
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