One of the major aspects of the novel is Starr’s sense of identity. In
our first unit we discussed the various aspects that make up one’s
cultural identity. Using both the novel, and our previous
conversations about culture or navigating multiple identities; write
an analytical paper in which you unpack Starr’s cultural identity. In
your analysis, you can consider some of the literary techniques or components that communicate this
phenomenon in the novel. You can also incorporate other characters in your analysis, like Big Mav, Seven,
Uncle Carlos, etc.
Angie Thomas contends that writing THUG was a form of
activism. Using the novel, write an analytical paper in which
you examine some of the choices (literary techniques or
elements) that Thomas makes as a writer in order to perform
this activism. Do you agree with her, is the novel a form of
activism? Why? What kind of activism is it (high-risk, lowrisk)? Why does this type of activism matter? In your paper
consider the literary elements, and the genre of the novel.
Consider also the relation to the contemporary moment, the
relation to history, and the novel’s allusions to media coverage of police killings in the black community.
Using both “Letter to My Son,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and THUG, analyze how both authors, Thomas and
Coates, are addressing the conversation also shared by Dr. King. Notice the difference in style (one a speech,
one an epistolary, and one a YA novel) but the similarities in the arguments about what it means to be black in
America, both past and present. Then, write an essay that addresses the following questions: What does it
mean to be “a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world”? (Coates, 31) In what ways can THUG be
read as the story of Starr becoming such a citizen? How might this phrase describe what happened to Starr in
the book? How might this be a process that each of them (Starr, Samori, King) is living (or lived) as well?