The overarching story of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry describes the success of the Logan family. The Logan family is successful in maintaining its hold on its farmland, in fighting back against racism; finally, the Logan family is successful in that it survives. Papa, Mama, and Big Ma are careful to teach their children the values that make this kind of dignity and success possible. As Cassie, the narrator, grows up over the course of the novel, she must learn to reconcile the pure streak of pride that she inherits from her Uncle Hammer with the more rational but still dignified approaches to racism adopted by her parents. She must learn that racism is something to fight when possible and endure when necessary.
She sees her elders use a number of different tactics. First, there is verbal defiance, as is displayed when Harlan Granger visits the Logan family and tries to convince them to stop the boycott of the Wallace store. Also, she sees the wisdom her family employs in not accusing the Wallaces in public, and, more specifically, of lighting a fire to distract the lynch mob instead of going in with guns blazing. The most important lesson that she learns, however, is that material independence is key to dignity and ethical independence. Because the Logans own their own land, they have opportunities that other black families do not have.
At first I had to read this book for school. I'm going to be honest. The beginning is NOT interesting. But when I read up to about chapter 6, I read the whole rest of the book on sparknotes! The ending was a bit shocking, and I have no idea why Papa would do that. If someone could reply and explain to me why Papa did what he did that would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Papa lights the field because he and the Logan's have gone through so much together. They have been battered by racism, inequality and physical pain. Papa did make a decision without the Logan's but he did it for the better of the children.