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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Mildred D. Taylor

Analysis

Chapters 11-12

Study Questions

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.

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