The characters continue to struggle with the implications of biracial friendships. Both Mitchell and Paul, remembering Robert's betrayal, warn young Nathan against entering into friendships with whites. Nathan, as Paul once did, stubbornly clings to the conviction that his friendship is different. Indeed, Taylor gives us no clear or categorical answer: Wade Jamison, is, after all, the same Mr. Jamison who remains a steadfast and true friend to the Logan family in Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry,. John Wallace, the book implies, is the father or uncle of the timorous but gentle Jeremy of Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry, who tries to befriend Paul's grandson Stacey, despite the racism of his bigoted brothers. The men reluctantly accept Wade's presence, but they remain wary because in their experience they were betrayed when they credulously accepted the friendly advances of whites. As Nathan suggests, a new type of relationship between blacks and whites may be possible, but as Paul and Mitchell insist, that relationship will still be plagued by troubles set upon it by the racist society in which it occurs.

From this racist society springs Paul's visceral desire to own land. His land would be, in a sense, his own country or society where racism would not exist. As long as he cannot provide himself with both shelter and a steady income, he must engage in relationships with whites—like Luke Sawyer, Hattie Crenshaw, and Jessup—and rely upon their goodwill for his well-being. While many of the whites with whom Paul deals are fair, he understands that as long as whites are not held accountable by law for their behavior toward blacks, they will only be held accountable by their own sense of morality, which has been shaped by a racist cultural heritage. Paul knows he cannot always count on dealing with honorable whites. Land would provide Paul with space that would insulate him and his family from the society in which they are located. Paul's desire to own land symbolizes his desire to build a world in which he and his loved ones can exercise their full human rights without threat or interference.

PLUS

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