The class status of blacks, which Reconstruction did not relieve, serves as a tool for maintaining a racially divided society. Significantly, the greatest blow to Paul is struck by a man poorer than himself. Digger Wallace, like Paul and Mitchell, has little access to power in his society because of his poverty. However, Digger suffers at the hands of racist ideology, which tells him that he, by the order of nature itself, must be superior to all blacks. When Digger sees blacks better off than he is financially, he experiences a disjunction between what conventional wisdom tells him and the reality of his day-to-day experience. Digger Wallace, ashamed and confused at the wretchedness of his life, lashes out against those whom society tells him are inferior to him. As in Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry, the poor whites, who struggle against economic disenfranchisement but are offered the flimsy compensation of racial superiority over other lower-class citizens, often harbor the most virulent and violent forms of racism.