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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Essay

Cassie is the first-person narrator of the story. Cassie is an intelligent, outspoken, and self-confident nine year old girl, even when those qualities threaten to get her in trouble for speaking her mind in a white-dominated world. She is mature in regard to her sense of morality but she is naive. She does not understand the depth and cruelty of the racism around her. Even though Cassie is younger than Stacy, she is constantly making sure he is safe and okay. Cassie dislikes T. J. because of his lying personality and thinks he is a bad influence on Stacy.

However she soon learns that even though he is bad person, Stacy still considered him a friend. Since she is black she experiences racism and learns the real dangers of being black in the South in the 1930s. She is witness to the violence and injustice of the South as she becomes aware of lynching, of the curtailment of her father and mother’s freedom, and of the severe punishments meted out to blacks accused of wrongdoing. Cassie grows up over the course of the year, learns some sad truths, and experiences the strength and love of her family.

Stacey Logan Stacey is Cassie’s older brother. As the oldest child, he bosses his brothers and sister around and is the leader of their small group. He is brave and compassionate, but not always wise. Stacey is best friends with T. J. Avery. Since he is twelve years old he often tries to solve his own problems of his own. Stacey has lessons to learn however, he is sensitive about being teased by older friends and allows T. J. to talk him out of the coat given to him by Uncle Hammer.

The coat does not look bad on him, but T. J. wants it for himself. The scolding given to him by Mr. Morrison was worse than any punishment his mother could have inflicted as it accuses him of weakness and of being more foolish than the fool who took advantage of him. Stacey learns quickly, however, and does not make the same mistake when T. J. tries to rib him about the handmade flute Jeremy gives him for Christmas Stacey matures in his understanding of friendship. He and T. J. have always been friends, but when T. J. cheats a second time, gets Mary Logan fired, and then turns to white boys for his friends, Stacey refuses to have anything more to do with him.

However, he remains concerned about him and asks about him from other boys who have seen him. He also keeps to himself his opinion about the white boy Jeremy Simms’ friendship. Jeremy shows himself to be a friend even when Stacey seems ill at ease about accepting it. Stacey continues his friendship with Jeremy even though he keeps it low-key. Also, in keeping the flute, but putting it away, it seems as though he may be waiting to find out if his father is correct in saying that sooner or later Jeremy will turn on him. In the end, Stacey has seen examples of “doing what you have to. He saw Mr. Morrison beat the Wallaces under circumstances when the Wallaces could not retaliate, and he saw his father find a way to subvert white intentions without letting them know who had done it. He runs into the woods to vent his grief over his friend. As with Cassie, the incident will leave him a changed boy. Clayton Chester “Little Man” Logan The youngest son of Mary and David Logan, “Little Man” is sometimes the most mature. He is rarely afraid of danger and loves adventure.

He dislikes cruelty and lies- one reason why he hates T. J. He is also very neat; he worries constantly about his clothes and becoming dirty. Since he is only Six years old, he does not know much about the hardships of black people by the whites. This is shown on his first day of school when he asked why the bus didn’t stop for them. Upon his arrival to school, he becomes furious when he realizes that the books they had received were old and torn books disposed by the white children when they were finished using them. Over time, he learns more about cruelty and even more reasons to dislike it.

Christopher-John Logan At age seven, Christopher-John is a short boy who is the quietest Logan sibling. He prefers to stay safe at home most of the time, and he loves to eat. However, he does not like to be left behind, so he often goes on adventures just for that reason. He frequently reminds the other children that they are breaking their parents’ rules. This behavior is displayed when Mary and “Big Ma” told the children to stay inside and away from the fire. In the morning, after the fire had been extinguished, he refused to leave the house even though the fire was gone. David “Papa” Logan

A tall, handsome man, Papa is Big Ma’s second youngest son. He works from the end of planting until Christmas on the railroad in order to pay for his land. He was raised on the same farm on which his family now lives. Ready to stand up for himself and his family, he does what he needs to survive. He risks his life to institute a boycott against the Wallaces, store owners who burned a black man to death. His leg is broken and he is shot at in retribution for the boycott. He also comes close to losing his land when the bank, influenced by Mr. Granger, calls in the note on it in.

He is willing to use his shotgun to protect TJ but ultimately uses his ingenuity to stop the lynch mob and save TJ’s life, even though his strategy loses him a quarter of his own cotton. Papa believes that his family and the land must be protected at all costs. Mary “Mama” Logan Mary Logan is a thirty-three year old woman from the Delta; Mama went to high school in Jackson and was sent to the Crandon Teacher School by her tenant-farmer father. Her father died during her final year in teacher school, and she married Papa when she was nineteen. She has taught at the Great Faith School for fourteen years, and has four children of her own.

Her strong pride in her race and her sense of justice lead her to paste over the inside covers of the schoolbooks, where the “very poor” condition of the book is listed next to the race of the black students. This outspokenness results in her being fired by the white school board. Though she tries to keep stories of the violence and injustice around them from her children, she ultimately cannot shield them from the truth. She is committed to protecting her family, and worries they will be hurt. Hammer Logan Hammer is Big Ma’s only living son other than Papa.

He lives in Chicago and drives a Packard like Mr. Granger does. He visits the Logans during the Christmas season and brings gifts. He has a strong temper and wants to attack Charlie Simms after his bad treatment of Cassie. Ultimately, he quells his temper when he must and sells his Packard in order to protect the land, bringing the money to his brother by hand and leaving before his presence can fuel more tensions. Hammer would rather simply kill the white people who harass and attack him than try to reason with them. He doesn’t think that they deserve compassion, since they have given him none.

Caroline “Big Ma” Logan Papa’s mother is a woman in her sixties. She holds the deed to the Logan land, which was bought by her late husband, Paul Edward. She has worked the land since she was eighteen, and loves it as much as her dead husband did. She married him when she was eighteen, and they raised their six children, only two of whom survived, on the four hundred acres of land that he bought between 1887 and 1918. Big Ma is the voice of history in the book and tells stories about the past to Cassie. Her love of the land leads her to sign it over to her two sons to protect it from Harlan Granger.

She has medical knowledge and is often called upon to tend those injured by white violence, including the Berrys. She is very religious and is a source of comfort to Cassie who shares a room and bed with her. TJ Avery T. J. is the son of the sharecropper who farms part of the Granger land which adjoins the Logan land. He is a weak character who wants to be treated as a man. He wants to “count” in a society where his color makes him second class. He likes to feel important, a characteristic portrayed early in the story when he visits the Logans with news he thinks they have not yet received and makes a major project out of the telling.

He tries to act big by teasing the younger children and by trying to talk them into things their parents have forbidden. T. J. does not have a high sense of integrity. He sees nothing wrong with cheating on a test or lying to Stacey to get his new coat away from him. He uses his friends the same way the Simms use him later on. He is also gullible, measuring friendship in terms of how much he can get. He does not understand that his horrible loneliness is a direct result of his abuse of his real friends. In T. J. ’s defense, regardless of his weakness, he is not simply an “evil” character. He is the victim of circumstances.

The very fact that the Logans do have their own land and his father does not may motivate him to try to show that he is just as good as they are even though they have not flaunted their own position. He really has nothing, and his father is at the mercy of landowners who can take what little he does have any time he displeases them. Getting things through deception and treachery is not dishonorable to him as long as he doesn’t get caught. Furthermore, getting caught does not teach him that what he did was wrong. It just proves to him that he has to be cleverer the next time as in the school cheating incidents.

Furthermore, when faced with the consequences of his behavior, his immediate reaction is to find someone else to blame. He does not realize that that is exactly what the whites around him are doing to the black community. It is ironic that he who is guilty of multiple little grievances and deceptions is actually innocent when the real crime occurs-that is, innocent of everything except allowing himself to be led. Kaleb, Thurston, and Dewberry Wallace These three white brothers own the Wallace store, the only store in town. They sell alcohol illegally and host a room where black teenagers dance.

The store is on Granger property, making it profitable for Harlan Granger as well as the Wallaces. The Wallaces burn the three black Berry men, killing one and severely injuring the other two, after drunk white men accuse John Henry Berry of flirting with a white woman. When the Logans arrange a boycott on their store, the Wallaces attempt to ambush Papa on the way back from the market in Vicksburg. Mr. Morrison beats up two of the Wallaces badly, nearly breaking Dewberry’s back and laying up Thurston for a few weeks as well.

The Logans cannot press charges against the Wallaces because to do so might result in Mr. Morrison getting put on the chain gang or worse. The Wallaces are involved on the attack on Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Characters Cassie Logan Cassie is the first-person narrator of the story. Cassie is an intelligent, outspoken, and self-confident nine year old girl, even when those qualities threaten to get her in trouble for speaking her mind in a white-dominated world. She is mature in regard to her sense of morality but she is naive. She does not understand the depth and cruelty of the racism around her. Even though Cassie is younger than Stacy, she is constantly making sure he is safe and okay.

Cassie dislikes T. J. because of his lying personality and thinks he is a bad influence on Stacy. However she soon learns that even though he is bad person, Stacy still considered him a friend. Since she is black she experiences racism and learns the real dangers of being black in the South in the 1930s. She is witness to the violence and injustice of the South as she becomes aware of lynching, of the curtailment of her father and mother’s freedom, and of the severe punishments meted out to blacks accused of wrongdoing. Cassie grows up over the course of the year, learns some sad truths, and experiences the strength and love of her family.

Stacey Logan Stacey is Cassie’s older brother. As the oldest child, he bosses his brothers and sister around and is the leader of their small group. He is brave and compassionate, but not always wise. Stacey is best friends with T. J. Avery. Since he is twelve years old he often tries to solve his own problems of his own. Stacey has lessons to learn however, he is sensitive about being teased by older friends and allows T. J. to talk him out of the coat given to him by Uncle Hammer.

The coat does not look bad on him, but T. J. wants it for himself. The scolding given to him by Mr. Morrison was worse than any punishment his mother could have inflicted as it accuses him of weakness and of being more foolish than the fool who took advantage of him. Stacey learns quickly, however, and does not make the same mistake when T. J. tries to rib him about the handmade flute Jeremy gives him for Christmas Stacey matures in his understanding of friendship. He and T. J. have always been friends, but when T. J. cheats a second time, gets Mary Logan fired, and then turns to white boys for his friends, Stacey refuses to have anything more to do with him.

However, he remains concerned about him and asks about him from other boys who have seen him. He also keeps to himself his opinion about the white boy Jeremy Simms’ friendship. Jeremy shows himself to be a friend even when Stacey seems ill at ease about accepting it. Stacey continues his friendship with Jeremy even though he keeps it low-key. Also, in keeping the flute, but putting it away, it seems as though he may be waiting to find out if his father is correct in saying that sooner or later Jeremy will turn on him. In the end, Stacey has seen examples of “doing what you have to. He saw Mr. Morrison beat the Wallaces under circumstances when the Wallaces could not retaliate, and he saw his father find a way to subvert white intentions without letting them know who had done it. He runs into the woods to vent his grief over his friend. As with Cassie, the incident will leave him a changed boy.

Clayton Chester “Little Man” Logan The youngest son of Mary and David Logan, “Little Man” is sometimes the most mature. He is rarely afraid of danger and loves adventure. He dislikes cruelty and lies- one reason why he hates T. J. He is also very neat; he worries constantly about his clothes and becoming dirty. Since he is only Six years old, he does not know much about the hardships of black people by the whites. This is shown on his first day of school when he asked why the bus didn’t stop for them. Upon his arrival to school, he becomes furious when he realizes that the books they had received were old and torn books disposed by the white children when they were finished using them. Over time, he learns more about cruelty and even more reasons to dislike it.

Christopher-John Logan At age seven, Christopher-John is a short boy who is the quietest Logan sibling. He prefers to stay safe at home most of the time, and he loves to eat. However, he does not like to be left behind, so he often goes on adventures just for that reason. He frequently reminds the other children that they are breaking their parents’ rules. This behavior is displayed when Mary and “Big Ma” told the children to stay inside and away from the fire. In the morning, after the fire had been extinguished, he refused to leave the house even though the fire was gone.


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