T. J. accepts the way things are between black folks and white folks. Instead, he uses them to make him seem tough, so he can get more attention and, so he thinks, more friends. This is shown in chapter eight at the end when Cassie and her brothers desert him as a friend and T. J. says: ‘got me better friends than y’all!
They give me things and treat me like a man and… they white too… ‘. In chapter ten he comes to church to show off his so called ‘friends’ hoping for new friends and attention, instead he got less: ‘it- it didn’t even make no difference,’ T.
J. says afterwards. T. J. still hangs around with them even though he knows they laugh behind his back. This is because T. J. cannot survive without people around him. I think he is desperate for attention but is going the wrong way about it. To get more attention, he talks a lot and gets all the gossip first.
He distributes it very slowly and annoyingly. This is shown throughout the book but an example is in chapter four: ‘you see, when a fellows smart like me, he gets to know things that other folks don’t.
Now this information ain’t for the ears of little kids so I really shouldn’t even tell y’all… ‘ T. J. is also very clever but he uses it the wrong way and acts on the spur of the moment, out of spite.
This is shown in chapter one when he gets in trouble for going up to the Wallace store. He uses his brains to get out of it and makes out he went to get his brother Claude who apparently went there to get some free candy and so gets out of the beating: ‘I couldn’t let mama think I was goin’ up there ’cause I like to, could I? she’d’ve killed me ! ‘ T. J.
always seems to get out of trouble and sticky conversations and is persuasive. This is shown in chapter four when he says ‘see, if you was smart like me, you’d use the old brain to get the questions on that big test coming up. ‘ Later on in the chapter, he realises he’d forgotten his cap and goes back to retrieve it and while doing this, he looks in Miz Logan’s history book. He acts on the spur of the moment. This is shown when he tells the Wallace’s what a bad teacher Miz Logan apparently is and gets his own back by her losing her job but he doesn’t think of the consequences e.
g. losing all his friends. T. J. is quite envious of the Logans, especially their land. T. J. ‘s family sharecrop with the Granger’s whereas the Logans own their own land. As a result, the Avery’s always owe something back and so they don’t always have decent clothes, food etc.. The Logans, however, have less to worry about but the shopping in Vicksburg business has caused some trouble. T. J. is also quite jealous of Stacey. This is shown in chapters six and seven when Stacey gets a new coat from Uncle Hammer and T. J. mocks him: ‘ its all right I suppose…
if you like looking like a fat preacher. ‘ Stacey then gives it to T. J. to stop the mocking. Then T. J. completely changed his attitude:’ he now praised the coat from the wide tips of the lapels to the very edges of it’s deep hem. ‘ He is also jealous that Jeremy, a white boy gives Stacey a present in chapter seven, a wooden flute. Instead, he mocks it: ‘I sure wouldn’t want no flute some white boy’s been blowing on’. T. J. is also disloyal, letting his brother get in trouble for himself going to the Wallace store and letting Stacey get the whip for his teaching.
Cassie and T. J. are similar and not similar I many ways. Cassie is loyal in that she sticks up for family and friends; T. J. is disloyal, however, when he lets others get the blame for his own wrong doing, especially with the Logan’s and Claude. T. J. is deceitful, making up stories and won’t admit he is wrong even when everyone is against him(chapter eight). Cassie doesn’t seem to tell lies at all and avoids it. Cassie cannot accept the way things are between black folks and white folks and has to learn a lot.
She refuses to understand that that’s the way things are and acts upon it. T. J. , however, accepts the way things are and uses it as an advantage to seem tough and get more friends although this doesn’t work, instead he loses them. T. J. knows how to act around white folks because he is older and has had more experience; Cassie, on the other hand, is younger and so has had less experience and has been well protected from the outside world. T. J. acts out of spite and on the spur of the moment whereas Cassie plans carefully and thinks through most of her actions.
Cassie is caring and protective, she looks after her family and is a mother figure but T. J. , I don’t think is very caring and is not very protective about his family. Both Cassie and T. J. are clever but use it in different ways; Cassie uses it in school and to find things out for the reader and knows the difference between right and wrong. She understands peoples feelings but she still has a lot to learn and is protected from the outside world. T. J. , however, uses it to cheat and to get out of his wrong doings.
They both are envious except of different things; T. J. is envious of the Logans and Cassie is envious of even better luxuries, new dresses! Overall, I think Cassie accepts T. J. is always going to be part of her life, even though she doesn’t like him. I feel annoyed that Cassie’s parents don’t want to let her understand the real world and I feel they want to protect her too much. Her lack of understanding in this somehow annoys me. Cassie is a very entertaining character to have tell the story and her outspokenness is very interesting to have from a young girl.
T. J. ‘s character makes the reader feel sorry for him and I think he misses Stacey’s friendship. His complete acceptance of the situation and his choice of friends frustrate me and the fact that he uses this with the threat of perhaps death frustrates me even more! My favourite character is Cassie because I like her rebellious, defiant, inquisitive, forthright and short tempered personality because it amuses me and is the type of person I, personally like.