Essay, Pages 5 (1027 words)
‘Roll of thunder, hear my cry’
Explore the idea of racial prejudice and discrimination by writing about Cassie’s visit to Strawberry with Big Ma. Show how the ideas are brought out powerfully because of Cassie’s age and character? The novel ‘Roll of thunder, hear my cry’ is set in the 1930’s in Mississippi. The author, Mildrid D. Taylor can relate to the Logan family as she is writing about her father, whose character in the book is Little man.
In the novel, the action is seen through the eyes of Cassie. Cassie is a young, naive girl. Mildrid D.
Taylor wrote this book based on the the experience of her father, and the book shows us the different lives of black and white people in this place at this time, in terms of education, at home and how black people are treated. It shows us a society where there is racial prejudice and discrimination against black people. Racial prejudice is when you make a prejudgement about someone for no apparent reason but you do not act upon it.
Racial prejudice is shown in the novel, ‘Roll of thunder, hear my cry’, in terms of colour. Discrimination occurs when people experience suffering. They are abused because of their appearance.
The time of ‘the depression’
The novel is set during the time of ‘the depression’. It is set in the less prosperous part of America in Mississippi. This is a time and place where thousands of families like Cassie are poor and considered the ‘lower, working class’.
Poverty and unemployment was wide spread in the 1930’s. Therefore, black people had to work very hard because they didn’t have the same rights as white people. This can be shown in the novel where black and white children are separated in schools and only black children take the bus to school. After the civil war, slavery had abolished in the South and most black people worked on the land.
Racism came about when the blacks were shipped into the country for slavery, from then on, the white people consider the blacks as a lower class and that is what Cassie has to come to terms with. Black people have the most minimum and low education. Even though Cassie’s family own their own land, they are seen as being lower in status than poorer white people, such as the Simms. Cassie is a naive nine year old girl and through the experiences of Cassie, we see a society. The fact that Cassie tells the story helps us to agree with her, learn and sympathise with her.
We learn more from Cassie as each chapter takes place. In Strawberry, Cassie begins to learn three facts about the position of black people, white people have better places to sell things in the market, black people are served last in shops, and black people have to show respect to white people, even is the black people are in the right. This is a good example of racial prejudice because Cassie cannot understand why Big Ma has not parked near the white people as a black girl, Cassie must keep her mouth shut, and otherwise she will make the Nightriders come and burn the house.
The division between black and white
Cassie does not comprehend the division between black and white folks because she is only nine years old. The following essay will discuss Cassie’s point of view as she experiences racial prejudice and discrimination in Strawberry. Big Ma and Cassie arrive in Strawberry and go to set up the stall, Cassie notices that they go to an isolated area and she asks why. ‘Them’s white folks wagons, Cassie, Big Ma said gruffly, as if that explained everything. ‘ ‘Gruffly’ could mean that Big Ma is not happy but she accepts it, Stacey also seems to accept it.
This is effective because the reader realises before Cassie, what is going on. It is also very effective because of the use of dramatic irony by the author. It sets the tone of what is to come. As in the shop, the reader realises before Cassie what the situation is like for black people. Cassie is angry, ‘Shoot, I mumbled a body walk way back here, they’ll have bunions on their soles and corns on their toes.’
Cassie’s angry reaction
Cassie’s angry reaction shows that she is unaware of why her and Big Ma must stay out the white folks area’. When Cassie arrives in Strawberry, it does not seem very attractive at all, ‘a spindly row of electrical lines, strips of red dirt, brown grass, gloomy store buildings and sagging verandas’. These adjectives suggest that Strawberry sounds like a pleasant place for people to go to before she arrives, so Cassie is disappointed. Cassie is unaware of these things because no one has told her, even though she has seen the books at her school.
Her father also owns the land, so they are not as poor as some black families; Cassie is protected by her family. The narration shows this by the way she questions Big Ma, as if that explained everything. ” Cassie does not realise that this does explain everything. It is only later that Cassie’s mum explains. Big Ma sees the positive side to Strawberry. There is more room for them now than there would be in the summer. Big Ma also knows she has regular customers. Stacey has been to Strawberry before and he does as Big Ma says.
He is more aware than Cassie and is uncomfortable in the store without Big Ma. ‘Stacey hesitated. I don’t know. I think Big Ma wanted to go with us. ‘ This suggests that Stacey is more nervous being in the store. T. J persuades Cassie and Stacey to go in the store because he wants to look at the guns. ‘Stacey pondered the suggestion for a long moment. ‘ Stacey’s reaction suggests that he is very nervous and he senses some possible problems. When Stacey is in the Barnetstore, he ‘backed away’ from the counter. This shows how tense Stacey is and he does not want to stay for long in the store.