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The weather plays an important role in ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’. Its importance is emphasised by its presence even in the title. It was also an important part of the lives of rural families. When they ploughed, sowed and harvested all depended on the weather. This importance is included in the book. The weather reflects on events that are happening and the mood in each part of the book. It also indicates what will happen in the future, building up tension and giving warnings of danger. ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’ begins in October. The Logan children are traipsing to school on a day which Cassie describes as, ‘…
A bright August-like October morning made for running the cool forest trails… ‘ Cassie is oblivious to racism and this reflected in the mood of this section. The weather is sunny and cheerful and although the children do not appear to be cheerful, the worst of their problems is school. It isn’t until chapter 3, towards the end of October, that the weather begins to change. The rain falls heavily on the dust making it turn to red oozing mud. When they are forced into the slimy gullies by the white school’s bus, the Logan children decide to get revenge.
They dig a hole into the road, which they hope the school bus will drive into. However when they return after school they find that the rain has turned their hole into a trench that the bus drives into and breaks down. Without the rain, the Logan children wouldn’t have been able to get revenge on the school bus. In this situation the weather is used to their benefit. However, the rain also brings the nightriders, which Cassie sees and is frightened by. The Logan children fear that the nightriders are after them, trying to get revenge for the bus incident. The rain is a bad omen and creates an atmosphere of fear and worry.
It is during the rain that Mr Tatum is tarred and feathered by the nightriders. In chapter 5, the rain has gone but at the beginning of chapter 6, it says that ‘the night was a thick blackness and smelled of coming rain’. This adds tension and anticipation of bad things to come, as last time there was rain the night men rode. The arrival of Uncle Hammer adds friction to the situation, as the whites do not like to see a successful black person. The weather is getting colder, which is indicated by Uncle Hammer’s gift of a coat to Stacey. At Christmas, it is very cold and the family huddle round the warmth of a fire in their home.