Roll of Thunder Essay
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Cassie was aware from the start that her friendship with her was not real. Although Lillian Jean was surprised at Cassie’s change of attitude, she just assumed that Cassie had accepted the fact that she was more superior to her. Cassie knew that her revenge would have consequences but was realistic enough to think of a way of stopping Lillian Jean from talking. She made sure that no evidence was found after her beating Lillian Jean. According to T. J. , this act of friendliness towards Lillian Jean was a way of betraying her people but unbeknownst to him, Cassie had another idea as to why she was befriending Lillian Jean.
One day, Mr. Ganger, Mr. Wallace and another member of the school board, attended Mama’s class as part of an inspection. They were stunned to find out that the students’ books were altered in order to hide the word ‘nigra’. They were even more shocked when they found that Mama’s teaching had nothing to do with their textbooks. Mrs. Logan stated that the children needed to know those things as it was all part of their history. She was fired for this, as the school board members found her teachings to be a threat to them and claimed that her teachings were ‘inappropriate’. It was later revealed that it was T. J.
who actually told on Mrs. Logan to the Wallaces on one of his trips to the store. The readers find it ironic that T. J. who preached to Cassie about betrayal was betraying his own people. Another reason as to why the school board fired Mrs. Logan was to put her in a tight situation as they needed the money so badly as to pay the mortgage of the land. In the middle of the novel, the readers find Mildred D. Taylor’s reference to W. E. B. DuBois’ book. DuBois was a black writer who wrote a book about African-American Literature. In his book, he states his belief that black people can gain equality if they strive hard enough.
They are capable of this by proving to the white community that they have the ability to excel in both education and business. Connected to this, was Big Ma’s revelation to Cassie as to how the land came into the possession of the Logan family. She talked about how she and her husband, Paul Edward, met and his dream, to posses his own land. It was then that the land owned by Mr. Hollenbeck was put up for sale. He was eager to sell the land as Paul Edward was eager enough to buy it. The land was worth two hundred acres wide. It wasn’t until years later that Paul Edward bought another two hundred acres.
This same land was once the property of the Grangers. In this chapter, the readers find out that not all white land owners are racists, for instance; Mr. Jamison. It is revealed to the readers that ownership of land holds a certain amount of respect and authority in his or her community. The land in this chapter, symbolizes the autonomy and the freedom of the black people after they were released as slaves. The theme of friendship is tested again through the relationships between Jeremy Simms with the Logan children and T. J. ‘s friendship with the Wallaces.
Jeremy Simms knows the conflict that has always been there between the blacks and the whites but still continued on being acquainted with the Logan children. During Christmas, Jeremy stopped by the Logans’ and gave them some gifts for Christmas. As soon as he left, Stacey asked Papa if their friendship could ever exist. Papa responded by saying that there was really nothing wrong with being friends with a white person, it was just that friendship between blacks and whites usually ended in trouble. Jeremy was aware of all the differences between him and Stacey but he was more of a friend compared to T.
J. He didn’t care that his family didn’t approve of this friendship or that he was constantly made fun of. To him race had nothing to do with friendship. However, the readers will notice that T. J. was not fully aware of the trouble he had gotten himself into just by hanging out with the Simms’ brothers. T. J. was stupid enough to get involved with the Wallaces’ even though he knew that they were the ones that tarred Sam Tatum. The difference between T. J and Jeremy was that Stacey knew the consequences of his actions and he had a logical reason. Whereas T. J.
‘s reason for hanging out with the Wallaces’ was to make himself feel superior. He thought that by associating himself with them, he would be called better and that having white friends would allow him to get the authority he always wanted. T. J. didn’t realize that the Simms brothers were just using him to get the information they needed concerning the blacks. In ways, T. J and Jeremy were the same, they both wanted friendship that could never have existed. The Logans tried to convince the black families in their community to shop in Vicksburg instead of the Wallace store so as to avoid trouble.
Mr. Wallace threatened certain families that he would only decrease their pays or even throw them out of their land if they did so. Papa continued on his trip to Vicksburg even though, not many families had asked them to buy. On their way to Vicksburg, Stacey, Mr. Morrison and Papa were ambushed. While Papa was repairing a sabotaged wagon wheel, a truck pulled up and fired a gun-a bullet grazed his head. The horse reared up in fright and unexpectedly pulled the wagons wheel over Papa’s leg. Mr. Morrison fought off these men who turned out to be the Wallaces, breaking the back of Dewberry Wallace.
The Logans’ resistance and boycott resulted in danger to their family. This event caused an increase in the tension and conflict. It also helped Cassie to learn the harsh truth about racism and the unfairness of her society. Despite these things being revealed to her, she still clung to the ideas of her parents about handwork and respect. Stacey was also affected by this and soon he realized that in a world where violence is used one cannot afford to remain a child. He becomes more aware of the dangers of life. Stacey’s impending manhood collided with T. J. ‘s perception of himself as ‘man’. Mr.
Logan’s use of metaphor of a Fig tree, forces the readers to believe that even though the Logans are in danger they are doing the right thing. The Fig tree belonged to the land like the oak and the maple trees something-similar to the rights of blacks to work and live a life with the whites. It is a small tree that continues to grow and produce fruit. Representing what the Logan family continued to do, even after realizing the dangers of their actions, they still did what they thought was right. The Logan family stuck to each other through thick and thin, supporting each other always. Late one night, T.
J. knocks at the Logans’ door. He was badly hurt. He later explained the reason behind this. He said that he went with the Simms brothers to Strawberry, thinking that they would buy him the gun that he wanted. But they found the store closed and the Wallaces attempted to rob the store and when the owners became aware of their presence, the white boys injured them. The Simms brothers were wearing masks whereas T. J. wasn’t, so automatically he was blamed. The Logan children helped him to get home. Chaos takes place when white men attack the Averys. The Logan children witnessing this ran home to get help.
Papa upon hearing what happened began to take action. He took Mr. Morrison with him determined to stop those whites from hanging T. J. Soon after Papa and Mr. Morrison had left they noticed the Logans’ cotton field on fire. Big Ma and Mama rushed to fight it. It was assumed that the lightning caused the fire. In the ending chapters of the novel, the readers find a song about a looming thunder. This song was sung by the slaves. It talks about the continued attempts of the whites to dominate them seventy years after the Civil War. The ending of the song signifies the blacks’ refusal to this domination.
The sound of thunder marks the approach of crisis which might cause all the citizens, both whites and blacks alike, destruction. The weather is used as another metaphor. The weather works as a force as strong as the emotions love or hatred. As it started to rain, the fire that was created by the lightning brought out a force of sympathy. Fire is yet another metaphor. It represented the violence and danger between both the blacks and the whites. As the people fought the fire, the readers find that they are compelled by an unselfish impulse but this idea is soon demolished when the readers realize that Mr.
Granger’s desire was to only protect his land from the fire. In this chapter, it is proven that Mr. Granger and Papa actually have similarities. Both men give an enormous importance to their land and family. At the end of the book, the readers discover T. J. ‘s fate. Papa revealed to Stacey and Cassie that T. J was already in jail and that he would probably be handed over to the chain gang. There was also a possibility that he might die. T. J. ‘s punishment will result in killing the boy inside of him. T. J. ‘s claim to be a man is then granted to him as he will have ‘a man’s punishment’. But this punishment was evitable from the start.
Mildred D. Taylor uses different themes, such as friendship and family as well as racism and prejudice in her novel. The friendship between the Logan children and Jeremy, T. J. and the Simms brothers and the friendship between Lillian Jean and Cassie, proves to the readers that not all types of friendships are true. In this case both Cassie and T. J. use this so-called ‘friendship’ with the whites to their own advantage, but Cassie is more practical compared to T. J. concerning this matter. The readers fail to understand the reasons that T. J. has on accepting friendship with the white people.
It was this same ‘friendship’ that destroyed not only his life but his future as well. The theme of family is also seen by the unity the Logan children displayed when they punished the whites for splashing them with mud. It is also found in the way the adults deal with the issues they encounter. The Logans use a certain technique to educate their children; through communication. They communicate and explain things to them in the calmest way possible. Although there were minor times violence was used on the Logan children, their parents tried the best they could to avoid spanking them often.
The Logans are bonded by ties and values that they treasure dearly. They look out for each other and try to do everything in their power to do the right things. They assist their fellow blacks in times of crisis. The novel, ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry,’ proves that there is a reason for everything. Moreover, the readers discover that all actions have consequences. They realize that the attitudes of the characters are significant but at certain times unexpected. Racism between the blacks and the whites can be abolished, if they wanted to.
The only difference between the black and the white people was colour. Other than that, they can be equal in their society. The fire caused the whites to work alongside with the blacks. It just proves that there can be harmony among them if they choose to. It doesn’t matter what race you’re from or what the color of your skin is, because before God everyone is equal. It is obvious to the readers that this inequality between blacks and whites is only a result of pride and domination. Besides that all the characters in the novel are capable of achieving equality.
The whites just need more help to realize this fact. It is here that the act of converting ‘impossible’ to ‘possible’ takes place. Apart from this, both the black and white people should understand that regradless of their position in society or the colour of their skin or the race that their from, they are all equal people in front of God. ?? ?? ?? ?? Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mildred Taylor section.