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As a child, she too is inquisitive to her racial background and issues. By having Cassie have this information explained to her, we too have it explained to us. This is seen many times, an example of this is of Mr Morrison’s history. “Well, Cassie, during slavery there was some farms that mated folks like animals to produce more slaves… ” His explanations continue to explain to you in child-like terms one particular aspect of the past of racism. This novel is mainly aimed at children, and so things like the racist attacks often are slightly shielded, minimising detail, sensitively adapting to the age group.
Later age range novels may include the details of rape that was often an issue, but the author of this book may have decided this was not relevant. Black Women, children and men in the book can also be seen to experience different forms of racism. We see when Charlie Simms physically attacks Cassie the outrage caused by Uncle Hammer’s reaction. “He knocked you off the sidewalk Cassie? A grown man knocked you off the sidewalk? ” The idea of the size of a grown man against a young girl seems unfair, and so Uncle Hammer can not ignore it and forget it gracefully.
Children are to be left out of the violence, as well as the women, revealing an idea perhaps of only men being able to fend for themselves. However, women may experience abuse if rape was an issue in the story. It is the Berry brothers who are burnt, but an exception to this is the attack on T. J and the Avery family, when both mother and farther are attacked. Another example of a male attack is the attack on Mr. Morrison and Papa when returning from Vicksburg with provisions to support the Boycott at the Wallace’s store. “That’s when they shot him and he fell back with his left led under the wagon.
” This attack is vicious, and to the whites there seems no wrong in this. Mr Morrison when he first arrives, brings a story from where he had worked, of a fight he had been in and consequently got fired. “Did the other men get fired? ” “No ma’am, they was white. ” This again reinforced the lower placing of blacks to whites. At work, the grimier jobs, with lower status would be given to the blacks. This would still be mines and farms, but in this book, Mr. Logan works on a railway too, for extra money. It is not very often that a black man would achieve a respectable job.
Due to this, when receiving books for Christmas, they were an extra novalty due to being written by a black auther. T. J too enjoyed learning about Ejypt, pointing out how they had Black Kings. The idea would have been unthought of. The school in the novel, common to the schools at the time was separate for the different races. The blacks received lower education. There were are only short terms to coincide with the children working on the land, as well as to keep teachers pay low. With few teachers anyway, the classrooms were crammed with two classes to a teacher, all in an attempt of saving money.
Books were hand downs when they were no longer good enough for the whites. Ms Logan being a teacher at the school tried to alter this; she taught history the way she had been taught it, and not how the whites had ordered. Due to T. J telling officials of this, she was fired from the school. Though children were coming from far away, no buses could be afforded. The white schools however could afford buses. The children and driver would taunt the children on their way to school. “… but not before the bus had sped past, enveloping him in a scarlet haze while laughing white faces pressed against the bus window.
In a way, it could be thought that by separating the younger generation constantly, they have no chance to learn to tolerate each other. The major message in this story is that Blacks are being miss treated and are good, while the whites are in the wrong, they are bad. On occasions we get different messages. There are times where whites become good. At Christmas Jeremy Simms, out of his goodness, brings the Logan’s presents. The presents were dismissed. “I sure wouldn’t want no whistle some ole white boy been blowin’ on. ” This shows the less caring side and racist side of the blacks. Papa later reinforces this.
“We Logans don’t have much to do with white folks. You know why? ‘Cause white folks mean trouble. You see blacks hanging ’round with whites, they’re headed for trouble. ” This last sentence is ironic, as it relates to a part in the story later where T. J gets into deep trouble due to his being with white ‘friends’. Later, they are revealed to be just using him, but T. J is oblivious to this. Though Papa says this about white people meaning trouble, they do come across Mr Jaminson, who seems nothing but helpful. Papa trusts him, and yet he will not let his son trust Jeremy, thinking that he may grow up to change.
At the end of this novel, the author adds a conclusion to her message of racism given out through the book. “I recognised Mr. Lanier by his floppy blue hat working side by side with Mr. Simms, each oblivious of the other” This is a white and black man working together at a time of crises. The common enemy of fire unites them. She is showing that is possible. She also uses soot as symbolism, on the white men’s faces. They all appear black and with no difference between them. “… taking off his handkerchief to wipe the sweat and soot from his face. ”
Racism could finally leave, and yet it so easily returns. When I read this book, the knowledge I gained of racism, I learnt without realising. I feel that Mildred D. Taylor, the author of Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, managed to conquer this technique, and completed all criteria for a successful novel, for this age group. I found it informative and interesting in one. 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.