Compare how Charles Dickens and Mildred D Taylor portray the social and personal problems of the main characters in Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry and Oliver Twist. Who overcomes their problems more successfully? Roll of thunder hear my cry is a book written by Mildred D Taylor about racial prejudice in 1930s Mississippi. The main character is a small black girl called Cassie Logan and the story is mainly about the social difficulties that Cassie and her family face due to prejudice. Oliver twist is a book written by Charles Dickens about discrimination due to social class.
The book is set in 19th century London. The main character is a small orphaned boy called Oliver and the book follows his journey towards finding his fortune and family history. The main characters of these two books actually have more in common than it may at first seem Cassie Logan is a nine-year-old black child who lives in Mississippi surrounded by her family and friends. The Logan family have their own land although many other families are sharecroppers on land owned by mr Harlan Granger, a moderately rich white man who used to own the Logan’s land and tries to get it back from them throughout the story.
Towards the end of the book, TJ, a friend of Stacey’s (Cassie’s older brother who is around the same age as him) is involved in a robbery along with two white boys who lay he blame on TJ when they are later found out. A lynch mob then comes after TJ with the intension of hanging him. Mr Logan sets his cotton field on fire as a distraction and blacks and whites are momentarily united as they try to extinguish the fire. Roll of thunder is told in the first person narrative through Cassie’s eyes.
It addresses such issues as the importance of good parents as many children around the Logans such as TJ and the Sims get into a lot of trouble as a result of poor or weak parents. Oliver twist is a small boy who is orphaned in a workhouse under the management of mr bumble. Here he is underfed and one day asks for more food. This results in him being sent to mr Sowebery to work as an apprentice. Here he is bullied by Noah Claypole and runs away to London. He finds himself in the hands of a pickpocket called Fagin who befriends Oliver along with many of his young apprentices.
Oliver then meets Mr Brownlow, a well off respectable gentleman who he discovers at the end of the story was in fact a friend of his father’s He stays with mr Brownlow for a while before he is captured again by Fagin. Later in the story, we meet monks, Oliver’s half brother who is out to get Oliver’s Inheritance, which we find to be a small fortune. Oliver also meets other family members and at the end of the story, finds himself in a comfortable family situation Cassie and Oliver are two very different characters but in fact they have quite a lot in common. Cassie Logan is a very loud and outspoken child.
She always speaks her mind and is, unknowingly, sometimes offensive to other people in doing this. She is quite a rounded character who appreciates her family and true friends. She often deals with difficult situations by becoming aggressive, which does not always work to her advantage. Oliver however, unlike Cassie, is a very quiet and meek child. Even though he lives in a poor, working class community he is very well spoken and good. He is a stereotype of a good and honest child. Where Cassie would become aggressive when threatened, Oliver would rather run away from his troubles.
He can however, become violent if provoked, especially by insults to his mother as we learn from his fight with Noah Claypole. Both children face many similar problems in their stories but the writers portray them in different ways. Both children face prejudice but for different reasons, Cassie because of race and Oliver because of his social class. Cassie Logan, like Oliver has the problem of poverty. Logan family have their own land, which means that they are economically free. The children are constantly reminded of how much this means. Papa says to Cassie “You aint never had to live.
on nobody’s place but your own and as long as I live and this family survives you’ll never have to. ” Despite this they do still struggle with money. The children do not have new clothes when they need them, they do not have shoes in the summer and mama is often complaining about the food supply. “Just one tablespoon of baking powder, and not so heaping” The Logans are however, better off than many other families such as the Averys who are sharecroppers on Granger land and can never break out of the cycle of owing money to the Wallaces because of the credit system.
Cassie, along with the rest of the black community, faces many examples of racial prejudice. Her incident in Strawberry with Mr Simms is a good example of this. Firstly Cassie is made to wait whilst Mr Barnett helps the white customers in the shop who have arrived after her. When she complains about this, she is twice insulted by Mr Barnett and leaves the shop with Stacey. “you was helping us,” I said backing to the front of the counter again. “well you just get your little black self back over there and wait some more” When Cassie bumps accidentally into Lillian Jean, her initial apology is not accepted.