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The title of Mildred Taylor's teen novel, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, comes from an old spiritual sung by slaves nearly a century before. Mr. Morrison sings the song at the beginning of Chapter 11, a pivotal time of the novel in which T.J. Avery is hunted down for the attack of the Barnetts at their Strawberry store. Thunder is used as a metaphor throughout the novel (another purpose for the title), and Cassie's emotional pleas for a semblance of respect and justice are echoed in the "Hear My Cry" portion of the title. Thunder becomes even more important in the final chapters; in Chapter 11, the "distant" and "approaching" thunder signals the onset of more trouble. In the final chapter, it is thunder's accompanying force--lightning--that is presumed to have set the cotton fields afire, and it serves as a powerful force of nature that unifies the men--black and white--at the end.
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