How did T.J. get out of his punishment in "Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry"?

Expert Answers
sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, T.J. gets into trouble a lot, so I am not sure which time you are speaking about.  However, there is a similarity to all the ways that T.J. avoids punishment - every time, it is a combination of his own dishonesty and the protection of others.  For example, when his mom finds out that he went to the Wallace's store, where he isn't supposed to go, he lies and says he was just picking Claude up.  Claude supports this lie, because he is intimidated by his brother.

When Stacey gets caught with the class notes, T.J. lies by not admitting that he was the one cheating.  Stacey refuses to rat him out, and gets into trouble instead of T.J.

This goes on throughout the story, but backfires on T.J. at the end.  The white people, eager for a fight, won't believe T.J. when he does tell the truth about the robbery.  They insist on believing that he was with black boys, and a riot ensues.  Then, the boys that were with T.J. lie and say that T.J. is the one who murdered the shopkeeper.  But, of course, T.J. is saved from a lynching by the protection of others - Papa deliberately sets fire to the land to distract the maddening crowd.  All is not perfect for T.J. in the end, however, as he does go to jail for his crime. 

"What happened to T.J. in the night I did not understand, but I knew that it would not pass. And I cried for those thing which had happened in the night and would not pass."

Read the study guide:
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question