Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Questions and Answers
by Mildred D. Taylor

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How does David Logan show sacrificial love in the last chapter of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry?

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Sacrificial love is love that involves the sacrifice of one's self or one's belongings for the good of another. David Logan, or Papa, shows sacrificial love in two ways in the last chapter of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.

At the beginning of the chapter, when Papa learns that the night men have gotten hold of T.J. and are about to pin the blame on him for his role in the robbery and assault at the Barnett's store and lynch him, he grabs his gun and rushes out to do what he can to help T.J. Stacey is in danger too, and Papa says, "Gotta get him out of there." Mama begs him not to take his gun, telling him, "You fire on them and they'll hang you for sure. They'd like nothing better." Papa, however, is determined, and responds, "If I don't they'll hang T.J." Papa acknowledges that T.J.'s foolish actions contributed to the predicament he is in, but says, "Fool or not, I can't just sit by and let them kill the boy. And if they find Stacey..." Papa is willing to put his own life in jeopardy, and perhaps even to sacrifice it, to save the boys; his love for them is sacrificial.

Mama continues to entreat Papa to find another way to stop the men from killing T.J. and hurting Stacey, and her insistence gets Papa to thinking. He does indeed come up with a plan to defuse the situation, surreptitiosly setting fire to his own cotton to distract the night men from their evil endeavors. Papa's plan works; when the men see the fire, they join together in a common cause to fight it before it reaches the trees, where it would be dangerous to the whole community and almost impossible to put out. Because of his quick thinking, Papa does not have to sacrifice his life to save the boys, but he does sacrifice a quarter of his cotton. Again, in his willingness to sacrifice himself and his belongings for another, Papa evidences sacrificial love (Chapter 12).

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