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Throughout "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry," Mildred D. Taylor addresses the dynamics of racial tensions; as she does so, the independent spirit of Cassie Logan and her resourceful mother, Mary Logan, demonstrate the value of independence in a repressive society. For, the courage and pride and stalwartness of the Logans inspires others to aid them, bringing a sense of community to the turbulent setting.
With such intense conflict, the readers find themselves engrossed in the narrative, while at the same time they are inspired by the pride and integrity of the Logans. For instance, when Lillian Jean makes Cassie carry her books, Cassie plans her revenge while complying with Cassie. After she has listened to Lillian's secrets, Cassie uses them against the girl to prevent her telling anyone about the beating that Cassie eventually gives her. The dignity of Mary Logan is clearly evident when she leads a boycott against the store of the Wallaces who lease the store from Harlan Granger after the Wallaces participate in lychings of black men. Even when faces with imminent danger, she continues the boycott.
Another confrontation that is interesting is that between Uncle Hammer and Mr. Granger, who suggests that if the Logans continue to travel to Vicksburg for supplies, they may end up losing their place. Uncle Hammer simply says, "We ain't gonna lose it," and Mr. Logan (Papa) says,
'You can just 'bout plan on anything you want. But I tell you this one thing: You plan on getting this land, you're planning on the wrong thing.'
The theme of family loyalty is further exemplified by Big Ma's overseeing the transfer of deed, ensuring that the property will pass to her family. In addition, this theme of loyalty is demonstrated by others as Stacey commits himself to family in the absence of his father. To his friend, T. J. Avery, who is caparicious and irresponsible, Stacey remains loyal.
Amidst the conflict between the Logans and the Grangers and Wallaces, there are white people who come forward to assist the Logans, thus demonstrating their integrity and beliefs in what is right. The presentation of strong values in the midst of intense conflict by people of both races clearly interests the readers of Taylor's "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry."
When I first picked up the book "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry" it was the cover picture that drew me to it. I was not aware of the intensity of the story. It looks like there is a tragedy from the cover, but the depth of racism and the hatred of the men and their actions towards the black people in the book made me hang onto it.
The writer leads the reader to understand why the mother did not want her children at the Wallace's store. The dangers that were present for the children heralded the intensity of racism at its worst.
Although the novel was written for the adolescent market, it has much to offer in insight to adults as well. It is a good demonstration of the difficulties black Americans had to endure just to survive.
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