What do you think the book title, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry means?

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The title Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is the first line of the song of the same title:

Roll of thunderHear my cryOver the waterBye and byeOle man comin'Down the lineWhip in hand toBeat me downBut I ain'tGonna let him ...

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The title Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is the first line of the song of the same title:

Roll of thunder
Hear my cry
Over the water
Bye and bye
Ole man comin'
Down the line
Whip in hand to
Beat me down
But I ain't
Gonna let him
Turn me around.

How you answer the question is up to you because it is asking for you to explain what you think. If you were familiar with the original song, then just hearing the title or the first line should cause you to automatically begin thinking about the rest of the lyrics. By giving the book this title, readers are meant to think about the spiritual song and what it means.

The song talks about an oppressor coming to beat someone down; however, the person being beaten isn't going to cower, run away, and/or stop standing up against injustice. These few lines work as a great summary as to what the Logan family and Mr. Morrison are trying to do. Personally, I feel the book is quite appropriately named.

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The title of the novel comes from an old slave song that encapsulates slave-owner brutality. The lyrics state that the owner is coming with a whip to beat the speaker down, but the song ends with the declaration that the singer won't "let him turn me round."

The song and title both refer to the existential pain inherent in slavery—the slaves are weeping and mourning their lot. The thunder is a warning of impending danger and disaster, as thunder precedes a storm. In the novel, the Logans are not slaves; but, as indentured servants, they live their lives in servitude to the white landowners. They echo the sentiments of the song by marching through the pain with defiant hope: they are a beacon of strength and defiance, promising to improve their lot in life with their hard work and dedication.

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The title Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry comes from the epigraph introduced at the start of chapter 11. It comes from an old song sung by slaves during the previous century. Songs like these were used to provide solace for slaves and even to inspire defiance. These songs instilled a sense of strength and hope in the oppressed.

Throughout the story, the Logans and Mr. Morrison need all the strength and hope that they can muster. They take a stand against the systematic injustice they experience, and in doing so place themselves at great risk. The "thunder" represents the trouble they face. It is a symbol of the dangers they face and recurs as a motif throughout the story. Just as the old song suggests, though, the Logans and Mr. Morrison will stand up to the dangers. So the title of the book represents the determination of the story's heroes. By invoking an old slave song, the title also pays tribute to the many brave African Americans who came before and acknowledges the continuity of the struggle.

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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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