What does Papa want with the children in the barn in chapter 7 of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry? 

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Papa summons the children to the barn to punish them for going to the Wallace store.

Papa announces that his family does not shop at the Wallace store.  Mr. Wallace owned the store on the Granger’s land, and the children were forbidden to go to it because Mr. Wallace was a bad influence.  He encourages children to dance there, and drink and smoke.  Mr. Wallace even bribes the younger ones with free candy.

Papa is clearly worried about what will happen to his children if they get mixed up with the Wallace store, so he tries to explain it to them, and threatens to beat them to keep them away.

Children going there are gonna get themselves in a whole lot of trouble one day. There’s drinking up there and I don’t like it—and I don’t like them Wallaces either. If I ever find out y’all been up there, for any reason, I’m gonna wear y’all out. (ch 2)

The children plan to obey, because “Papa always meant what he said—and he swung a mean switch” (ch 2).    The children do not want a whipping, and Papa Of course, the store was very tempting.  T.J. suggests that they sneak down to the Wallace store to learn some dances, and Stacey tells him they are not allowed, but T.J. accuses him of being a mama’s boy. 

When T.J. gets Stacey in trouble for cheating on a test, they learn from Moe Turner that T.J. went to the Wallace store, and they go to get him, despite Cassie’s protestations that they will get in trouble.  T.J. does not think they will follow, but Stacey finds him and hits him.

Mr. Morrison breaks up the fight, and says he won't tell Mama but he will expect Stacey too.  Despite Cassie's protestations, he does.  She does not punish them, but she does take them to see a man that the Wallaces poured kerosene on and lit on fire.

Still, at Christmastime Papa catches up to them.

We had hoped against hope that Mama would not tell him about our trip to the Wallace store or, if she did, that he would forget what he had promised. We should have known better. (ch 7)

The continued threat of the Wallace store to the family's safety is explored throughout the book.  The children know they are not allowed to go there, but they do not really understand why until they see what the Wallaces are capable of.

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

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