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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

by Mildred D. Taylor

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What are the principles that Mama and Papa live by and the resulting advice each gives to Cassie and others in the family?

This is a question i came up with after reading the book, Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor.

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Both of the Logan parents value family, education, hard work and persistence.  They are mindful of the discrimination they face because of their skin color, but they do not encourage their children to use that as an excuse for anything.  Mama tells Cassie after her miserable experience at the hands of Lillian Jean Simms and her father in Strawberry that while no one has a choice about whether they're rich or poor, black or white, everyone has "some choice in what they make of their lives, and I pray to God you'll make the best of yours."  After Jeremy's visit on Christmas Day, Papa and Stacey have a discussion of the ramifications of Stacey pursuing a friendship with Jeremy Simms.  Stacey observes that Jeremy would probably be a better friend than T.J. and Papa concurs that he could be right.  However, Papa goes on to say that in Mississippi, friendships between black and white people "usually ain't on an equal basis" and the problem with cultivating a friendship with Jeremy is that it would "cost too much to find out" if Jeremy could be a true friend.  Papa is referring to what could happen to Stacey and/or the rest of the family if a conflict would develop between the boys--as it does with all friends at some point.  The consequences could be unpleasant at best, and deadly at worst, since Jeremy comes from a family of extreme racists, and lynchings of black men who step "out of their place" are not unusual during this time period in Mississippi.

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