What literature elements would one teacher emphasize? Character, settings and/or both?
I think what needs to be highlighted in this excellent story is the way that the Logan family handle the struggles that racism and discrimination present to them as a family. We are saddened and angered by the way that Mrs. Logan loses her job and their father is shot for trying to boycott the white store that is exploiting the African American population in the area so badly. Yet, in spite of the humiliation and indignity that the children and their parents and friends suffer, the Logans are a model for how to patiently endure such suffering and continuing to fight for what they know is right, even when that involves further jeopardising their own precarious state, when Cassie's father sets fire to his own cotton fields to create a distraction and prevent a lynching. I would think that this is the main outstanding quality of this excellent book.
While a rather easy read, Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry presents much of the African-American experience along with the human experience. The Logan children, who must walk to school instead of riding the bus as the white children do, maintain their pride as Little Man is fastidious about his clothes and Cassie speaks up for herself. Insisting upon teaching the children history as it truly happened, Mrs. Logan instills in her students and in her children both a personal dignity.
The Logans' struggle receive a proper education, to be respected, and to maintain land that belongs to them is both poignant and a lesson in African-American history. Yet, as a New York Times Book Review printed,
Taylor...writes not with rancor or bitterness of indignities, but with pride, strength, and respect for humanity.
Thus, this short novel serves well for all races to read as it presents the human struggle against the indignities of racial prejudice and human cruelty in general. Later, it may serve anyone who teaches as an excellent read for students.