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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

by Mildred D. Taylor
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Why weren't T.J. and his little brother Claude let in on the bus prank in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry?  

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Stacey does not tell Claude about the prank with the school bus because he thinks that T.J. talks too much and if he told Claude he would have to tell T.J. too.

In the beginning of the story, the children get their clothes dirty when the white school’s bus gets...

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Stacey does not tell Claude about the prank with the school bus because he thinks that T.J. talks too much and if he told Claude he would have to tell T.J. too.

In the beginning of the story, the children get their clothes dirty when the white school’s bus gets too close to them.  The white children have a bus, but the African American children do not.

“’Cause they like to see us run and it ain’t our bus,” Stacey said, balling his fists and jamming them tightly into his pockets. (Ch. 1)

The children decide to pull a prank on the bus to get back at it.  Cassie asks Stacey if he is going to tell T.J. and Claude about the plan, and he explains why he will not.

Stacey shook his head. “T.J.’s my best friend, but he’s got no stomach for this kinda thing. He talks too much, and we couldn’t include Claude without T.J.” (Ch. 3)

Stacey’s plan is for the kids to sneak out on their lunch break and dig holes in the road.  It is raining, and they expect the bus to hit one of the holes.  The bus does indeed hit the new pothole and breaks down.  The white children will have no bus until it is fixed.

When their mother finds out, she says she is glad it happened.  However, that night they learn that there are some white men out for revenge.  The children become worried that their prank may have some serious consequences.

Cassie wants to tell her mother.  While she is churning butter, her mother asks her if she is sick, but she just can’t bring herself to tell her what happened.  She does not want to break the promise she made to her brother.  Later T.J. tells them that Sam Tatum was tarred and feathered by the white men.  A man named Mr. Morrison comes to stay with them to help out, but he is really there for protection.

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