Critical Context (Masterplots II: American Fiction Series)
Let the Circle Be Unbroken is the third of Mildred D. Taylor’s books; her first, Song of the Trees, was published in 1975. The next year, she published Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and Let the Circle Be Unbroken, which followed in 1981, is a sequel to that book. Additional novels including The Friendship (1987) and The Road to Memphis (1990) continue the story of the Logan family.
Rather than experimenting with innovative techniques, Taylor opts to use her natural language skills to let the young Cassie Logan tell her story. The novel flows with a smoothness and clarity that helped to establish Taylor’s reputation. It is both humorous and capable of evoking deep emotional reactions. The fact that the author bases her novels on the kinds of experiences that her own parents lived through may well contribute to the power and compassion that she brings to her work. Also, Taylor’s own Peace Corps experience in Ethiopia as a teacher further broadened her base of knowledge and sensitivity. Some critics have suggested that Let the Circle Be Unbroken and the Logan family series belong alongside other classics such as Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884) and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie (1869). Taylor has received formal recognition for the Logan family series, including The New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year Award for her first work, Song of the Trees. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry won the American Library Association’s Notable Book award and the Newbery Medal in 1977 and was a finalist for the National Book Award.