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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

by Mildred D. Taylor

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In Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, how do the Logans show they are a close, loving family?

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Mildred Taylor's narrative is about a family whose warm ties to each other and their land provides them the courage and strength to defy the persecution of neighbors during the Depression. The Logans are a closely-knit family led by the matriarch Big Ma in the absence of Pa Logan, all united in their pride in the land.

In Chapter 2 when their father returns, he brings another man with him who has lost his job with the railroad and leaves Mr. Morrison behind to protect his family.  But, when the children first see their father, he runs "swiftly, like the wind" to them, sweeping first Little Man, then Christopher-John, Stacey, and Cassie into his huge arms:  "He hugged and kissed each of us, then stood back."  Later in the evening, the children learn that David Logan has returned home because of the burnings of his neighbors.  After their visitors leave in the evening, Pa calls the children together and tells them,

"We don't want y'all going to that place. Children going there are gonna get themselves in a whole lot of trouble one day."

The children agree to obey their father, who "swung a mean switch." And, the Logans are one of the few families who continue the boycott. Then, in Chapter 3 when Little Man is muddied by the bus driver who speeds through a puddle, the siblings, in defense of their brother, all conspire to cause the bus in the afternoon to break an axle in the huge whole they dig in the road.  When the adults in the family learn of the poetic justice to the white bus, they even laugh.

In Chapter 4 when the children learn that T.J. has stolen answers from their mother, loyal to his mother, Stacey goes after T.J. who seeks asylum at the Wallace store, knowing that the Logans have been forbidden to go there.  However, Cassie and her brothers follow Stacey who chases T.J. and fights him.

Always the family works together. For instance, when Uncle Hammer visits in Chapter 6, he is angered that Cassie was mistreated in the store at Strawberry. He drives away for a while, presumably to confront the storeowner. Meanwhile, Big Ma explains that she made Cassie apologize in the store only to protect her from repercussions by the whites. Later, in Chapter 10, Uncle Hammer sells his car in order to pay off the mortgage on the Logan's land so that Harlan Granger will not get it from them. Thus, they stay united.

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