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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, what is Uncle Hammer's principle?

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Uncle Hammer's guiding principle in life is that people should always take responsibility for their actions; a man should not blame others for his own stupidity. It's a tough old world out there, and someone's always looking to try and take you down. In such a harsh environment if you've got something good, something that others would dearly love to get their hands on, and you've got to hang on to it for dear life.

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Uncle Hammer's guiding principle in life is that people should always take responsibility for their actions; a man should not blame others for his own stupidity. It's a tough old world out there, and someone's always looking to try and take you down. In such a harsh environment if you've got something good, something that others would dearly love to get their hands on, and you've got to hang on to it for dear life.

The immediate context of Uncle Hammer's stern life lesson is Stacey's foolish decision to lend T.J. his coat. Mama wants Stacey to go get it back immediately, but Uncle Hammer won't hear of it. As far as he's concerned, being deprived of his coat will teach Stacey a valuable lesson. T.J. is clearly one of those people in life who are always looking to take what you've got and drag you down. Uncle Hammer hopes that Stacey will learn from this experience to avoid such people in future, and remember to hang on to the things that matter to him.

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Uncle Hammer's guiding principles have been forged by his experiences dealing with racism. He is Mary Logan's brother who lives in Chicago. Unlike his southern relatives, Hammer appears as a more "well-to-do" character. He's polished, urbane. He drives a beautiful Packard (almost identical to Logan nemisis, Harlan Granger), wears nice clothes, and carries himself with a certain swagger, born of pride and prejudice. When Hammer hears that his niece (and protagonist/narrator, Cassie Logan) has been mistreated by Mr. Simms, he isn't willing to "turn the other cheek."

Hammer fought in World War 1. He's embittered about his experiences, calling it a "white man's war." He's lost much and isn't willing put up with the types of injustices that his Logan relatives have come to grudgingly accept.

His principles include standing up for yourself. Unfortunately, his experiences have somewhat clouded his judgement. He isn't willing to compromise. He's "hot-headed" in his reaction to any sort of injustice perpetrated against himself and his family.

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