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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

by Mildred D. Taylor

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Why hasn't Papa returned to the railroad yet in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, according to Cassie?

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Cassie thinks that Papa doesn’t leave to go to the railroad again because he is waiting for something, and he says he doesn’t think the trouble is over.

In this section of the book, the racial tensions are running high.  The Logan family is proud to own land, but there is a mortgage on half of it and the taxes on the land are high.  The prices for cotton are low.  The result is that Cassie’s father has to go work for the railroad in the summer.

After the summer, Cassie’s father does not go back to work for the railroad because he is worried that the situation with Harlan Granger and the Wallace store boycott.

… Papa had not left for the railroad. He seemed to be waiting for something …  I overheard him say, “Sunday I’m gonna have to go. Don’t want to though. I got this gut feeling it ain’t over yet. It’s too easy.” (Chapter 9)

Papa is worried that the conflict between Harlan Granger and the sharecroppers is going to escalate.  He does not feel comfortable leaving his family unprotected in case there is violence against them.  As a leader in the community, Papa tries to help the families who want to boycott but are unable to go elsewhere to shop.

Cassie was right, Papa could not leave.  Violence was inevitable.  The first sign was when the Logan wagon was tampered with and Papa broke his leg.  This is only the beginning of the serious violence as the Logans take a stand.

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