What is the effect created by the author telling this story from the perspective of a child? Does it make the racial incidents seem more or less sinister?
Analyze the non-corrupt white characters like Jeremy Simms. Can you identify any others? What seems to motivate them? Are they better or worse off than the black characters?
Analyze the effect of the three different time periods that have to do with this novel on the text. Discuss how slavery times (before the book was set), Jim Crow laws (during when the book was set), and the Black Power movement (after the book was set, when Mildred Taylor was writing it) have influenced the text. Where do you find examples of each?
Discuss the role of nature in this novel. Does it work in opposition to human interests?
Analyze Big Mama as the voice of history. What sorts of stories does she tell, and what type of effect does she hope that these stories will have on her grandchildren's lives?
Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry is as much a coming of age story for Stacey as it is for Cassie. What realities must Stacey face in this novel and what positive or negative qualities does he begin to demonstrate?
Describe the way that Christmas is portrayed in this novel. Does it introduce new themes relating to family life or enlarge on old ones?
Analyze the character of TJ. Does the author intend him to represent a typical black young man? What is his tragic flaw?
Compare the friendship that Stacey has with TJ to the friendship that he has with Jeremy Simms. To whom does he show more loyalty? Why?
When Papa sets fire to his own cotton at the end of the novel, is he acting in a defeated or a self-controlled manner? Is this a moment of triumph or of despair? Of optimism or pessimism?
Over many years racism has been a disgusting, horrible issue in our world. Racism still exists today, although it is not as bad as it once was. In the historical novel, Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry, Mildred D. Taylor explores the issue of racism through the victimization of the Berry Family and Sam Tatum by the Ku Klux Klan as well as an encounter with more disgusting people at the Wallace store.
The Berry’s burning is a huge act for racism. First Mr. Berry was talking to a Caucasian lady. Then some man saw him talking to her. They didn’t think it was normal for an African-American man to be talking to and Caucasian lady. After Mr. Berry was done talking to her, he left for home in his car. But what Mr. Berry didn’t notice was that the Caucasian men were following him to his home. Mr. Berry didn’t have much gas left so he stopped at his friends’ house. As he was leaving his car to go to the house, The KKK jumped him and poured hot tar on him and feathered him. The KKK thought that you could only talk to your own race. Cassie also had some experiences of racism in Strawberry.
Cassies experiences in Strawberry were very rough. First Cassie, Stacy, and T.J. went into Jim Lee Barnett mercantile buy some supplies for T.J.’s family. Mr. Barnett was helping the kids when a Caucasian lady came in. Mr. Barnett dropped all the things that he was helping with the kids and helped the lady, although the kids were first. So Cassie gets very upset and complains to Mr. Barnett. Then Mr. Barnett throws Cassie out of the store. That was the fist sign of racism Cassie experienced in Strawberry. The next experience was on the street of Strawberry. Cassie was minding her own business, when bratty Lillian Jean bumped in to Cassie. Well Lillian jean blamed the accident on Cassie although she did not do it. Lillian Jean made Cassie apologize, but Cassie did not. So Lillian Jean made her dad tell her to apologize just because Cassie. Whit this racism, the KKK is a big part of racism, so is the Wallace store.
The Wallace store is not a good place for kids to go and hang out. Papa doesn’t want the kids to go to the Wallace store because the Wallace’s are members of the KKK and the kids there are drinking. The KKK might harm the kids or even kill them because they are African-American. So that is why Papa doesn’t want the kids to go there. This is another act of repeating racism. Killing or harming African-American kids just because the kids go to a Caucasian store.
By reading Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry, Mildred D. Taylor wanted us to realize racism is unacceptable, evil, inappropriate and not necessary. Our job is to stamp out racism by treating every human being equally. It is important to join together to create a nation that celebrates our differences.
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