Tripp's Reviews > Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
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's review
Aug 10, 2012

bookshelves: 1st-person, middle-grade, past-tense, scarlett

Narrator Cassie Logan is nine-years-old; her brothers Stacey, Christopher-John, and Little Man, are twelve, seven, and six. It's 1933 Mississippi, and the Logans are unusual in that they are a black family that owns their own land, rather than share-cropping one of the three local plantations.

T.J. Avery, a neighbor, and friend of Stacey's, drifts into trouble over the course of the story, until he is framed by two white men for the robbery, assault, and murder of a local store owner, and the climax occurs when a lynch mob arrives at the Avery house for T.J. and are barely diverted from their purpose when the forest and cotton fields catch fire--not a coincidence, though attributed to the lightning storm raging at the time, but started by Cassie's father, at great cost to his own cotton crop. The ending isn't happy, though, in spite of the fact that T. J. isn't lynched; he is in jail, and the best he can hope for is decades on the chain gang.

Plenty of other subplots and themes abound, from battles the kids have with the bus driver who takes white children to their own school to Cassie's mother's loss of her job as a result of a lie told by T.J. to visits from their Uncle Hammer and the black community's attempted boycott of Wallace's store, a white man who is particularly inimical to the local black population.

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