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Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry

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Introduction

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry revolves around a strong message of racism, by increasing our emotions and feelings of the subject. In subtle ways the writer teaches us, without information being too heavy, about racism and its background, strongly pointing towards its wrongs. The book focuses on teaching young blacks and whites of the racist issue by involving it in the story, while making the story line interesting enough to not realise how you are gradually taught the different aspects of the subject. From this point of view, the novel successfully approaches the issue of racism as well as conquering fiction mode. Racism originated from the slave trade, where Africans were transported to the Americas to be sold for work on farms or mines. The whites thought of these blacks as an inferior race as their level of advancement was behind that of the whites. In our book we can see how over time, this way of thinking by the whites makes little change. By 1510, Spaniards and Portuguese captured Africans in exchange for European goods, and shipped them to America where again they would be exchanged for sugar, rum tabacco and cotton. At the time, Africa was the only part of the 'known' world not controlled by rulers, and their weapons were not as powerful as the Europeans and so the natives were easily captured. They would be held in barracoons built by the slave traders, many dying. Between 1500 and 1890, an estimate of over six million women, and 9 million men were captured, an equal number died before they could be exported. ...read more.

Middle

Respect, schooling and well being all revolve around racism for a black person. Respect between your own race can be seen in the book. The Logans in the book have gained much respect from their fellow blacks with their unusual situation of owning land. This quote is from Mr. Turner, a neighbour of the Logan family. " Y'all got it better'n most the folks 'round here 'cause y'all gots your own place and y'all ain't gotta cowtail to a lot of this stuff. But you gotta understand it ain't easy for sharecroppin' folks to do what your askin'." This makes then independent, not needing to depend on the whites. As well as keeping all their profits, they also undertake a permanent status. This being uncommon for blacks at the time gives the Logans status among their black neighbours. The rest of their neighbouring blacks are sharecroppers or tenants on the whites land meaning that they practically are kept as slaves, giving the money they owe to their landlord Mr Granger as well as surviving off his provisions as if they are still kept as slaves. Respect from the opposite race can be seen to often be different. In the same situation, Mr Harlan Granger, the owner of most of the other land despises, and has no respect for the Logans, being dependable upon them self and free to make their own decisions. He does not feel that it is right that blacks could be at the same standard of land owning as whites like himself, keeping the same frame of mind as the past, that blacks are inferior. The same is for the respect of whites from blacks. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shows the less caring side and racist side of the blacks. Papa later reinforces this. "We Logans don't have much to do with white folks. You know why? 'Cause white folks mean trouble. You see blacks hanging 'round with whites, they're headed for trouble." This last sentence is ironic, as it relates to a part in the story later where T.J gets into deep trouble due to his being with white 'friends'. Later, they are revealed to be just using him, but T.J is oblivious to this. Though Papa says this about white people meaning trouble, they do come across Mr Jaminson, who seems nothing but helpful. Papa trusts him, and yet he will not let his son trust Jeremy, thinking that he may grow up to change. At the end of this novel, the author adds a conclusion to her message of racism given out through the book. "I recognised Mr. Lanier by his floppy blue hat working side by side with Mr. Simms, each oblivious of the other" This is a white and black man working together at a time of crises. The common enemy of fire unites them. She is showing that is possible. She also uses soot as symbolism, on the white men's faces. They all appear black and with no difference between them. "...taking off his handkerchief to wipe the sweat and soot from his face." Racism could finally leave, and yet it so easily returns. When I read this book, the knowledge I gained of racism, I learnt without realising. I feel that Mildred D. Taylor, the author of Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, managed to conquer this technique, and completed all criteria for a successful novel, for this age group. I found it informative and interesting in one. ...read more.

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