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Consider the characters of Mary Logan in "Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry" and Gilbert Dawson in "The Sexton's Hero" showing how they reflect the theme of heroism

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Introduction

Consider the characters of Mary Logan in "Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry" and Gilbert Dawson in "The Sexton's Hero" showing how they reflect the theme of heroism. Mary Logan in "Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry" and Gilbert Dawson in The Sexton's Hero both have many similarities, all of which reflect the theme of heroism. Both have to fight against the expectations of the society they live in. Mary Logan lives in the USA in the 1930's. She is a young black woman living in a white mans world, she is a teacher and her family own land, which the white landowners are not very happy about. The white people believe that blacks a less worthy then whites and should know their place. Gilbert Dawson is a man living in Lancashire in the 1850's, he is meant to be strong and ready to fight, however he doesn't want to fight and this angers the rest of the community. Both Mildred D. Taylor and Elizabeth Gaskell wrote their books to change peoples views on different things. Mildred D. Taylor wanted to change peoples views on black people, and Elizabeth Gaskell wanted to change peoples views on haw people should act. Both writers see people as equal. In the dictionary a hero is: "A person who is admired for being brave" Mrs Gaskell's definition is "One who acts up to the highest idea of duty he has been able to perform, no matter at what sacrifice." ...read more.

Middle

She tries to persuade the black community to shop elsewhere: "she spoke of finding another store to patronise." She does this because the Wallaces, who run the local store, are suspected of burning a black family. Mary Logan teaches her students about slavery even though she is not allowed to. " To make matters worse her lesson for the day was slavery" She wants her students to know the truth about their history. She even covers an offensive page in a black textbook. "Then she took the paper and placed it over the glue." She fights against white expectations because she believes that one day there will be freedom, and she wants her children to live in a fairer society. Mary Logan speaks out for the share-croppers who don't have a voice. She is fighting for justice. Both writers show the difficulties that the characters face because they go against the expectations of the community. In "The Sextons Hero" Gilbert Dawson is treated very badly by the community, after he refuses to fight. People thought there was something wrong with him. The called him a "monkey or a foreigner," and drove him out of the community. Letty, who is supposed to be in love with Gilbert, tries to blackmail him into fighting the sexton. When he would not fight, Letty was spiteful and eventually left Gilbert for the Sexton. ...read more.

Conclusion

His Bible symbolises his integrity, he lives by it. "There were many a text in the Gospel, marked broad with his carpenter's pencil which more that bore him out in his refusal to fight." He believes so much in what it says, that he is willing to sacrifice the girl he loves, to abide by it. In "Roll Of Thunder Hear My Cry", religion also plays an important role in peoples lives, though not as much as in 'The Sextons Hero'. For the black community, the Christian church is seen as the corner stone of their lives. It is referred to as part of everyday life. Great Faith church is where the Logans and the rest of the black community worship and assemble. The annual revival : "ran for seven days and was a occasion everyone looked forward to." It shows the community spirit as everyone got together. Mary Logan's values of equality and justice spring from her simple Christian foundation. Both Mary Logan and Gilbert Dawson are committed to their duty and both have to make sacrifices to fulfil that duty. Gilbert Dawson makes a bigger sacrifice than Mary Logan as he sacrifices his life to save that of Letty and the Sexton. Gilbert is a traditional hero as he saves the day. However Mary Logan is more of a modern hero because she stands by her principles. Ultimately, both Gilbert Dawson and Mary Logan reflect the theme of heroism as they both stand up for what they believe in. ...read more.

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