Life in Missisipi and how drastically it is different if you are black is what has been depicted amazingly in Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear my cry. This book delves upon the story of a family who refuses to bend before the unjust rules and fights for what they feel is right and also for the land that they’ve had for generations. A well written book with good characters and a plot that sometimes succeeds in giving you goosebumps.
The book starts with Stacey, Cassie, Chrostopher-John and the Little man and their black friends TJ and Claude walking to school and how they are taunted by the white student going by bus. The story goes deeper with how the Great Faith School for black gets the rejected books and how they have different classrooms separated just by curtains. The story moves on with Cassie and Miss Logan facing racial and disturbing incidents and how the black family members are killed and burned for trifle reasons. They have to work really hard to get money to pay mortgage and taxes on their land. Still, the Logan family decides to fight the injustice being done to sharecroppers in their own way by boycotting the Wallace store. Consequently they are attacked. TJ gets involved with Melvin and RW (two white brothers) and is accused by them of false thieving for which he is about to be hung when Jack Logan, Cassie’s father sets fire to his cotton field to divert the men to the fire and help TJ in his own way.The story ends with Cassie’s reflection on how their life is going to be more or less same with their struggles and fight and how TJ’s life is going to turn turn upside down, he being sent to jail.
The strong bonding of Cassie and his three brothers throughout the book is wonderful. The chemistry between siblings always lights me up and I enjoy every part of it. They were there together in all times and stuck to each other’s back in bad times.
Stacey’s plan to revenge the Jefferson School’s bus driver who enjoyed splashing mud at them when they were walking to school was what really had me. I mean the plan was wonderful, well executed and with your siblings by your side; what could go wrong.
Little Man’s steadfast efforts for cleanliness and the lazy Christopher-John in his efforts to steer clear of trouble were really cute.
Miss Logan’s radical ideas and small steps like sticking the front page of the book, denying to teach something from the book that she didn’t believe in and her attitude towards her children, strict when the need be and benign when she knew they were right, makes her a very likeable character.
Mr Morrison for rock-like presence giving strength and peace amidst all storms.
Uncle Hammer with his unusual temper and his love for family giving everything for the land that they so much cherished.
I didn’t like
Cassie sometimes became too irritating. She would never do as asked even in simple situations and her intent to know everything was too much to bear.
The children are all listening to what adults are speaking and hiding behind doors, walking into rooms. This became a bit mundane as the story continued.
TJ. I hated him from the first chapter. Of course, he was portrayed in that manner and the author very well succeeds there. It is just not possible to sympathise with him, let alone like him or be friends with. It takes good people like Stacey to bear him and even stand up by him in times of need.
I loved reading the book. There was a time when the plight of black people was exactly what has been depicted in the book. Thank God we live in a different time where colour doesn’t matter. It may be prevalent somewhere but not to the extent to which it used to be.
When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw. – Nelson Mandela