Notes on Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Themes

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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Topic Tracking: Family

Chapter 1

Family 1: The entire family, even those like Hammer who don't live near the rest, is very close. They work together to keep the land, which they all own together. Cassie's father doesn't think of himself as the owner--he thinks of each of his family members, including the children, as owning a piece.

Chapter 2

Family 2: The whole family works together picking cotton. When Papa comes home, the children forget their obedience to their mother and grandmother for once and run to meet him, climbing over the dangerous barbed wire fence. They all love him deeply, and wish he could stay with them forever.

Chapter 3

Family 3: The four children work together, knowing that they can only trust each other to keep the hole a secret. Stacey doesn't even tell T.J., though T.J. is his best friend. That night, the family laughs about the bus crash over dinner, though the women don't know what the children have done.

Chapter 4

Family 4: Even though Cassie and the others are frightened of the Wallace store and do not want to disobey their father by going there, they follow Stacey there because they do not want to leave him alone. Even the insults from white people at the store will not drive them away.

Family 5: For the Logans, family is tied to the land. Big Ma met her husband when he was just getting ready to buy the land. They had six children and raised them on the land, and four of them died on it. The last two still love and care for it. This is part of the reason why Big Ma will never sell the land to Harlan Granger: she thinks of the land as part of her family.

Chapter 5

Family 6: Though usually Big Ma is a source of comfort for Cassie, this time she cannot help her. Cassie expects Big Ma to make everything all right, to make it so that she does not have to apologize to Lillian Jean. She is shocked when she sees that even though Big Ma doesn't believe it is right, she wants Cassie to apologize. Cassie feels betrayed and angry.

Chapter 7

Family 7: In the Logan family, the children are punished in a way that will teach them morals and good sense. Thus, when Hammer finds out that Stacey gave away his coat, he realizes that beating Stacey will do no good. Instead, he lectures the boy so severely that Stacey shakes in fear. Hammer doesn't simply want to discipline Stacey--he wants to teach him.

Chapter 8

Family 8: Cassie can depend on her father for reasonable, warm-hearted advice. He understands her and wants her to be happy, and he also wants to protect her. Because of him, she is able to get revenge on Lillian Jean without really hurting anyone. It is this kind of wisdom that makes T.J. angry, because he doesn't have it. When he is caught cheating on a test, he gets angry at the Logans, who would never cheat.

Chapter 9

Family 9: The Logan family is extremely close. Stacey believes Papa's injury is his fault, but Cassie convinces him it isn't. Each child is terrified that their father could die. Each member of the family, especially the children, is bound to the rest, looking to the others for comfort and security. They discuss everything and keep few secrets from each other.

Chapter 11

Family 10: Even though Cassie hates T.J., she will not leave Stacey to help him home alone. She wants to protect her brother. Likewise, Christopher-John and Little Man will not be left behind. The four children understand each other and have many of the same ideas about morality (as much as they hate T.J., they cannot reject him when he is hurt).

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