Notes on Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Themes

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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Topic Tracking: Quiet

Chapter 1

Quiet 1: Little Man has a quiet carefulness about him. Though he is only six, a neat appearance is very important to him. Though he doesn't argue with his older siblings, he stubbornly continues to walk slowly, even though they tell him to hurry.

Quiet 2: Cassie's father is a quiet and gentle man, but he is also very determined. He does not make a complicated speech, he simply says that he will not lose his land, no matter what. This is partly why Cassie respects him: in just a few words, he can say exactly what he thinks and make her believe him.

Quiet 3: Claude keeps silent about the cruelty T.J. inflicts on him, even when T.J. admits to it right in front of him. He is so afraid of his brother that he doesn't dare get him in trouble. Cassie is shocked at the way Claude accepts this treatment from his brother, but there is nothing she can do about it.

Quiet 4: Cassie and Little Man both refuse to use the racist books. At first, Cassie tries to reasonably explain why she is upset to her teacher, but when her teacher ignores her, she simply takes her punishment. She accepts that her teacher will not listen to her, though that angers her. Even Little Man refuses to cry when he is beaten.

Chapter 2

Quiet 5: Papa only has to tell the children once not to go to the Wallace store. He does not give them a long list of the terrible things he will do to them if they disobey him. He just quietly promises he will punish them, and they understand he is serious. He is quiet, but he means what he says.

Chapter 4

Quiet 6: The children keep their secret from T.J., even though they are very frightened. They also refuse to let him control them. He wants to talk constantly and always be the center of attention, but they are quiet people who will not let him indulge himself. Even when he tries his best to interest them, they ignore him.

Quiet 7: Mama knows that the best way to get things done is not always to be loud and forceful. Though everyone knows what the Wallaces did to the Berrys, she does not mention that when she tries to get people to stop shopping at the Wallace store. She only calmly explains why the Wallaces are bad for the community.

Chapter 8

Quiet 8: In his own quiet way, Stacey figures out how to punish T.J. as severely as possible. He ignores him, and the rest of the students at their school follow his example. With no one to brag or lie to, T.J. is deeply hurt. Stacey did not have to insult him or beat him up--he simply removed him from his life.

Chapter 10

Quiet 9: Uncle Hammer is dangerous to his family, because he cannot keep quiet. No one wants to keep quiet about the racism and cruelty all around them, but they understand that trying to get revenge will most likely just get them hurt or even killed. Hammer doesn't understand the value of keeping quiet.

Chapter 12

Quiet 10: Though Papa was tempted to solve things "Hammer's way," with his gun, he finally decided to resolve the fighting without using violence. He quietly set fire to his own land, never telling anyone outright. Rather than attacking others, he passively sacrificed himself.

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