Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a historical fiction novel set during the Great Depression when the South was still enduring damage from the Reconstruction of the Civil War– a time when African Americans suffered discrimination and segregation.
When first starting the novel, which was a required book for my English class, I was not that intrigued. It just seemed to me like a bunch of unrelated stories. But after finishing the book, I have to say, it was very beneficial for me to read it. A few chapters in, a complex plot line develops and made the book more captivating than I ever would have thought possible. I certainly changed my opinion about this novel between the first and last pages, and thoroughly enjoyed it. What other required reading books have you read that your reluctance to read was unwarranted?
This novel is told from Cassie Logan’s perspective, so she is the main character. Her family, different than the other African American families living in that part of Mississippi, owns their own land which comprises hundreds of acres. That land causes conflict during the story, since one of the white men in the town has desired that land for years, but the Logans have refused to sell it. Other conflicts during the story include the discrimination Cassie and her siblings encounter based on the color of their skin, starting with the first day of school and escalating from there. These instances lead to the concept that white people at the time did not see African Americans as equal, even though they truly were.
Since the book surprisingly didn’t have any chapters, my assignment for English class was to create a potential title for each chapter. Hopefully these chapter titles interest you and encourage you to read the book.
1. “New” Books
2. The “Giant”
3. Avenging the White Bus
4. The Wallace Store
5. A Visit to Strawberry
6. Their Rightful Place
7. Papa’s Home
8. An Unfortunate Turn of Events
9. Vicksburg Trouble
10 Heat and Hard Times
11. Trouble With T.J.
12. Crying for the Land and T.J.
In conclusion, this book handles the topic of discrimination well and teaches very important lessons. I recommend this book to others. I would give it a rating of 4 stars (out of 5).
– Leila S., 8th grade