Saturday, April 19, 2014

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

This semester for a Literature class I read through a book called ‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’. It was written by Mildred D. Taylor in 1976 and deals with the struggles of the South during the Depression - and the rampant racism which was integral to the culture. While it was written targeted towards younger readers, winning a Newberry award in 1977, the story itself deals with heavy topics in a more mature manner than many “adult” books. It remains accessible, but challenges the reader to think. The vocabulary, characters, and themes are rich in detail, and continue to be engaging throughout the entire book.

The story is about a 9 year old black girl named Cassie Logan, along with the rest of her family, as they endure struggle after struggle. From paying taxes to avoid losing their land, to dealing with the horrible racism in their school, to learning to stand up for what they believe is right, the problems encountered here are truly fascinating. Cassie is of naïve of the prejudices against her, is always stubbornly standing for equal treatment, and is a natural leader for her younger siblings. The other characters are also given a lot of personality, such as TJ, a persistently obnoxious but well meaning friend of the Logan family.

I'd really recommend giving this book a shot, it'll really make you think through the issues presented. The fact that this book takes place in the 20th century really hammers home that this is not an outdated issue! Racism and segregation is still very common in many places, and despite the nature of the topic, this story opens up a very thorough discussion.

You can find this book here