Friday, December 30, 2011

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry

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The book 'Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry' is about a black family who experiences a lot of racism and is a victim in an unfair community which puts blacks down. The main contention for this essay is - fear is one of the main themes in the book. Fear is a main theme in the book because the black people are always scared of white people. The book has shown how black people have felt powerless against whites and therefore wanted revenge. The book has also revealed that blacks are careful when becoming friends with white people for there is fear of betrayal.

In the book many incidents are shown of how blacks feel powerless against whites and want revenge. Because blacks are treated so badly they have no power about what goes on within the community. Every morning as the Logan children would walk to school, the white kids bus would speed past showering them with mud and water. The Logan children were powerless to stop them and wanted revenge. So, at lunch time, they dug a hole in the road so the bus would fall in and would stop spraying them every time they walked past. The Logan children did this because they were feeling powerless and wanted revenge on the white bus driver. The contention that blacks feel powerless and want revenge is also shown when Cassie is made to apologise to Lillian Jean, she feels annoyed and powerless. She then pretends to be friends with Lillian Jean and takes her into the woods. In the woods Cassie bashes Lillian Jean and tells her if she tells anyone what happened, Cassie will tell everyone Lillian Jean’s deepest secrets. Cassie got revenge on Lillian Jean this way.

Blacks feel that white people will reject them because of the colour of their skin, or because of their different manner. This is demonstrated when T.J tells the Wallances about mama’s teaching methods and how they are wrong. Because T.J has done this he thinks that white brothers R.W and Melvin Simms will accept him as one of their own, whereas really they are laughing at him behind his back. T.J thinks if he becomes good friends with the Simms, he would then gain the trust of white people and that they will pay more attention to him. Cassie says “I wonder how come T.J don’t know they laughing at him? You s’pos he’s that dumb? Mama replies ‘T.J’s not dumb, Cassie.’ ‘ He just wants attention, but he’s going after it the wrong way.” Black people in the book would not only feel that they are being rejected by whites but would also feel scared if white people did reject them. We see this through what happened to the Berries.

Something we see quite often in the book are blacks showing fear that white people will betray them. Blacks are scared that they will be betrayed because white people don’t care about black people, they look down on them. Whites don’t care that blacks are poorer than they are. As Mr. Morrison said while telling a story around the dinner table “We weren’t nothing to them. No better than dogs. Kilt babies and old women, didn’t matter to them.” Another example of when black people might get rejected by whites is when Stacey asks papa about Jeremy and whether he should be friends with him or not. Papa says that Stacey shouldn’t become friends with Jeremy, because the white person will end up betraying the black person. Papa says that friendships between black and white people never work out, because the white people soon think that they are better than the black and betray them. Jeremy later on asks Stacey if he wants to go up to his trees house. Stacey doesn’t want to go into the trees house because he is scared if he becomes friends with Jeremy, he will betray him. Jeremy said “Hey, why don’t y’all come on over and see it (the tree house)? My pa’s gonna be gone all day and it’d be lots of fun and I could show y’all.” ‘No’ says Stacey quietly.

We know that fear is one of the main themes in this book because we have seen it when we looked at all these different contentions Blacks feeling scared and powerless therefore wanting revenge on whites, blacks are afraid that’s they will be rejected by whites because their different and there’s also the fear that if black people develop a friendship with whites they will be betrayed and hurt. The many contentions we have seen throughout this essay shows us that blacks are worthless to them, that’s why blacks have this constant fear of whites in many forms.


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