Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
Cassie Logan, a 9 year old girl in the Logan family wants to be able to go to school, choose her own friends, have nice books to read, and in general enjoy the rights and privileges-and receive the respect-that ought to belong to any human being. However, Cassie and her brothers live in the deep south during the depression in an area that suffers from racist attitudes in spite of the abolition of slavery nearly 75 years earlier.
Although there are many frustrating little incidents-and some that are not so little-the primary conflict is internal for Cassie. She is beginning to grow up and to realize that, whether it is right or not, there are things she cannot do and cannot have just because she is black. While Cassie does not have to accept it, in her particular time, she does have to figure out how to live with it and still preserve her sense of personal identity, something that is strongly connected to the land her father owns.
The antagonists are the white landowners, shopkeepers and their children with whom Cassie and her siblings must interact. If the Blacks do not behave as required, they can expect to be threatened and humiliated by the whites or even tormented and tortured by the night riders.
The climax occurs when T.J. Avery gets involved in robbery and assault along with two white boys whom he regards as friends. When the boys go too far and T.J. tries to get out of it, they beat him up. The boys, who wear masks to conceal their identity, put the blame for the robbery all onto T.J. A group of outraged white men descend on the Avery house intending to hang T.J.. However, David Logan, Cassie's father, sets his own cotton on fire to distract the landowners and prevent a hanging.