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Free Study Guide-Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor-Free Notes
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IMPORTANT QUOTATIONS / QUOTES (continued)

11. "Everybody from Smelling Creek to Strawberry knows it was them but what do we do about it? We line their pockets with our few pennies and send our children up to their store to learn things theyíve got no business learning. The older children are drinking regularly there now, even though they donít have any money to pay, and the Wallaces are simply adding the liquor charges to the family bill."

Attribution/Analysis - Mary Logan is making a case for taking the shopping to Vicksburg, thus drawing as many tenant farmers as possible away from the Wallace store. The Logans are the only ones who can do anything to actively protest the burning of the Berry brothers because they are the only ones who canít be driven off the land for crossing the whites. (pg. 151)

12. "Far as Iím concerned, friendship between black and white donít mean that much cause it usually ainít on an equal basis. Right now you and Jeremy might get along fine, but in a few years heíll think of himself as a man, but youíll probably still be a boy to him. And if he feels that way, heíll turn on you in a minute."

Attribution/Analysis - Papa in response to Staceyís comments on the friendship of Jeremy. Jeremy has just brought them some Christmas gifts-a bag of nuts for Mama and a handmade flute for Stacey. Jeremyís friendship has been with significant personal sacrifice as the other white kids make fun of him and occasionally his father has whipped him for hanging around the Logan kids. Stacey has just told Papa that if he let him, Jeremy could be a better friend than T.J. (pg. 157)


13. "We Logans donít have much to do with the white folks... "Cause white folks mean trouble. You see blacks hanging Ďround with whites, theyíre headed for trouble. Maybe one day whites and blacks can be real friends, but right now the country ainít built that way. Now you could be right Ďbout Jeremy making a much finer friend that T.J. ever will be. The trouble is, down here in Mississippi, it costs too much to find out..."

Attribution/Analysis - Papa explaining why Stacey should not pursue friendship with Jeremy. Stacey doesnít believe that Jeremy would turn on him. His fatherís words are a foreshadowing of coming trouble for T.J., but also a reflection of the cost to both black and white if they try to cross the barrier. (pg. 158)

14. "There are ... things ... that if Iíd let be, theyíd eat away at me and destroy me in the end...there are things you canít back down on, things you gotta take a stand on. But itís up to you to decide what them things are. You have to demand respect in this world, ainít nobody just gonna hand it to you. How you carry yourself, what you stand for-thatís how you gain respect. But, little one, ainít nobodyís respect worth more than your own."

Attribution/Analysis - Papa is talking to Cassie about what Lillian Jean had done to her. Essentially, he gives her permission to stand up to Lillian Jean and find a way to get back at her, so long as he and Charlie Simms donít have to be involved in it.

15. "To make matters worse, her lesson for the day was slavery. She spoke on the cruelty of it; the rich economic cycle it generated as slaves produced the raw products for the factories of the north and Europe; how the country profited and grew from the free labor of a people still not free."

Attribution/Analysis - Cassieís observation of her motherís history lesson on the day she is fired. The lesson wasnít the reason they fired her-it just gave them fuel to attack her with. The real reason was the shopping in Vicksburg. T.J. had complained about her being an unfair teacher, defacing school property, and teaching things that were not in the books which they could justifiably dismiss her for if true. Her lesson of the day is not in the book, but as she explains to the men who come into her class, everything in the book isnít true.( pg. 183)


16. "You, boy, donít you get so grown you go to talking Ďbout more than you know. Them men, they doing what theyíve gotta do. You got any idea what a risk they took just to go shopping in Vicksburg in the first place? They go on that chain gang and their families got nothing. Theyíll get kicked off that plot of land they tend and thereíll be no place for them to go."

Attribution/Analysis - Papa scolding Stacey for his outburst over the tenants backing out on the Vicksburg shopping arrangement. Papa understands that they are backing out because they have to.( pg. 205)

17. "You see that fig tree over yonder?... Them other trees all around . . . that oak and walnut, theyíre a lot bigger and they take up more room and give so much shade they almost overshadow that little ole fig. But that fig treeís got roots that run deep, and it belongs in that yard as much as that oak and walnut. It keeps on blooming, bearing good fruit year after year, knowing all the time itíll never get as big as them other trees. Just keeps on growing and doing what it gotta do. It donít give up. It give up, itíll die. .. Thereís a lesson to be learned from that little tree...cause weíre like it. We keep doing what we gotta, and we donít give up. We canít."

Attribution/Analysis - Papaís explanation to Cassie for why he will not give up shopping in Vicksburg. The trees are an analogy for the community with major landowners that nearly overpower the smaller ones, but the small ones like himself still having a right to be there. Itís a lesson in persistence rather than spontaneous violence. The whites may not like his presence, but as long as he hangs onto the land and there are a few decent whites such as Jamison to speak up on occasion, his enemies canít do anything about him. (pg. 206)

18. "Kaleb Wallace is one of them folks who canít do nothing by himself. He got to have a lot of other folks backing him up plus a loaded gun...."

Attribution/Analysis - Mr. Morrison explains how he knew it was safe to move Wallaceís truck off the road. His evaluation of Wallace is also accurate; whenever the Wallaces have attacked the black community, it has been with numbers. (pg. 226)

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