Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor Book Review
Humiliation and fear rule the Logan's lives, but their land seems to hold them together in tough times. Will they prevail through the hardships that they face? In the historical fiction novel, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Mildred Taylor incorporates symbolism throughout the novel to create a deeper and richer plot. Cassie is the protagonist in Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, Cassie and her family face many challenges in the novel, but one thing holds them together and that is their land. The Logan’s land contributes to the themes of the novel which are family bonds, and sacrifice because the Logan’s do anything they have to to keep their land.
The Logan’s are different from many black families because the Logan’s have their own land and they do not have to share it with anyone. When Cassie asks Papa why he had to go away and work out on the railroad Papa’s response is, “‘Look out there, Cassie girl. All that belongs to you. You ain’t never had to live on nobody’s place but your own and long as I live and the family survives, you’ll never have to’” (7). Papa tells Cassie that all the land belongs to her because the Logan’s own their own land and they do not have to share it with anyone else. David Logan makes the sacrifice of going away from his family to make extra money to make sure that the Logan’s keep their land. Additionally, Papa assures Cassie that no matter what happens the Logan’s will always have their land. Mama wants the black families in the neighborhood to stop shopping at the Wallace store, but if the Logan’s back the credit they could lose their land. “‘If you remember nothing else in your whole life, Cassie girl, remember this: We ain’t never gonna, lose this land”’ (152). However the Logan’s could lose their land if they back the credit, Papa assures Cassie that no matter what they will always have their land. If the Logan’s decide to back the credit they could lose their land, but the Logan family will continue to make sacrifices and never lose the land. Even through hardships the Logan’s continue to make sacrifices for their land because they know the land is important to them, the Logan’s are also symbolized throughout the story by trees.
Trees are one of the symbols that are used throughout the novel to describe the Logan family and Harlan Granger. On Harlan Granger’s land an old oak tree divides Logan land from Granger land. “An ancient oak tree on the slope, visible even now, was the official dividing mark between Logan land and the beginning of a dense forest. Beyond the protective fencing of the forest, vast farming fields, worked by a multitude of share-cropping families, covered two thirds of a ten-square-mile plantation. That was Harlan Granger land” (6). The oak divides the Logan land from Granger land, the oak tree shows the dividing point between the two lands. Harlan Granger is represented by an oak tree because oak and massive which represents Harlan Granger because he has lots of money and power. Additionally, the Logan’s are symbolized by fig trees because the Logan’s have deep roots. Papa explains to Stacey why the Avery’s and the Laniers could not shop at Vicksburg anymore, when Cassie questions if Papa will also give up shopping at Vicksburg. “‘But that fig tree’s 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 it’ll never get as big as them other trees”’ (206). Cassie believes that Papa and Mama will give up shopping at Vicksburg and surrender to the white people, but Papa assures Cassie that they will never stop fighting. David Logan compares his family to a fig tree because the Logan’s may not have as much land, power, or money as Harlan Granger, but they have deep family roots that keep them from losing their land. Even though the Logan’s do not have lots of money or power they still have deep family roots which keeps them from losing their land.
Even through the hardships the Logan’s face throughout the novel, each family member makes many sacrifices in order for them to keep the land. The Logan family faces many challenges throughout the novel, but the one thing that keeps them together is their land. Papa says that the Logan’s are like fig trees because they have deep roots, and they never give up. Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry is about family bonds and sacrifices, and the point is to never giving up in tough situations.