Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
"The vivid story of a black family whose warm ties to each other and their land give them strength to defy rural Southern racism during the Depression. . . . Entirely through its own internal development, the novel shows the rich inner rewards of black pride, love, and independence despite the certainty of outer defeat." -- Booklist (starred review) * Newbery Medal Award * American Book Award Honor Book * An ALA Notable Book * A NCSS-CBC Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies * A Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book
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Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry is the story of an African American girl named Cassie Logan and her close-knit family. The story takes place in racially-segregated Depression era rural Mississippi. As you read, you will learn about the hardships that African American families faced after slavery ended, but segregation and racism were still a way of life.
As you read, you will be asked to explain what the text says and answer questions about key details in the story. Sometimes the answers will be found directly in the text and other times you will be asked to draw inferences from the text. The video below will help you understand this standard. (This annotation contains a video)
Based on the highlighted sentence, it can be inferred that Cassie's mother's occupation is a ____________.
Sharecropping is system of farming in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on the land. The Logan family was not a sharecropping family because they owned their own land.
In school, T.J. can be described as ________.
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
The incident where the school bus of laughing white children rushes by, and causes a haze of dust to cover the African American children is an example of ________.
During this time of segregation, white children were transported to school on a bus, and black children had to walk, often long distances, to attend school. This is an example of one of the themes emerging in the story. The video below will explain how to determine a theme or themes emerging in a story. (This annotation contains a video)
Describe the setting of the Great Faith Elementary and Secondary School. In what ways is it similar to and different from your school?
The highlighted passage reveals that many of the students at Great Faith school live in poverty. Think of some examples from the passage that reveal this.
What does the highlighted passage suggest about Miss Crocker's feelings toward Cassie?
A potbellied stove is a cast-iron wood-burning stove that is round with a bulge in the middle. The name refers to the resemblance of the stove to an overweight person's pot belly. They were designed to heat large spaces and were often found in railroad stations or one-room schoolhouses. (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Cassie suddenly disappointed when she sees the textbook?
Think about a time when you've been so angry that you threw something. What do you think Little Man sees inside the cover of the book that makes him furious?
Read the chart on the previous page and explain why it makes Little Man so angry. Do you think his feelings are justified?
Think about how Cassie and Little Man react to the chart in the book and how Miss Crocker reacts to it. Miss Crocker accepts things as they are, and acts grateful that they have been given books in the first place. She does not seem bothered by the injustice of black students being stuck with outdated books that were no longer used in white schools.
Why does Mary Logan glue paper into the books to cover the chart?
A maverick refers to someone who is an independent thinker and does not conform to societal expectations. Do you think Cassie and Little Man are becoming mavericks like their mother?
Which of the following is a theme emerging in the story?
The phrase, "he began running swiftly, easily, like the wind," is a simile. The video clip below will explain the concept of simile and metaphor. As you read, look for examples of similes and metaphors. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Mr. Morrison look intimidating to the Logan children?
Read the highlighted sentence. What does Mama mean when she says, "especially now?" in regards to how she is feeling glad that Mr. Morrison is there?
A Model-T is an automobile that was produced by Henry Ford's Ford Motor Company in the early 1900's. (This annotation contains an image)
Describe the character of Papa Logan. What characteristics does he have that make him a good father? Cite examples of his thoughts, words or actions to support your answer.
Roll of Thunder, Hear Me Cry is told in first-person point of view, from Cassie's perspective. As you read, pay attention to the ways in which Cassie's perspective shapes your thoughts on the characters.
Read the highlighted passage. The tone of Big Ma's words can be described as _____.
The highlighted passage is an example of how the author uses imagery to describe character, settings, and events. Think about the images that come to mind when you read this vivid description of a rain storm. Did you notice any similes or metaphors in this passage?
The phrase, "we were skidding like frightened puppies," is an example of ______.
Think about the character of Jeremy Simms. Why do you suppose he walks to school with the black children instead of taking the bus? Do you think it's fair that Stacey was rude to him?
What is Stacey's plan for revenge on the school bus and making sure the Logan children don't get sprayed with mud again?
As you read the highlighted passage, think about how Miss Crocker feels about Cassie and how Cassie feels about Miss Crocker. Do you think they like each other?
Describe how Stacey's plan for revenge on the school bus is a success. Do you think it was fair that the Logan children plotted revenge? Why or why not?
Think about a time when you did something to get revenge on someone who harmed you. How did it make you feel?
Why are the Logan children so giddy and happy during their study time?
The phrase, "They's ridin' t'night" refers to the white men who go out at night to harm black people. What do you think the Logan family can do to protect themselves?
When Joe Avery comes to warn the Logans about the night riders, the tone of the chapter changes from happy to _________.
The Logan children now have feelings of regret about causing the school bus to get stuck. They are afraid that someone saw them and will harm them. Do you think they should confess to Mama? Think about a time when you did something that you later regretted. How did you handle the situation?
Read the highlighted passage. What can you infer about Stacey?
Describe Cassie's frightening night at the end of chapter three. Do you think it was wise of her to go outside when she heard noises at night? Why or why not?
Mama and Big Ma are worried about Cassie because she has not been acting like herself. Think of some of the reasons that may be causing Cassie to act this way.
What pact do the Logan children make to each other?
The Logan children worked together to dig the hole and also to keep their secret about it. Do you notice another theme emerging in the story?
Which of the following adjectives best describe T.J.?
The Logans are suspicious that T.J. was trying to cheat on the test. Do you think that's what he was doing when they caught him looking at Mama's book?
Why is Stacey disgruntled by Mr. Morrison's presence?
Stacey took away T.J.'s cheat sheet to prevent him from cheating and getting in trouble. Think about a time when you did something to protect a friend. Did your friend get mad at you?
Stacey and T.J. are good friends, but they are both very different. Explain the ways in which they are different and cite examples from the text to support your answer.
As you read the highlighted passage about the Wallace store, pay attention to the description of the store and the surrounding land. What images come to mind of this southern town? How does it compare to a modern town?
Which of the following is a theme emerging in the story?
The phrase "code of honor" refers to a set of rules or ethical principles governing an individual, family or a community based on ideals that define honorable behavior. Think about the ideals that make up your code of honor.
What is meant by the phrase, "the distance between them fading," in regards to Stacey and Mr. Morrison?
The phrase, "The offer was backed by a threat," indicates that Big Ma was forced against her wishes to sell the trees to Mr. Anderson. This is another example of discrimination against African Americans after slavery ended.
The term "Old South" refers to the South of the United States before the American Civil War.
Big Ma told Cassie that she lost her daughters when they were babies. During that time, it was not uncommon for babies to die shortly after birth due to illnesses, lack of proper medical care and hospitalization, and complications from child birth.
As you read, you will notice that the theme of pride of land ownership emerging. Why is the land that Cassie's grandfather bought so important to Big Ma and the Logan family? Include a quotes or quotes from the chapter to support your answer.
The phrase, "inhuman gutteral wheeezing" means that Mr. Berry is suffering from a harsh, continuous, whistling sound produced in the respiratory airways during breathing. The wheezing is caused by damage to his lungs from the burnings.
Why does Mrs. Logan bring her children to see burn victim, Mr. Berry?
Vicksburg is the only city in Warren County, Mississippi. Vicksburg was a far journey for Cassie's family and the other African American families they knew, but Mrs. Logan felt it was important to shop there to avoid shopping at the Wallace store. (This annotation contains an image)
Explain why Mr. Turner is forced to shop at Wallace store and the ways in which Mrs. Logan is trying to help him so he no longer has to shop there.
What does the phrase "wheedle his way so speedily back into Stacey's good graces," mean?
The image below shows what a rural farmer's market looked like in the early 1900's. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Cassie like Mr. Jamison?
T.J. is a bad influence on Stacey because he encourages Stacey to disobey Mama and Big Ma. Think about a time when someone was a bad influence on you. What should Stacey do next time T.J. encourages him to be disobedient?
Cassie's behavior at Mr. Barnett's market can be described as _______.
Cassie's behavior at Mr. Barnett's store reveals that she is not yet aware of her place in society. She doesn't understand why she is treated poorly by white people.
In what ways was this a cruel day for Cassie? Use details from the story to support your answer.
As you read the story, think about how the characters change and develop throughout the course of the story. Pay attention to characters' feelings and interactions. The following video will show you how to track a character's development. (This annotation contains a video)
What can you infer about the reasoning behind Uncle Hammer's purchase of the same car as Mr. Granger?
Pay attention to Big Ma's reaction when Cassie tells Uncle Hammer what happened with Lillian Jean and her father. Why is she so reluctant for Cassie to tell Uncle Hammer this story?
Where is Uncle Hammer trying to go when Ma and Big Ma attempt to stop him?
What is the tone of Mama's conversation with Cassie?
Pay close attention to the information in the highlighted paragraph. It explains how the white people used Christianity to teach slaves to be obedient.
Explain what Mama means when she says, "I think you've done enough growing up for one day, Cassie."
A chignon is a type of hairstyle achieved by pinning the hair into a knot at the nape of the neck or at the back of the head. It is frequently worn for special occasions, like weddings and formal dances, but can also be worn for everyday casual wear. (This annotation contains an image)
Do you think T.J. is a good friend to Stacey? Why or why not?
Read the highlighted passage about Soldiers Bridge. The fact that black people have to give right-of-way to white people is another example of the discrimination African Americans faced during this time.
Explain what Uncle Hammer means when he said, "The opportunity, dear sister, was too much to resist," in regards to his car.
The incident where T.J. manages to get Stacey to give him his coat is an example of how T.J. is not a good friend to Stacey, although Stacey is a good friend to him.
Why does Uncle Hammer insist that T.J. keep the coat?
When Cassie says that she wants T.J. and Lillian Jean to "hit the dirt," what does she mean?
Pay attention to the ways in which the Logan family celebrates Christmas. What Christmas traditions do they have? Is their celebration similar to the way you celebrate the holidays?
What did you learn about Mr. Morrison's past in chapter seven? Include details from the text to support your answer.
Pay attention to the highlighted passage. What does it teach you about slavery?
What is meant by the phrase, "we're just about the only family with any collateral at all?"
The highlighted quote is important because it reveals Papa's pride of land ownership, which is a theme in the story. Do you believe that the family will be able to keep their land?
Jeremy Simms can be described as ________.
When Papa said to Stacey, "maybe you did give him something," he was not referring to an actual object. What kinds of gifts can you give to someone that you can't touch, but come from the heart?
Explain what Papa means when he says, "friendship between black and white don't mean that much 'cause it usually ain't on a equal basis."
The highlighted passage explains why Big Ma wanted to legally put the title to the land in Papa and Uncle Hammer's names. This is another example of the pride the Logans have for their land and how they feel a need to protect it any way they can.
Why does Mr. Jamison offer to back the credit of the black families wishing to shop in Vicksburg?
Pay close attention to the highlighted passage because it explains what will happen if the Logan family uses their land to back the credit of the black families who wish to shop in Vicksburg. Do you think Mama Logan will listen to his warning and stop encouraging black families to boycott the Wallace store?
Describe the character of Mr. Jamison and explain the ways in which he is a friend to the African American community.
Bootlegging is the illegal business of transporting/smuggling alcoholic beverages where it was forbidden by law. The bootlegging business was profitable and African American men were often hired in this line of work. Mr. Granger suggests that Uncle Hammer had enough money to buy a car because he was working as a bootlegger. The image below shows bootleggers taking crates of alcohol off of a ship. (This annotation contains an image)
The tone of Mr. Granger's words to the Logans can be described as _______.
The highlighted sentence reveals that Mr. Granger plans on getting the land from the Logan family. Like the Logan family, Mr. Granger takes pride in his land and wants to take the back the land that was once owned by his family. Think about how Mr. Granger represents the theme of pride associated with land ownership.
How are the chapters in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry structured?
The term, "Uncle Tomming" refers to a black person obeying a white person, based on the mistaken idea that Uncle Tom behaves that way in the novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe. This is a famous anti-slavery novel published in 1952.
Describe the ways in which Cassie and her father are alike.
Cassie is becoming more and more aware of the way things are, and how African Americans are mistreated. She feels a need to stand up for herself and demand respect, yet she is learning how that can get her into trouble and danger. Think about the ways she has grown up since the beginning of the novel.
How does T.J. feel about the Logans?
The highlighted sentence indicates that Cassie has plans for Lillian Jean. What do you think she is plotting?
Why does Cassie become friends with Lillian Jean and act as though she is below her?
Mr. Granger is following through with his threat to get the Logan's land. Since he caused Mama to get fired from her teaching job, money will be tight for the Logans to pay the mortgage and taxes on the land.
What is the real reason that Mrs. Logan was fired from her teaching job?
Read the highlighted passage. How does it represent the theme of family?
Explain why Mama's teaching job is so important to her. Use examples and details from the story to support your answer.
Are you surprised that T.J. betrays the Logan family by telling the Wallaces about Mama? T.J. not only betrays the Logan family, but he betrays his own African American community as well.
What can you infer about the state of Stacey and T.J.'s friendship?
In the highlighted passage, the author uses imagery to describe spring in MIssissippi. How does it compare to spring where you live?
What can you infer about the reasoning behind R.W. and Melvin Simms becoming friends T.J.?
Do you think T.J. is hanging out with the Simms boys because he doesn't understand they are using him, or do you think he just wants attention?
The tone of Mama's words in the highlighted passage can be described as _________.
What does Papa mean when he says, "I got this gut feeling it ain't over yet. It's too easy?" Do you get a sense that something bad is going to happen?
Why is the Avery family forced to stop shopping in Vicksburg and now must shop at Wallace store again?
A chain gang is a group of prisoners chained together to perform physically challenging work as a form of punishment. Such punishment might include repairing buildings, building roads, or clearing land. The video below shows prisoners working on various chain gangs set to Sam Cooke's song, "Working on a Chain Gang." (This annotation contains a video)
Read the highlighted passage where Papa tells Cassie a story. Please summarize the story and explain what message Papa is trying to tell her.
Papa suggests that Mama is bitter toward T.J. because he caused her to lose her teaching job. Do you think she has a right to be bitter?
The tone of the highlighted passage is __________.
Why do you suppose that Papa and Mr. Morrison does not explain what happened to Papa's head? Take note of the element of suspense that the author has created.
How is Cassie feeling when Stacey refuses to tell her who shot Papa?
Now that the Wallace family has caused harm and injury to the Logan family, what do you think they should do to protect themselves?
The Logans are having extreme financial difficulties since Papa is not working at his railroad job. Do you think they will be able to make ends meet to pay the mortgage and taxes? Make a prediction.
In what way is Papa acting like Uncle Hammer?
When Cassie says she is "thoughtfully digesting" the things that she heard, it is another example of how she is growing up and realizing what a cruel and unfair world it is for African Americans.
The trip to Wiggins family's farm with Mr. Morrison turns out to be_______.
Think about the highlighted phrase, "like oil on water." Is it a simile or a metaphor?
What is meant by the phrase, "August dawned blue and hot?"
Describe the friendship between Jeremy Simms and the Logan children. In what ways is Jeremy a good friend?
When a bank calls up the note, it means that the rest of the loan must be paid immediately. The Logans do not have the money, so they are in danger of losing their land.
Think about the description of the Revival. Does it remind you of any celebrations you have been to? How is it a nice distraction from the hardships the African American community must deal with on a daily basis?
Do you think Papa should tell Uncle Hammer how he broke his leg? Why or why not?
When Uncle Hammer considers staying to protect his family, the theme of family loyalty is once again revealed in the story.
Which character is portrayed with the most negative language?
In the highlighted passage, Cassie explains how T.J. turns his back to the Logans as he runs away. In what other ways has he turned his back on the African American community?
Explain the meaning of the poem at the beginning of chapter eleven. Why do you think Mildred Taylor titled the book, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry?
The Logan children do not feel sorry for T.J. Do you feel sorry for him? Why or why not?
Which of the following gives you the sense that we are reaching the climax of the novel?
The events thus far in chapter eleven give the reader a sense of __________.
The highlighted passage is an example of how Cassie's first-person point of view influences how events are described. Her fear indicates that something terrible is going to happen.
Mr. Jamison is trying to persuade the Wallaces to _________.
In the highlighted paragraph, notice that there are italics on the words "his" and "this" to indicate that Mr. Granger does not want violence to take place on his land. Do you think he wants to protect T.J. or do you think he doesn't care what happens to T.J. as long as it doesn't happen on his land?
Explain the events that take place involving T.J. and the Simms brothers at the Barnett store. Do you think T.J. is at fault? Why or why not?
Papa has his wide leather strap in hand to whip the children for sneaking off into the night. This reveals that he has not heard the news about the events at the Avery house.
How do Mr. and Mrs. Logan's plans to protect T.J. differ?
There is a menacing thunder and lightning storm taking place on the same night that horrific events are happening to the Avery family. Thus, the doom and destruction are both natural and man-made. Think about the ways in which the storm outside and the storm that have overtaken T.J. and his family are alike.
Describe the ways in which Mama and Big Ma are strong women, both physically and mentally.
Once it starts to rain, the speaker's tone goes from _____________.
Cassie is suspicious of Stacey's story regarding why Papa didn't walk the slope to get Stacey. Where do you suppose Papa was? Do you think Stacey's story is suspicious?
Which adjective best describes the character of Mr. Jamison?
The highlighted passage is significant. What can you infer about the cause of the fire?
Why does Papa start the fire?
Describe the ways in which Cassie has changed and grown up since the beginning of the story.
Now that you have reached the end of the story, pay attention to the illustration at the beginning of the book. Can you determine which characters are depicted in the illustration? Watch the trailer for the movie below. Analyze how both visual presentations contribute to the meaning of the story. (This annotation contains a video)