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The incident with the schoolbooks demonstrates the ability of the children themselves to recognize the system of symbolic as well as actual oppression. Little Man lives up to his name in that he is far more perceptive than the teacher, Miss Crocker, in reading the deeper meaning behind the columns in the front cover or his book. The equation in Cassie's book of "very poor" and "nigra" illustrates not only the county's contempt for black children's educational needs but also reminds the reader that characters like TJ and Claude, who have no shoes, or like the Logans, whose father must work away from home for months to afford taxes and a mortgage, are poor as a result of discrimination. Cassie recognizes the power of language more clearly than Miss Crocker does. Miss Crocker attempts to push her students into action by making them respond in unison to her. Cassie's refusal to respond to Miss Crocker's request that she "share, share, share" comes in part because she recognizes the futility in saying something that you don't mean. "I never did approve of group responses," she thinks. Cassie also fails to respond because she is thinking of something more meaningful: the burning of the Berrys.