Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

What is Cassie's reaction to Strawberry, and why?

language arts

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Cassie is disappointed to see how small the town is. At first, she doesn't understand why Big Ma parks the wagon so far away from the entrance to the market, but Big Ma assures her that her regular customers will look for her and then tells her that the wagons near the entrance belong to white people.

TJ suggests they go ahead to Barnett's Mercantile and buy the goods his mother wants, in order to save time. At the store, TJ shows Stacey and Cassie a pearl-handled revolver in a display case, which he says he wants badly. He gives his mother's list to Mr. Barnett, but Mr. Barnett stops waiting on him to take the orders of several white customers in a row, including a young white girl. It has been almost an hour, and even though Stacey and TJ try to stop her, Cassie marches over to Mr. Barnett to remind him that he has forgotten about them. He responds angrily, telling her to get her "little black self" back to waiting and calling her a "little nigger." Cassie protests, until Stacey begins to drag her out of the store, and Mr. Barnett tells him to "make sure she don't come back till yo' mammy teach her what she is."

Outside, Stacey tells Cassie that even though she knows that Mr. Barnett is wrong, Mr. Barnett doesn't. Cassie walks down the sidewalk, thinking about Mr. Barnett's words to her, and bumps into Lillian Jean Simms, who is with Jeremy and their two younger brothers. Lillian Jean demands an apology, which Cassie reluctantly gives, and then tells her that she should walk in the street. Cassie is trying to keep from being pushed off the sidewalk by Lillian Jean when Mr. Simmons appears and twists Cassie's arm behind her back.

Mr. Simmons demands that Cassie apologize to his daughter, although Jeremy insists she already did. Cassie tries to run away and is met by Big Mama. Mr. Simms demands that Cassie say "I'm sorry, Miz Lillian Jean," and Big Mama reluctantly makes her comply. Cassie says it and runs crying into the wagon, thinking this is the cruelest day that she has ever endured.