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Basically a lynch mob closes in to get TJ and his family. It is believed that TJ was responsible for robbing the store. Papa and LT take guns and investigate. The cotton fields catch on fire and the community, black and white, work to put it out. This gives enough time for tempers to cool down. It turns out that Papa started the fire for this very reason, to diffuse the mounting tension. This climax brings all the conflicts in the book to a climax. The racial tensions have been simmering and some release was needed. Papa was able to bring black and white together long enough for people to be distracted from impending violence. Cassie, our narrator, was not privy to all the action. She was asleep. This brings a greater amount of excitement and unpredictability to the climax.