Let the Circle be Unbroken

Let the Circle be Unbroken Literary Elements


Young Adult Fiction

Setting and Context

Mississippi, 1934

Narrator and Point of View

First-person (Cassie Logan)

Tone and Mood

Emotional, youthful, confused, and passionate.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Protagonist: Cassie, Stacey. Antagonist: Racist whites like Mr. Granger and Stuart Walker.

Major Conflict

To some extent the novel is rather episodic, so there are a few main conflicts:
-Will T.J. Avery be convicted and sentenced to death?
-Will Suzella embrace her blackness?
-Will Stacey return safely?
-Will Mrs. Lee Annie be allowed to register to vote?


There are also several climaxes related to the respective conflicts listed above.
-T.J. is convicted and sentenced to death.
-Stacey is found.
-Mrs. Lee Annie is humiliated and not allowed to register.


-The first time Cassie meets Jake Willis she thinks to herself that she does not like the look of that man (136). This is prescient because he will later make a lot of trouble for the family and Russell.
-When Stacey kisses Big Ma and Mama goodnight and gives Cassie his knife, it is clear he is saying goodbye for a long time.


-"There's some mean white folks everywhere" (Papa, 7).


-Cassie makes allusions to Daniel in the lion's den and Jonah in the whale to tell herself T.J. might escape danger as well (36).
-There are many allusions to real New Deal programs, such as the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
-Dube says he was not "Tomming" (214) meaning that he is no Uncle Tom, cowing to white people.


See "Imagery" entry of this guide.





Metonymy and Synecdoche



-"Maybe it was a way of life to change, but if I had my way I would put an iron padlock on time so nothing would ever have to change again" (Cassie, 11).