Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What is the effect created by the author telling this story from the perspective of a child? Does it make the racial incidents seem more or less sinister?

  2. 2

    Analyze the non-corrupt white characters like Jeremy Simms. Can you identify any others? What seems to motivate them? Are they better or worse off than the black characters?

  3. 3

    Analyze the effect of the three different time periods that have to do with this novel on the text. Discuss how slavery times (before the book was set), Jim Crow laws (during when the book was set), and the Black Power movement (after the book was set, when Mildred Taylor was writing it) have influenced the text. Where do you find examples of each?

  4. 4

    Discuss the role of nature in this novel. Does it work in opposition to human interests?

  5. 5

    Analyze Big Mama as the voice of history. What sorts of stories does she tell, and what type of effect does she hope that these stories will have on her grandchildren's lives?

  6. 6

    Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry is as much a coming of age story for Stacey as it is for Cassie. What realities must Stacey face in this novel and what positive or negative qualities does he begin to demonstrate?

  7. 7

    Describe the way that Christmas is portrayed in this novel. Does it introduce new themes relating to family life or enlarge on old ones?

  8. 8

    Analyze the character of TJ. Does the author intend him to represent a typical black young man? What is his tragic flaw?

  9. 9

    Compare the friendship that Stacey has with TJ to the friendship that he has with Jeremy Simms. To whom does he show more loyalty? Why?

  10. 10

    When Papa sets fire to his own cotton at the end of the novel, is he acting in a defeated or a self-controlled manner? Is this a moment of triumph or of despair? Of optimism or pessimism?