Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

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Uncle Hammer Character Analysis

Papa’s brother, Hammer Logan, works in Chicago and earns a very decent living with his job. He’s able to afford a luxury car and dresses well. He has a short temper and reacts angrily to the injustices he sees when he visits his family in Mississippi, though his recklessness almost puts the family in danger.

Uncle Hammer Quotes in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

The Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry quotes below are all either spoken by Uncle Hammer or refer to Uncle Hammer. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Puffin Books edition of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry published in 1991.
Chapter 7 Quotes

“Then if you want something and it’s a good thing and you got it in the right way, you better hang on to it and don’t let nobody talk you out of it. You care what a lot of useless people say ‘bout you you’ll never get anywhere, ‘cause there’s a lotta folks don’t want you to make it. You understand what I’m telling you?”

Related Characters: Uncle Hammer (speaker)
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:

As Uncle Hammer lectures Stacey about Stacey's mistake of letting T.J. coerce him into handing over his fine coat, Hammer uses the case of the two schoolchildren to impart a larger lesson. T.J. may be a child, but he is like many adults in their community who are self-centered and constantly taking from the other families and individuals around them. Hammer reminds all of the children present that they should maintain good morals, only acquiring property in honest ways because of hard work, and not allow others with looser morals to take away the benefits of their success. Hammer alludes to the unfortunate reality that many individuals do not wish others to succeed; indeed, this impulse is one of the biggest reasons for the racial inequality that affects the entire novel. 

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Chapter 10 Quotes

Uncle Hammer put his arm around Papa. “What good’s a car? It can’t grow cotton. You can’t build a home on it. And you can’t raise four fine babies in it.”

Related Characters: Uncle Hammer (speaker), Papa
Related Symbols: Modes of Transportation
Page Number: 236
Explanation and Analysis:

After Uncle Hammer sells his car to support the entire Logan family and help pay the mortgage on the land, he does not seem to begrudge his family for this loss of freedom. He puts his arm around his brother, in a show of familial love, and acknowledges that cars don't give financial stability ("it can't grow cotton"), don't add to a stable home ("you can't build a home on it"), and, lastly and most importantly, don't provide you with familial relationships ("you can't raise four fine babies in it"). Independence is not everything; people, and family, are. With this simple sentence, Uncle Hammer reinforces this novel's view about what is significant in life: maintaining financial well-being, being independent, and loving one's family members.

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Uncle Hammer Character Timeline in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

The timeline below shows where the character Uncle Hammer appears in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Land as Independence Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...six children with Cassie’s grandfather, but only two are still alive: Cassie’s dad and her Uncle Hammer . Big Ma says that she’ll never sell the land to Harlan Granger, no matter... (full context)
Chapter 6
Family and Community Theme Icon
Injustice and Dignity Theme Icon
...and they run into the house to see what’s going on. Inside, they see their Uncle Hammer , and he says that the car is actually his—he purchased a newer model of... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Injustice and Dignity Theme Icon
Uncle Hammer asks Cassie about her first trip to Strawberry, but Big Ma tries to interrupt and... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Injustice and Dignity Theme Icon
Cassie says she hopes that Uncle Hammer will knock some sense into Mr. Simms, but Mama sends her off to bed early.... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Injustice and Dignity Theme Icon
...mean Cassie really respects her. Cassie worries what will happen if Mr. Morrison can’t stop Uncle Hammer from going after Mr. Simms, but Mama just tells her that she’s done enough growing... (full context)
Family and Community Theme Icon
Injustice and Dignity Theme Icon
The next morning, Mr. Morrison and Uncle Hammer are at the table eating breakfast and look like they haven’t slept all night. Mama... (full context)
Family and Community Theme Icon
Storytelling and Language Theme Icon
Before the family heads out for church, Uncle Hammer notices the sad state of Stacey’s coat, and he decides to give Stacey his Christmas... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Injustice and Dignity Theme Icon
After church, Uncle Hammer takes the family for a long ride in his car, driving to Strawberry and back.... (full context)
Chapter 7
Family and Community Theme Icon
Injustice and Dignity Theme Icon
...fun of him. Mama is furious and tells Stacey to get the coat back, but Uncle Hammer stops her. He says that if Stacey isn’t smart enough to keep a good coat,... (full context)
Racism Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Injustice and Dignity Theme Icon
Storytelling and Language Theme Icon
...stories of their past. Some of these are funny, like the story about Papa and Uncle Hammer stealing watermelons from a neighbor, but Mr. Morrison tells a tragic one. He talks about... (full context)
Land as Independence Theme Icon
Injustice and Dignity Theme Icon
...back their credit with their land—it would surely result in the Logans losing the land. Uncle Hammer wants to burn the Wallaces out, but Mama dismisses him. Papa then notices Cassie standing... (full context)
Storytelling and Language Theme Icon
...were written by a black man, Alexander Dumas. The children also receive new clothes from Uncle Hammer , licorice, oranges, and bananas. They treasure the books above all else, however, and Little... (full context)
Land as Independence Theme Icon
...overhears Mr. Jamison say that once the papers are signed, the land will belong to Uncle Hammer and Papa instead of Big Ma, and anything that happens to the land now will... (full context)
Chapter 8
Racism Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Injustice and Dignity Theme Icon
One day after Uncle Hammer goes back North, Papa has a talk with Cassie in the forest. He explains that... (full context)
Chapter 10
Land as Independence Theme Icon
Injustice and Dignity Theme Icon
...finds out that their credit is no longer good there, so he has to call Uncle Hammer to see if he can get the money. Hammer says he’ll find a way to... (full context)
Land as Independence Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
...end of August, the annual revival brings the black community together for feasting and celebration. Uncle Hammer shows up on the first day, and Papa goes to greet him. It turns out... (full context)