Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


Mildred Taylor

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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Themes

Themes and Colors
Racism Theme Icon
Land as Independence Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Injustice and Dignity Theme Icon
Storytelling and Language Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.


From the blatant racism throughout the novel, it’s clear that the Logans are confronting the challenges of living in a society dominated by whites. At school, for example, the black children only have books that have been deemed unfit for use by white children. At home, the family is constantly defending their land from the former white owners’ attempts to take it back form them.

Although the Logans are victims of racial injustice, they also…

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Land as Independence

In a culture where the memory of slavery is still strong, land is a symbol of independence and autonomy. Big Mama, Mama, and Papa repeat the same refrain throughout the book: "We won't lose the land." The land represents the Logans’ independence from the power structure around them, since by working their own plot of land the Logans are free, in both the sense that they have no master, can earn based on…

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Family and Community

The black community forms a group that allows black individuals to prop each other up in order to face the racism and injustice of the South. They form this community through storytelling and going to Church, and by organizing in specific instances to stand up for the community—like in the instance of Papa’s boycott, for example.

For Cassie, there is nothing more important than family. For example, Cassie is shocked when Jeremy says that…

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Injustice and Dignity

Because they live in a wildly unjust society that’s biased against black people, the Logans must create their own forms of justice while maintaining their self-respect, dignity, and protecting their own safety. This can be an extremely difficult balancing act, even when the slights are smaller ones, like being ignored in the grocery store—which causes Cassie to yell at the store manager and get her family kicked out—or larger injustices, like being tossed around and…

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Storytelling and Language

In the author’s note to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred Taylor writes that her father was a master storyteller. She says that from his storytelling, she “learned to respect the past, to respect my own heritage and myself.” Storytelling plays a similar role for Cassie in the book. During Christmas, for example, several of the adults in the black community tell stories about their families. The stories are a way for Cassie to…

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