This conveys the strength and unity of the Logan family. The death of the trees indicates the loss which is un-bearable for the family. Taylor emphasises that Cassie loves the land and the feel of it. ‘ I was eager to be in fields again, to feel the furrowed rows of damp, soft earth beneath my feet; eager to walk barefooted through the cold forest, hug the trees, and sit under their protective shadow. ‘ Mildred Taylor uses tactile imagery to convey Cassie’s relation towards the ‘fields and earth’ belonging to her family. Cassie enjoys the tranquil environment surrounding her.
The ‘protective shadow’ is a metaphor for the word shelter. It provides Cassie with comfort and harmony. Papa symbolises the ‘fig tree’ with the Logan achievement and success in surviving under the difficult conditions. ‘You see that fig tree over yonder Cassie? Them other trees all around… that oak and walnut, they’re a lot bigger and they take of more room and give so much shade they almost overshadow that little ole fig. But that fig tree’s got roots that run deep, and it belongs in that yard as much as that oak and walnut… Just keeps on growing and doing what it gotta do. It don’t give up.
It give up, it’ll die. There’s a lesson to be learned from that little tree, Cassie girl, ’cause we’re like it. We keep doing what we gotta, and we don’t give up. We can’t. ‘ The ‘fig tree’ is a metaphor for the Logan family. The ‘fig’ is a long living and stable ‘tree’ , very much like the Logans themselves. Their ‘roots’ are ‘deep’ and it emphasizes their unity and autonomy in the ‘yard’ -society. The ‘oak’ is a metaphor for white people and the ‘fig tree’ for black. Although the ‘oak’ may overshadow the ‘fig’, it can’t distinguish it’s attempts to survive. The ‘fig’s ‘ ‘root’ system is viable alike the Logans.
The Logans differ from the other black families, who had to work as the share croppers on the plantations for a morsel of food. Their industrious work was paid with a piece of land , where they could grow a crop of their own. Unfortunately they could not keep the crop-it was a payment for the land. Sometimes the landlords would overcharge the farmers: ‘They (Wallaces) overcharges me and I has to pay them high interest’ . This would lead them to deficit and starvation ‘… we can’t pay our debts’. Debts, malnutrition and misery were prevalent among the share croppers.
The white people deprived the share croppers from basic supplements. The black share croppers were economically dependent on the white plantation owners and there would ‘be no place for them to go’. The attitude towards the share croppers was atrocious. They would be evicted, ‘get kicked off that plot of land’ and ‘ a black man’s life’ wasn’t ‘worth the life of a cowly’ at that time. The Logans in contrast live in harmony on their own land. Unlike the share croppers they crop for profit and prosperity. Harlan Granger is the racist bigot in the story.
His perception and racial intolerance towards the black people is seen as a threat to them. As any white person at that time he was categorized as a superior over the black people. It was his whim when ‘the bank called up the note’. He was influential since he had control over the school board and the ‘bank’. Harlan Granger confronts and despises the black people, he wants them ‘in their places’. Although the Logans have legal rights of the land, Harlan Granger ‘still wants this place’ and tries to get it at any opportunity. David Logan (Papa) has to work as a rail worker because the family have to pay the mortgage.
Papa understands the significance of the land as the only source of freedom for the black people. Gradually the repay of mortgage will unrestrain him and allow to remain with his family. Uncle Hammer’s decision to sell his car (which has a symbol of equality for him because it was the same type as Mr. Granger’s) saves the family from a big debt. ‘What good’s a car? It can’t grow cotton. You can’t build home on it. And you can’t raise four fine babies in it. ‘ By asking a rhetorical question: ‘What good’s a car? ‘, he gives a firm answer : ‘It can’t grow cotton. You can’t build home on it. And you can’t raise four fine babies in it.
‘ This implies the ultimate sacrifice Uncle Hammer is compelled to make in order to reserve the land. Uncle Hammer’s recognition indicates his love towards his relatives. The land conveys the Logan’s history and memories they all share. The loss of it would make them mourn as they love every part of it. Papa’s determination of keeping the land and defending his family is beyond the boundaries. He sets the fire on his land to defy the actions of T. J and save his family from a brutal attack. This manoeuvre unites the whole community. Suddenly a ‘flood’ of people rushes there to save the crop and ‘each oblivious of the other’.
The fire ascending on the land is an emergency for all the people; from the white racists to the black farmers. The conflict between Papa and Mr Granger was put aside as both of them ‘got them men diggin’ a deep trench’. The ‘ranks’ of the fire fighters also differed. They ‘swelled from the two dozen townsmen to include nearby farmers’ ‘folks thinking that lightning struck that fence of yours and started the fire’ In this quotation Mildred Taylor shows that all the ‘folks’ ‘knew and understood the meaning of’ fire. However this was the device when ‘known and unknown things, never to be spoken’.
At the end of the novel Cassies impetuosity is replaced with the bitter tears. She understands the significance of the land in her life. ‘I cried for T. J. For T. J. and the land. ‘ Cassie’s perception of the land changed and the recognition towards it shows her spiritual maturity. She understood that the land is a treasure for her family and it provides comfort for all of them. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Mildred Taylor section.