“Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry”, by Mildred. D. Taylor is set in Mississippi at a time when hardships of slavery, injustice and prejudice were commonplace. The novel tells the shocking story of inequalities and discrimination endured by the Logan family. Cassie Logan, who is the narrator throughout the novel, is brought up experiencing a hard life. Cassie comes from an educated, hard-working family who own the land they live and farm on. Initially, Cassie doesn’t understand why her parents have to work so hard to keep their own land, but experience teaches her the value of such principles.
I find Cassie Logan to be an extremely admirable character and that is why I have chosen to focus on her in some detail. The first characteristic of Cassie that I am going to highlight is her forthright nature. At 9 years old, Cassie is already a forceful character and she has extremely strong opinions and often expresses them without considering the consequences. An example of this was in Strawberry, when Cassie spoke her mind about Mr Barnett, the owner of the wholesale store in town.
Both, Cassie and Stacey, went to the Barnett Mercantile for groceries, but white people were given precedence in the queues, and finally when a white girl Cassie’s age is served before them, Cassie became so infuriated at the Mercantile assistant that she decided to remind Mr Barnett of her presence. Barnett bellowed, “Whose little nigger is this! ” Foolishly, Cassie stood up to Mr Barnett, replying, “I aint nobody’s little nigger! ” By doing this Cassie thought that Mr Barnett would serve her but in reality it made him more infuriated and he demanded that she leave the store.
At this point in the novel, Cassie is young and nai?? ve and she still does not understand the cast system. Personally, I understand how Cassie is feeling. Being a young child, she has not yet learned to accept her status in life, and so protested vociferously at what she saw as grave injustice. Normally, it would be difficult for such a young child to stand up for herself in that situation. However, Cassie copes admirably, until she is hauled away by her brother, who is aware of the consequences of her actions.
Cassie’s childish naivety frequently leads to outbursts of quick temper, which indicate her brave approach to the racial discrimination in her society. Fortunately, for Cassie’s self-preservation this naivety rapidly changes to cunning duplicity. This is highlighted with the incident that occurs just after her argument with Mr Barnett, when she finds herself accidentally bumping into Lillian-Jean Simms, the daughter of a white man. Being the mannerable child she is, Cassie apologises but she is hurt and angered when she is made to walk along the dirty road as if she is somehow less worthy than the white girl is.
After this incident her boyish sensibilities, as well as her sharp intelligence, come to the fore. Unlike a typical girl who would fight back and forth with her tongue, Cassie cleverly plans an attack of revenge. She fools Lillian-Jean into a false sense of security by pretending to be her best friend, carrying her books and finding out her darkest secrets. Lillian-Jean feels that in this situation she has the upper hand. Then Cassie gets her in the bushes and gives Cassie a good beating, cunningly enticing Lillian-Jean to hit her first.