In this project, students will create a journal. They will write in the voice of one of the characters from the novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, written by Mildred Taylor. Students will choose themes from the book, at least three, and write about the themes. Students will use quotes from the book to support the theme. Students will also use pictures drawn, taken with a digital camera or found on the Internet to support the theme. The journal will be presented to the class using PowerPoint.
I picked six themes to write about in my journal entries. These six themes are repeated numerous times in the book.
Family: The Logans are a close family who love, respect and help one another. They realize they would not be what they are without one another. The children are each other’s closest friend. They have strong, supporting and positive role models in their lives. It is through the family they learn about life; love, respect, independence, pride, unconditional love. They are given a strong and solid foundation in which to build a life upon.
Land: The Logan family owns their property. This is not common among black families in the south during the time frame in which the book was written. Owning their land gives the Logans an edge most black families do not have because most black families are sharecroppers. The Logans are aware the land ties them all together, past, present and future. The constant reminder the land will not be sold or taken from them only enforces the bond the family has to the land.
Injustice: The Logan family lives during a time of extreme injustice. The Logan children are becoming aware of the injustice they face as black children. Stacey is already aware of the injustice around him and why this is happening to him. The other children realize blacks are treated differently than whites, but not exactly sure why. By the end of the book, Cassie not only knows why, but is beginning to understand why she is treated differently.
Self-Respect: All the Logans demonstrate self-respect. There are times in the book Cassie wonders why family members do not stand up for justice, but in the end she realizes they do what they have to do to prevent unthinkable consequences. Cassie demonstrates her self-respect in Strawberry when she is outraged at how she is treated and the names she is called while in the store.
Racism: Racism is continuous in the novel. There are very few white people in the book that do not make racial remarks towards blacks or whites believed to be helping blacks. The book is set in the deep south in 1933. Black people lived through what Cassie Logan experiences. She is not aware of the degree of racism until the end of the book.
Coming of Age: The book begins with Cassie Logan realizing differences in the treatment of whites and blacks. As the novel progresses, she begins to realize just how much unfairness and injustice surrounds her. By the end of the book, she understands why she is treated differently than someone such as Lillian Jean. The novel is a coming of age for Cassie as she begins to understand the importance of family. Cassie also understands why her family does whatever it takes to keep their land.
I was inspired to create a journal as my midterm project from “The Little Rock 9.” I am intrigued by what the nine students endured to receive the same education as white students. I had originally planned to create an interactive diary. I still planned to write in the voice of Cassie Logan, only make her 33 years old. I wanted Cassie to be 33 because that would be the year 1957, the year Little Rock, Arkansas found themselves in a racial and educational crisis. The interactive diary became too centered on the actual events of 1957. I still found ways to tie the book in, but the nine students from 1957 continued to be the focus over Cassie and the Logan family.
I did not want to give up on the idea of a diary. I decided I would still create a diary in the voice of Cassie Logan. I wanted the journal to tie in with the book so I used quotes from the book. I found this to be easy, but challenging at the same time. There are so many great quotes out of the book, but to choose the most powerful ones to support the theme I was writing about became a challenge.
There are so many themes in the book. I wrote about the ones I feel repeat often and create a change in Cassie. By the end of the book Cassie is not the same girl we meet in the beginning. I felt the themes I wrote about are some of the themes bringing about the change.
(Ferris State University)
(Rosa Park Photo)
(Integration in the South)
Taylor, Mildred, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, 1997, Puffin Books.