In Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, a lot of things happen in a very short amount of time. In the book we follow Cassie Logan through one of the most violent, turbulent times of her life. The book only covers the space of a year or so, and in that time, there is a lot of plot development, drama, and character development.
Here is a sample of what a quiz for the novel might look like;
1. Why did Little Man dislike the books given at school?
- a. He wanted to read comic books.
- b. He disliked school and wanted to go home to his grandmother.
- c. He knew they had been given to the students because they were old and dirty.
2. Why doesn’t Harlan Granger like the Logan family?
- a. Because they’re black.
- b. They have a car and he does not.
- c. Cassie’s grandfather had purchased land from his family.
3. What was the plan against the school bus?
- a. To have it run over nails so the tires would burst.
- b. To cut the brake lines and cause a devastating accident.
- c. To have it run into a ditch from the rain.
4. Why was Jeremy Simms a little different?
- a. He respected black kids and wanted to befriend them.
- b. He didn’t go to church and didn’t believe in God.
- c. He liked to sleep in the trees instead of inside with his family, thinking them cruel and heartless.
5. What did Mama do to the school books?
- a. Covered the pages that stated the condition of the book and the race of the student.
- b. Had them burned so they couldn’t upset anyone.
- c. Locked them up so no one could teach from them as they were simply too old to be of any use.
6. What did Uncle Hammer give Stacey for Christmas?
- a. A new bicycle so he didn’t have to walk to school anymore.
- b. Some tools so he could do some work on the family farm.
- c. A new wool coat.
7. Why did Cassie have a terrible day in town?
- a. Big Ma didn’t make enough money.
- b. She lost her hair ribbons.
- c. She bumped into Lillian Jean who made her apologize.
8. When Papa returned home, what did he bring with him?
- a. More food because they had been running especially low.
- b. A car like Uncle Hammer’s.
- c. A man to help stay and protect the family while he worked.
9. What did T.J admire in the mercantile?
- a. A new suit and a fancy pair of boots so he could dress up.
- b. A fishing pole.
- c. A pearl handled gun.
10. Why did T.J burst into the Logan house hold one night?
- a. He’d been framed for murder.
- b. He was running away from home.
- c. He really missed Stacey and wanted to talk to him.
1. c. Little Man was notorious for hating things that were old and dirty, and the books had been given to the black kid’s school simply because the white students didn’t want them anymore. Little Man realized this and was especially hurt. This came as a shock to his teacher, because she hadn’t known he was even able to read.
2. c. Back in 1887, Cassie’s grandfather had purchased two hundred acres, and then in 1918, he purchased two hundred more. This was all bought when the Granger family was hurting for money, so it was too hard to say no. Harlan was particularly upset because the Logan’s refused to sell it back to him, and he saw it as his birth right.
3. c. The Logan kids decided they were tired of the bus purposely splashing them from the huge puddles the Southern rain caused and leaving them soaking and covered in mud. They gathered up shovels and dug a huge ditch. It filled with rain, and when the bus driver went to drive through it, the bus got caught and axles broke. This meant the white kids had to walk to school just like the black students.
4. a. Jeremy Simms was especially unusual in the sense that he seemed to believe that the rampant discrimination was wrong, even though he was white and therefore didn’t have to face it. He tendered to commiserate with the Logan kids, even walking with them part of the way to school. His attempts to befriend them were met with a cold shoulder, as the Logan kids understood that when they grew up, Jeremy would understand that he was supposed to be better than them.
5. a. Mama, a school teacher herself, took some glue and blank paper and pasted over the covers of the book where it listed the information of the condition of the book and the race of the student. She was defacing school property, but at the time believed she couldn’t get in trouble for it. T.J later told on her, because she had failed him on a test. This resulted in Mama losing her job.
6. c. Uncle Hammer, their uncle from Detroit, saw that Stacey had long outgrown his coat, and there wasn’t money for a new one to be bought. He gifted the boy with an expensive wool coat, a little too large so Stacey could grow into it. T.J managed to make Stacey feel stupid and give it to him to “hold onto it”. When T.J’s dad made him return the garment, Uncle Hammer said if Stacey was dumb enough to give it up, he didn’t deserve to have it.
7. c. She bumped into Lillian Jean on the sidewalk. Naturally, when Lillian Jean demanded an apology, Cassie refused. It wasn’t until her father grabbed her arm and twisted it, and Big Ma insisted that she apologized, even though she wasn’t really in the wrong. Cassie later got her revenge by pretending to be Lillian Jean’s friend and then beating her up when no one was around.
8. c. Papa brought back L.T. Morrison, a huge man who could help protect the family from the burnings that were going on. The Logan’s felt especially threatened as they had been backing credit for people to shot in places other than their hometown. The shop keeper, a white man, didn’t like this, and they knew that trouble was coming. Papa couldn’t stay home himself because he had to continue working on the rail road after Mama lost her job.
9. c. A pearl handled gun. He said that he would give his life to own such a thing, and kept bragging that he would own it one way or the other.
10. a. Two white brothers, Melvin and R.W., tell TJ they will get him that gun. One night, they break into the mercantile and begin to steal anything they can get their hands on. TJ freaks out, and when the owner comes down, the brothers murder him and pin the whole thing on TJ. The Logan’s are unable to save him and he gets arrested that night, although he could have been lynched.