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ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY PLOT SUMMARY


CHAPTER 10


Summary

David and Mary are discussing their finances and other family business. The money is nearly gone, but they have enough for the taxes and will sell some cows in order to make the July and August bank notes. After that, the cotton will be in. Mary wonders if Mr. Morrison-who is out looking for work-should leave. She doesn’t want him to, but fears for him due to the way he beat the Wallaces.

Mr. Morrison enters to tell David that he is going to help Mr. Wiggins plant some late corn. The children decide to ride along so they can play with little Willie. On the way there, the Wallaces appear coming from the opposite direction. They block the road with their truck, and Kaleb Wallace gets out and makes threats to Mr. Morrison. When Wallace refuses to move his truck, Mr. Morrison moves it himself, lifting first the front and then the back and simply walking the truck to the side of the road. Kaleb Wallace is too stunned to respond. They are far down the road when they hear him shouting additional threats.

David’s recuperation stretches into the month of August. One day Jeremy Simms visits Cassie and Stacey. He has news about T.J. and the Simms brothers. Objects such as watches and lockets have been missed. Mr. Lanier blames T.J. for the thefts, calling him a “thief running around with white boys.” The children are trying to escape the heat under the shelter of the trees when Jeremy tells them that he has a tree house and that he even sleeps in it. He invites Stacey to come and see it, but Stacey refuses.


In the evening Mr. Morrison returns from Strawberry where he had gone to make the August mortgage payment. He has bad news from the bank-the loan has been called and is to be paid immediately. David prepares to go back to town to try to argue about it, but Mary convinces him to wait until morning as the bank will be closed by the time they get there. The next morning he goes into town, but soon returns to tell them that he has called Hammer who has promised to get the money.

On the third Sunday of August, the Great Faith Church starts their annual revival services. While all are feasting and chatting after church, Stacey spots a man coming up the road. It is Hammer, and he has sold his new car to get the money for the land. He brought the money in person because he didn’t dare trust the mail or wire service. He only stays one night because of the family’s fear of the enemies he may bring upon them with his presence.

On the last night of the revival meetings, T.J. and the Simms boys show up. T.J. is loud and obnoxious, makes rude comments and tries to put a hand on Cassie. When his former companions turn away from him, he taunts them by introducing them to R.W. and Melvin. He brags about a suit coat they gave him and says that they will give him anything he wants because he is their best friend. He goes so far as to volunteer that they will even get him the pearl handled pistol that he wants. R.W. agrees, then Melvin tells him that since they came with him to the revival meeting, he has to go with them to Strawberry like “he promised.” T.J. doesn’t follow the Simms boys immediately. The last glimpse Cassie has of him before entering the church is the image of a desolately lonely person.


Notes

Mr. Morrison’s complete self control in moving the truck is more of a weapon than his fists. When Mary expresses fear of retaliation, Mr. Morrison explains that Kaleb Wallace is the type of person who can only carry out his threats when he has a group of his own kind to support him. By himself he is a blustering coward.

Hammer does not at first tell them that he has sold the car, but when he is finally pinned down about it, he is nonchalant. You can’t grow cotton in a car, is his explanation. He cannot stay because his success is a threat to the white people of the area. They don’t want the tenant farmers to start thinking that they could have things better for themselves.

T.J.’s manner is typical of someone who wants to believe a lie. He doesn’t appear to notice when Melvin smirks at him behind his back, but his loud rude behavior suggests that he is trying to prove something to the Logans and his other school friends. The Simms had not actually promised to get him the pistol, but once T.J. thinks of it, it gives the Simms boys ideas. They apparently already had some deviltry planned in Strawberry and only used the visit to the Black revival meeting to get a return favor from T.J..


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