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Free Study Guide for Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry-BookNotes

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STUDY QUESTIONS Comprehension and Discussion

(secondary questions are discussion)

1. What white child meets the Logans on the way to school every day? (Jeremy Simms)
1a. How does Jeremy pay a price for his persistence?
1b. Why does Stacey try to discourage Jeremy from walking with them?

2. Whom does Papa bring home with him from the railroad? (Mr. Morrison)

3. How did Mr. Morrison lose his railroad job? (Fighting)
3a. Mr. Morrison says that he was not the one responsible for starting the fight, but that he was the only one fired as the other men were white. Discuss actions and characteristics of Mr. Morrison that indicate that he is telling the truth.

4. What is wrong with the school books? (They have labels indicating that they are white discards)

5. What does Mama do to help the children feel better about using the books? (Covers the labels with brown paper)
5a. In addition to the books, describe other indications that education of the blacks is not given much importance in this community.

6. How is it that the children are in the path of a school bus every day, but have no ride to school themselves? (The blacks and whites go to different schools, but follow the same route to a crossroads where the busload of white students turns off. There is no bus for black students)

7. Why does Papa work out of town? (His cotton doesn’t bring enough money to pay the taxes)

8. What information does T.J. Avery have that the Logans haven’t heard yet? (Burning the Berrys.)

9. Why do the black children have a shorter school year than the whites? (Their school year corresponds to the work in the fields where their help is needed.)

10. How long do some of the children spend on the road in order to get to school? (Three and a half hours)

11. How many grades share a single room in the school? (4)

12. What is Cassie’s reaction to Miss Crocker’s class introduction? (Bored)
12a. Discuss the impression that Miss Crocker makes on Cassie and the other children.

13. What is Stacey’s original reaction to Mr. Morrison? ( He doesn’t like him)
13a. How does Mr. Morrison develop a relationship with Stacey?


14. Where do the tenant farmers usually do their shopping? (The Wallace Store)
14a. Explain why Papa has ordered the children not to go to that store.

15. What happens that leads the children to disobey the order about the Wallace Store? (T.J. is caught cheating and Stacey gets the blame. He follows T.J. to the store to beat him up and the other children tag along)
15a. Speculate on possible reasons why Mr. Morrison promises not to tell Mama that the children went to the store. Why do you think Stacey voluntarily tells her even though he will be punished?

16 Who comes to visit at Christmas time? (Uncle Hammer)
16a. Discuss the things that make Hammer’s new car more than just a car.

17. What has happened just prior to Hammer’s visit? (The incident in Strawberry)
17a. Why do Mama and Mr. Morrison try to stop Hammer from going into town? What is wrong with Hammer’s way of solving problems?

18. What should have been done in order to prevent Cassie from getting in trouble in Strawberry? (Discussion)

19. If you had been in Cassie’s shoes, what do you think you would have said/done regarding Lillian Jean? (Discussion)

20. Do you feel that Big Ma was right or wrong in making Cassie apologize? (Discussion)

21. How does Mama deal with the children’s disobedience? (Takes them to visit the Berrys)
21a. Why is this more effective than whipping them?

22. Characterize the relationship Big Ma had with her husband Paul Edward. (Discussion)

23. What technique does the author use to reveal information from the past? (Storytelling)
23a. Explain why Papa insists that the children be permitted to hear Mr. Morrison’s story. What does the story tell them about themselves and their own family’s situation?

24. Discuss the elements that contribute to the hesitancy of the other sharecroppers to shop in Vicksburg. (Discussion)

25. Who makes it possible for the farmers to do their shopping in Vicksburg? (Mr. Jamison)
25a. Explain how the credit system works at the Wallace store. How is this system fair or unfair to the sharecroppers?

26. Explain why Mr. Avery backs out of the Vicksburg arrangement. (Discussion)

27. Explain how white people used Christianity during slavery. (Discussion)

28. Why had Papa Luke’s owners not tried to break him? ( He had medicinal knowledge they needed)

29. Explain how white people justified slavery. (Discussion)

30. How did northerners who fought against slavery feel about black people? (They still thought they were not quite as good as whites.)

31. According to Mama, what element of our lives do we have a choice over? (What we make of it once we are here.)

32. Explain Uncle Hammer’s reaction once he discovers that Stacey has given away the coat. (Discussion)
32a. Do you think Hammer was too hard on Stacey? Why or why not?

33. What does Hammer do on the way home from church that makes Mama fearful? (Deliberately tricks the Wallaces into letting him cross the bridge first)

34. What treasure did each of the children receive for Christmas? (Books)

35. Why do you think Stacey is hesitant about letting Jeremy into the house on Christmas day? (Discussion)

36. Do you agree or disagree with Papa’s opinion about friendship between blacks and whites? Do you think things are different today? On what do you base your opinion?

37. How does T.J. try to trick Stacey a second time? (Tells him he wouldn’t have anything to do with a flute made by a white kid)

38. What does Big Ma do about her land to prevent the Grangers from getting it. (Has it put into David’s and Hammer’s names so it can’t be sold without both of their signatures)

39. What do the laborers get paid in the Granger fields? (50 cents a day)

40. How long has the Logan family owned the land? (50 years)

41. How do you feel about the way Cassie handled Lillian Jean? Would you have done anything different to “stand up” to her?

42. What does Papa compare their family to when he talks about hanging onto the land? (The little fig tree)

43. What does T.J. do that causes conflict between him and Mary Logan? (Cheats on the semester exam)

44. Why does T.J. blame his school failure on his teacher? What personality characteristic had he NOT developed? (Discussion)

45. What lesson was Mama teaching when the school board members visited her class? (Slavery)
45a. Do you think she should have done some quick thinking and changed her lesson while the white men were there? Why or why not?

46. What is wrong with T.J.’s definition of friendship? (Discussion)

47. Who is the first to point out that R.W. and Melvin are not “real” friends to T.J.? (Their younger brother Jeremy)

48. Which of the landowners will not raise the price taken from the sharecroppers? (Mr. Harrison)

49. Where does Mr. Granger threaten to send the sharecroppers? (To a chain gang)
49a. Do you think Mr. Granger can really do that, or is it just a scare tactic?

50. Why does Mr. Morrison not want to leave the Logans in spite of the threat of danger? (Discussion)

51. What does Mr. Morrison do when Kaleb Wallace tries to block the road with his truck? (Physically moves the truck off the road)
51a. Explain why Mr. Morrison is not afraid of Kaleb Wallace. (Discussion)

52. What does Jeremy try to share with Stacey? (His tree house)

53. What happens that forces Papa to contact Hammer for money? (The bank forecloses)
53a. Explain why the bank decided not to honor the loan for the full term.

54. Discuss the actions that Granger takes to get the land away from the Logans and tell why each one of them fails.

55. Explain what happens to T.J. at Barnett’s store. How was T.J. partially at fault even though he did not actually break anything or hurt anyone.

56. (Graphic Organizer) Create a time line of the Logans lives and ownership of the property, beginning with the original purchase of the land.

57. (Character study) Create a character “map” of Cassie Logan in which you show the problems she faced, what she did about each and how it helped her to mature.

58. (Character study) Create a character map of T.J. Avery. Show a sequence of events in which he was involved and describe the gradual decline in his attitude and behavior.

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