How is racial injustice shown in ‘Roll of thunder, hear my cry’
Racial injustice is discrimination against an individual as a result of the colour of their skin and is expressed in a variety of ways in ‘Roll of thunder, hear my cry’ because the author Mildred D Taylor wants to show how hard life was in the 1930s at Mississippi for black skinned people. The author achieves this by using a range of language techniques, for example metaphors, informal language and sensory imagery that creates an atmosphere we can empathize with. Cassie, who is the protagonist, looks after her family in any way possible. At the start she doesn’t know much about the ‘devilish night men’ but as injustice becomes worse, she can see they aren’t very friendly.
Throughout the first few chapters, Cassie and her brothers are petrified to learn that anyone could treat black people the way the Berries had been treated. The idea of someone harming someone else due to their skin colour is very frightening to these children and isn’t something the white children would worry about. So from an early age, black skinned children had to identify that they couldn’t become friends with white people.
In the story, there are two segregated schools. Jefferson High for white children and Great Faith for black children. The children attend school everyday barefoot because their school doesn’t have a bus but Jefferson high has two. This made Cassie’s younger brother, little man think. ‘Why does our school have no bus but Jefferson high have two?’ showing that little man doesn’t quite know what is happening. The council gave a large amount of money to white schools and a lot less to black schools most likely because they didn’t like black people. The books that Cassie and the other black students are using were used by white children until they were considered too worn out, which then they passed to the black children. The books also include the race of the student, using the word ‘nigra’ for black children. Cassie and Little man get angry, but everyone else including the teacher, be grateful for what they have. This shows that Cassie and Little man didn’t know what racial injustice was until now in the book. At first, Little man’s ‘face was lit with eager excitement’ but soon after noticing that not everyone liked black people, his face ‘scowled’.
Later on into the book, the black townspeople agree that violence from white people against them is getting much more dangerous and worse. When Papa comes back home, he brings Mr. Morrison to live with them. At first, the children don’t really like him but after realizing the strength Mr. Morrison has, they all welcome him into their family. Papa cannot protect his family all the time due to the fact that jobs were hard to get because he was black. He had to keep on moving around America to feed his family and stay alive. Before Papa goes, he warns the children to never go to the Wallace’s shop. ‘Them ole Devils’ is what the black community...