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Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
by Mildred D. Taylor
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Chapter 6 Summary
When they get home, Stacey tells Cassie to not blame Big Ma for making her apologize. There are some things that Cassie just doesn't understand. On their way into the house, they see Mr. Granger's car in their barn. How weird. And a little scary. But no! It's actually great news, because Uncle Hammer has come for a visit. The car in the barn is Uncle Hammer's. Plus, it's better than Mr. Granger's, because it's a newer Packard. Uncle Hammer asks Cassie about her first trip to Strawberry, but when she starts to tell him about it, Big Ma sends Cassie into the kitchen to get dinner. For some reason, Big Ma doesn't like the idea of Uncle Hammer finding out what happened with Mr. Simms. Mama tells Cassie that she (Mama) will get dinner, and that Cassie should stay and tell Uncle Hammer about the trip. So, Cassie tells him about Mr. Barnett helping others before T.J., and how she told Mr. Barnett that this wasn't right. Uncle Hammer seems amused by this, while Big Ma (who has not yet heard this) is quite less-than-amused. When Cassie starts to tell him about the incident with Lillian Jean and her dad, Big Ma again tries to interrupt. It's no use, though, and Cassie tells the whole story. Now, it starts to make sense why Big Ma did not want Uncle Hammer to know about how Mr. Simms manhandled Cassie in the street. Uncle Hammer gets really mad. And, he apparently has a gun. Time to call in the big guns: Mr. Morrison. Still angry, Uncle Hammer hops into the Packard with Mr. Morrison, and they roar away. Christopher-John is confident that Mr. Morrison will talk some sense into their uncle, but Little Man and Cassie hope their Uncle will knock some sense into Mr. Simms. When Cassie goes to bed, Mama comes in for a little mother-daughter heart-to-heart. She tells Cassie that Big Ma just didn't want to see Cassie get hurt. But Cassie doesn't understand why Mr. Simms thinks Lillian Jean is better than she is. Another Big Life Lesson Alert: Mama tells Cassie that, "Everybody born on this earth is something and nobody, no matter what color, is better than anybody else" (6.85). She explains why the white people think they're better than the black people: to make themselves feel big. Mama tells Cassie about how slaves were regarded as less than human, and how some Christian beliefs even supported this view. Even though the Civil War ended slavery, some people still believe that black people are lesser than white people. And people like Mr. Simms hold even more strongly onto these beliefs because they don't really have anything else to hold onto. The clicking sound you just heard is everything falling into place for Cassie. This whole situation—the Logans' lot in life—has been created just because some white people think they're better than black people, all because of their skin color. Talk about a wake-up call. Mama tells Cassie that the respect she was forced to give Lillian Jean really wasn't respect at all. True respect is freely given. The next morning, Uncle Hammer and Mr. Morrison are eating breakfast. So, all is well and nothing appears to have happened the previous night. Here's exciting news: Uncle Hammer is driving everyone to church in his new car. Cassie asks her mom to fix her a "grown-up hairdo" for church (6.105). Cassie wants her hair fixed like Mama's, but Mama tells her that's still a few years off yet. It turns out that Mr. Morrison talked to Uncle Hammer all night long, and kept him from doing anything rash to Mr. Simms. Cassie's a little disappointed. Stacey tells her that she had better be glad that Uncle Hammer didn't do anything, since it might have gotten him killed. It seems like Cassie still doesn't really understand the seriousness of the situation. Before they go to church, Uncle Hammer notices that Stacey's coat is too small. Early Christmas present time! Yep, it's a new wool coat. The family all get into Uncle Hammer's sleek car and head off to church, where T.J. makes fun of the coat, saying it makes Stacey look like a "fat preacher" (6.147). Jelly, much? After church, Uncle Hammer takes the family for a ride up to Strawberry and back. When they drive past the Wallace store, Uncle Hammer makes an idle threat to burn the place down. At the bridge crossing, another car is trying to cross (the bridge is so narrow that only one car at a time can pass). It's clear that since a white family is driving in the other car, Uncle Hammer is supposed to give way, but instead he guns it and speeds over the bridge first. Big Ma points out that the family will think the car belongs to Mr. Granger. Well, until they see him on the other side. And it's the Wallaces. Oops. Mama ends the chapter with an ominous prediction: "But one day we'll have to pay for it" (6.170).
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