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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Themes

We're not dealing with a huge city where people are all nameless and faceless. In Taylor's setting, everyone knows everyone else. Plus, they know what you've been up to. For example, cheating on a history test. Yikes! The black community in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is very tight-knit. The sharecroppers rely on each other, and they can always count on someone to lend them a helping hand when they are in trouble. Think about how Mama and the Logan children deliver tons of food to the poorer residents, and how they open their doors for the über-poor Averys (and Jeremy Simms) on Christmas. And don't forget the spirit of coming together at the revival meeting near the end of the book. So, despite the trials and tribulations taking place, the black community here really shows some good old-fashioned Southern hospitality to those in need. (The other southerners, though, not so much.)

Questions About Community

  1. When does the black community seem at its strongest in the book? When is it most threatened?
  2. What are some clues that there are rifts even within the black community? Think about issues that are exclusive of the threat posed by the white men.
  3. Sweet-potato pies, ham, cornbread, biscuits—and don't forget the crowder peas! What's the role of food in the novel? What functions does it fulfill (other than filling bellies)?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Taylor shows us that a lot of conflict comes from within the black community itself, and not just from the corrupt whites.

The church is one of the main pillars of strength in the black community in the book.

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