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Roll of Thunder

by Mildred D. Taylor

Chapter 1





Raucous adj.

Rough-sounding and harsh


Pensively adv.

Deeply, often wistfully or dreamily thoughtful.


Sharecropping   v.

Working (land) or growing (crops) as a sharecropper. (A tenant farmer who gives a share of the crops raised to the landlord in lieu of rent.)


Emaciated v.

Made or became extremely thin, especially as a result of starvation.


Undaunted adj.

Not discouraged or disheartened; resolutely courageous.


Morosely adv.

Sullenly melancholy; gloomy.


Disdainfully adv.

Expressively disdainful; scornfully and contemptuously.


Dismally adv.

Dreadfully; disastrously.


Knell n.

Sound of a bell


Transposed v.

Put into a different place or order


Milling v.

Moving around in churning confusion


Reverberated v.

Reechoed (a sound)


Dubious adj.

Fraught with uncertainty or doubt


Penchant n.

A definite liking; a strong inclination


Temerity n.

Foolhardy disregard of danger; recklessness.


Chignon n.

A roll or knot of hair worn at the back of the head or especially at the nape of the neck.


Maverick n.

One that refuses to abide by the dictates of or resists adherence to a group; a dissenter.


Imperiously adv.

Arrogantly domineering or overbearing.

Chapter 2


Formidable adj.

Inspiring awe, admiration, or wonder


Ornate adj.

Elaborately, heavily, and often excessively ornamented


Chiffonier n.

A narrow, high chest of drawers or bureau, often with a mirror attached.

Chapter 3


Resiliency n.

The property of a material that enables it to resume its original shape or position after being bent, stretched, or compressed


Emitted v.

To give or send out matter (a smell)


Donned v.

To put on (clothing)


Embittered v.

To arouse bitter feelings in


Flippantly adv.



Moronic adj.

Regarded as very stupid


Wafted v.

Conveyed or sent floating through the air


Stealthily adv.

Marked by or acting with quiet, caution, and secrecy intended to avoid notice


Oblivious adj.

Lacking conscious awareness


Adamantly adv.



Confer v.

To meet in order to deliberate together or compare views


Precariously adv.

Dangerously lacking in security or stability

Chapter 4


Expounding v.

Explained in detail


Discourse n.



Admonished v.

To counsel (another) against something to be avoided


Haughtily adv.

Scornfully and condescendingly proud


Riveted v.

To engross or hold attention


Feigned v.



Fathom v.

To penetrate to the meaning or nature of; comprehend.


Proprietors n.

One who has legal title to something; an owner.

Chapter 5


Envisioned v.

Pictured in the mind; imagined


Retaliated v.

Paid back (an injury) in kind


Malevolently adv.

Wishing harm to others; maliciously


Sullenly adv.

morosely or sulkily


Ambled v.

Walked slowly or leisurely; strolled

Chapter 6


Languidly adv.

Lacking energy or vitality; weakly

Chapter 7


Interminable adj.

Being or seeming to be without an end; endless


Placid adj.

Satisfied; complacent


Boycott v.

To act together in abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with as an expression of protest or disfavor or as a means of coercion


Insolently adv.

Audaciously rude or disrespectful; arrogantly

Chapter 8


Jovial adj.


Chapter 9


Wisteria n.

Any of several climbing woody vines in the pea family, having pinnately compound leaves and showy purplish or white flowers.


Persnickety adj.



Amenities n.

Social courtesies; pleasantries


Chain gang n.

A group of convicts chained together, especially for outdoor labor

Chapter 10


Lethargically adv.

Causing sluggishness, inactivity, and apathy

Chapter 11


Crescendo n.

A steady increase in intensity or force

Chapter 12


Traipsing v.

Walking or tramping about


Menacingly adv.


   Chapter 1

  1. Describe the Logans.
  2. What news did T.J. tell Cassie and her brothers?
  3. Why didn’t these children have a bus to take them to school?
  4. Why did Jeremy’s older sister, Lillian Jean, beat Jeremy?
  5. What is the significance of the Confederate flag flying?
  6. Why were there less students in the higher grade levels?
  7. The school was given "brand new" books. Why were they soiled?
  8. Why didn’t Cassie and Little Man want their books?
  9. Why didn’t Miss Crocker get upset by the condition of the books?
  10. What was Mama’s reaction particularly when Miss Crocker said, "I think you’re spoiling those children, Mary. They’ve got to learn how things are sometime" ?

   Chapter 2

  1. Who is Mr. Morrison and why has he come?
  2. What happened to John Henry Berry?
  3. What did Papa demand the children swear to?
  4. Rewrite the second paragraph on pg. 40 in proper English.
  5. What do you think will happen next in Chapter 3?

   Chapter 3

  1. Why was Little Man always getting angry and frustrated?
  2. How did Stacey plan to get revenge? What was the outcome of his revenge?
  3. What danger were Cassie and her brother in?
  4. Predict what will happen next in Chapter 4.

   Chapter 4

  1. What did the "men in the night" do to Mr. Tatum? Why?
  2. What did Stacey do to help T. J. from getting into trouble? What does this tell you about Stacey’s character?
  3. How did Stacey get caught cheating and what happened to him?
  4. Why did Stacey and the others go to Wallace’s Store when they knew they would get whipped if they got caught?
  5. What did Stacey decide to do after Mr. Morrison picked the children up at Wallace’s store?
  6. Why does Harlan Granger haunt the Logans to sell their land to him?
  7. Why did Mama bring the children to the Berry’s?
  8. Why did Mama want the sharecroppers and the farm owners to shop in Vicksburg? What was the sharecroppers concern?

   Chapter 5

  1. What happened in Strawberry?
  2. What did Mr. Barnett mean when he said to Stacey, "Then you get her out of here…And make sure she don’t come back till yo mammy teach her what she is"?
  3. What did Stacey tell Cassie when they left the store about Mr. Barnett?
  4. Describe the incident with Jeremy’s sister Lillian Jean.
  5. How was Cassie rescued from Mr. Simms?
  6. What feelings do you think Cassie had toward the way she was treated by Mr. Simms?

   Chapter 6

  1. Who was Cassie angry at and why?
  2. Why does Uncle Hammer make a visit?
  3. How did Uncle Hammer react to Cassie’s experience in Strawberry?
  4. How did Mama explain to Cassie about…"how things are"?
  5. What is the lesson that Mama teaches Cassie about respect?
  6. What happened with Uncle Hammer?
  7. During a Sunday drive near the Wallace’s Store, what did Uncle hammer say that shocked the family?
  8. Uncle Hammer faked the Wallace’s out on the bridge who tipped their hats, and were shocked to see it wasn’t Mr. Granger. What did Mama mean when she said, "But one day we’ll have to pay for it. Believe me…one day we’ll pay."?

    Chapter 7

  1. After Uncle Hammer found out that Stacey "gave" his coat to T.J., what lesson did Uncle Hammer teach as he reprimanded Stacey?
  2. What happened in Mr. Morrison’s childhood?
  3. What did Mama want to do to stop the Wallace’s from destroying young black children’s lives and to protect the black families income?
  4. What kinds of things did the Logan children get for Christmas?
  5. Who was the unexpected visitor and why did he come?
  6. What did Papa say about friendship between blacks and whites?
  7. Mr. Jamison, the lawyer, offered to help out the thirty black families. How?
  8. What reason did Mr. Jamison give for the Wallace’s not being arrested for burning the Berry’s home?
  9. Mr. Jamison says that killing a black man is of a "minor consideration". Why?
  10. What did Papa mean when he said, "I want these children to know we tried, and what we can’t do now, maybe one day they will." ?
  11. How did Mr. Granger threaten the Logans?
  12. What challenge did Papa make to Granger? How would you describe the mood and atmosphere at that moment?

   Chapter 8

  1. How is Cassie "Uncle Tomming" (Miz) Lillian Jean? Why do you think she is doing this?
  2. What lesson did Papa give to Cassie about respect?
  3. What was the trick that Cassie played on Lillian Jean?
  4. Mr. Granger, Kaleb Wallace, and a school board member came to watch Mama teaching. What was the outcome and why? Was there any "hidden agenda"?
  5. How did Mr. Morrison plan to help the Logans? What was Papa’s response?
  6. What did Little Willie Wiggins tell Stacey about Mama?
  7. What did Stacey mean when he said about T.J., "What he got coming to him is worse than a beating" ?
  8. What do you think T.J. means when he says, "Got me better friends than y’all! They give me things and treat me like I’m a man and…and they white too…" ?

   Chapter 9

  1. Why doesn’t Jeremy like his older brothers?
  2. What news did Mr. Jamison bring to Papa?
  3. Why did Mr. Avery and some other sharecroppers decide not to shop at Vicksburg?
  4. What would happen if the sharecroppers were put into a chain gang?
  5. What is the lesson to be learned that Papa talked about regarding the fig tree? pg. 206)
  6. What happened to Papa when he and Mr. Morrison went to Vicksburg?

   Chapter 10

  1. Why didn’t Papa want to borrow money from Uncle Hammer?
  2. Why does Stacey blame himself for Papa’s broken leg?
  3. How did Mr. Morrison show his great strength in front of the children?
  4. What did Jeremy tell Stacey that T.J.’s been up to?
  5. What news did Mr. Morrison bring back after paying the mortgage in Strawberry?
  6. Where was Papa going to get the money to pay off the mortgage?
  7. Why did Papa dismiss the court system as a means to stop Mr. Granger?
  8. Why did Uncle Hammer walk to the revival?
  9. Why was it better that Uncle Hammer return to Chicago?
  10. On the last night of the revival, T. J. showed up with the Simmes brothers. What seems to be their relationship? What did they promise T.J.?

   Chapter 11

  1. Describe what happened to T.J.
  2. Why did Stacey help after what he’s done to Mama?
  3. After Stacey, Cassie, Christopher-John, and Little Man brought T.J. safely home, what happened?

   Chapter 12

  1. After Cassie told Papa the ugly details of what happened to T.J. and his family, what did Papa mean when he said, "I’ll do what I have to do, Mary…and so will you…" ?
  2. After Papa and Mr. Morrison left in search for Stacey, what happened to the cotton?
  3. Who helped put out the fire and how was the fire stopped?
  4. What happened to T.J. once the fire broke out?
  5. What news did Mr. Jamison bring about Jim Lee Barnett and what are the implications?
  6. What was the secret that must never be told?
  7. Why did Stacey and Cassie mourn for T.J. and predict what might happen to him?
  8. How is the title Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry appropriate for this novel?

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