An Impacting Story: Seen Through Rolling Thunder

One of many versions of the book cover: Barnes & Nobles

By Josh Castillo ‘24

The plot line shows independence and perspective as it shows the real world during the Great Depression. The main family lived in Mississippi in the early 1930’s. As a family of seven, they lived on a plantation bought from the same owner trying to buy it back.

In the family, Cassie Logan, protagonist, with her brothers Stacey Logan, Christopher John, and Little Man (Clayton Chester Logan) are the children of Mary and David Logan and grandchildren of Big Ma (Caroline Logan). Through her perspective, she develops an understanding of how people are in the world, currently based off race, and develops curiosity about it. Published in 1976-77, Mildred DeLois Taylor (Author) became best known for the book as it is a sequel for her 1975 novel ‘Song of Trees’. The book had gotten banned for racism and offensive language, with other books like “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.

The story is good and shows a relatable ‘rollercoaster’ that was intense, in an effective way, to capture the seriousness, drama and realism. It expressed how well the characters and their personality in the situations told. For Cassie, it perfectly showed her belief and questioning when encountering intolerance and personal issues, compared to characters like her sibling Stacey, he experienced similar experiences. While other’s point of view like Big Ma and Mary Logan shows them accepting the situation to not escalate it. This also shows the characters are human, giving them actions and words that make them seem more than characters in a story. From Mary losing her job to Little Man rejecting a book in bad condition for colored, it made the reader relatable to the character. 

The book has an overall unobstructed view, yet compared to the movie, it does not capture the whole image. 

Scene of Logan Family in Uncle Hammer’s new car: Roll of Thunder Movie (1978)

The 1978 movie version of ‘Roll of Thunder’, directed by Jack Smight, shows a bit less from the book. Taking the main parts and focusing more on those sceneries. Comparing, the book had given more details and imagery with the words used. Many works done by artists over the years focused on racism to depict a message. In literary form and in music like ‘Strange Fruit’ by Billie Holiday, each had expressed historical actions like lynching, accusation, and violence against colored. 

Though the story was through the lens of the Logans, the children had interactions with two people, TJ Avery, and Jeremy Simms, who could have been mentioned more. TJ Avery is a friend of Stacey, and his character can be described remorseless, troublemaking and lazy. Yet his character had given an unfamiliar perspective entirely, as he was with the antagonists. It made him be in a position that make him, and the antagonist “understand” each other. For Jeremy Simms, he is a friend of Stacey and Cassie while being one of the children of the antagonist. His character was having the opposite situation of racism, trying to make up with the Logans to not be seen as a threat. Jeremy, along with a lawyer Mr. Jamison, were few sympathetic white people. 

Even though they were not mentioned much in the story, they impacted the story through their position and actions.

The stories’ impact can give the readers a pause to think about. To understand completely, it is suggested to read the book where it is available to view or buy. It is also an option to see the movie online, but the book is more of a better option. The story is not one to disappoint when grabbing one’s attention and enjoying the character’s experience. Understanding the perspective of Cassie Logan, and imagining the descriptive sceneries and events, you get to hear the cries of rolling thunder and rain in the story.

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