Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry


In Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry there are two renowned characters recognized as Stacey and T.J. Both of them are the eldest son of the family, and they are best friends; however, both of them come from a diverse family background. Stacey’s family is one of the very few fortunate black families with their land to own whereas T.J’s family is a sharecropper. As they have been brought up in completely different environments, both Stacey Logan and T.J Avery have developed totally opposite characters.


Firstly, Stacey shows great loyalty to his family. His faithfulness towards his parents are shown powerfully when he follows his parents’ orders of not to go to the Wallace store. When T.J offers Stacey to go to the Wallace store, Stacey says “Mama told us not to go there” (Pg.79). Even when T.J stubbornly convinces Stacey to go, Stacey’s responses are “You go on… we’re staying here.” (Pg.79). We can imply from this that Stacey’s reliability and faithfulness towards his parents are extremely powerful. In addition, when Mama refuses to accept Stacey’s offer to help with the matter she was coping at that moment Stacey denies, saying “But Papa told me to help you!”(Pg.70). These words from Stacey proves that he is extremely respectful to his parents, especially to his father. Thus, Stacey is a loyal, faithful son of the Logans.


On the other hand, T.J is disloyal and disrespectful to his parents. Having powerless parents with hardly any power to discipline T.J seems to be one reason why T.J is a faithless son. Cassie says “T.J’s father, frail… with a hacking cough.” (Pg.43). Although his parents are against their sons going to the Wallace store, T.J goes to the store regularly, and he even persuade the Logans children to go with him , saying “Say, …we sneak down…to do them new dances?” (Pg.79). Thus, T.J is unfaithful and disloyal to his parents although Stacey does strongly.


Another character trait of Stacey is that he is also loyal and faithful to his friends, especially T.J, as he is Stacey’s one and only best friend. Stacey doesn’t tell on Mrs. Logan about T.J and his cheat notes and end up getting into trouble, and Little Willie, Stacey’s classmate, explains “She asked him… Stacey wouldn’t tell on ole T.J.” (Pg. 88). Even when Stacey confesses about the fighting with T.J at the Wallace store to Mrs. Logan, Cassie narrates, “He said nothing of T.J’s cheating.”(Pg. 105). Cassie also says, “…when Mama asked…he refused to speak” (Pg. 105). We can put forward that Stacey is protective and faithful to T.J; moreover, he does not want T.J to get into further trouble, as he is a troublemaker. Hence, Stacey has a respectful and protective attitude towards T.J, his only best friend.


Despite Stacey’s loyalty to T.J, T.J doesn’t seem to be as loyal and respectful to Stacey as Stacey’s loyalty and respect towards T.J. For instance, T.J passes the cheat notes to Stacey so he wouldn’t get into any trouble from Mrs. Logan. Little Willie explains the situation, saying “…Miz Logan startin’ toward ‘em… he slipped Stacey the notes.” (Pg. 89). Even when Stacey gets told off by Mrs. Logan about the cheat notes, T.J “just sat there and ain’t said a word.”(Pg. 89). We can imply from this that T.J would not mind to give up his best friend to get away from trouble; thus, he doesn’t show much respect to Stacey. “T.J shot out and tore across the yard” (Pg. 88). This attitude of T.J shows that he doesn’t even be bothered to give his disappointed best friend an apology but run away. Consequently, T.J is a disloyal, unreliable friend to Stacey or anybody else even though Stacey shows a great deal of respect to T.J.


Additionally, Stacey is an extremely trustworthy, reliable brother to his siblings; furthermore, he is a responsible eldest son of the Logans. He always tries to protect and put his siblings away from troubles that are going on. Cassie explains that “He said nothing of…Christopher-John, Little Man, and I had been with him…”(Pg.105) when Stacey confesses about the fight at the Wallace store to Mama, which implies that he