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TJ in Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

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TJ in Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor TJ is a 'tall emaciated -looking', poor boy of thirteen/ fourteen years of age. His family are sharecroppers who work for Harlan Granger. He along with his younger brother Claude walk to school with the Logan children. From the very beginning of the novel we as the readers see that TJ doesn't get presented in a very positive light. Cassie, the narrator doesn't like him much and finds him quite irritating. We learn a lot about his character in the first chapter, TJ went to the Wallace store and blamed his brother Claude and Claude got whipped because of TJ. From this incident, TJ is shown to be a coward, Claude didn't defend himself as 'he was more afraid of TJ than of his mother'. Also he is shown to be quite evil when he laughs at Little Man when he gets his Sunday clothes dirty. Although TJ is mean and thoughtless, he also gives information about racial incidents. He appears to be all-knowing in front of the children and tells them 'since y'all don't seem to know nothin'…maybe I ought not tell y'all'. He informs the Logan children about the Berry's burning. Another episode which shows TJ's cowardness, and makes the readers hate him, is when he cheats in the history examination and passes the notes on the Stacey. Stacey then has to face the humiliation of getting whipped by his mama in front of his class. As usual, TJ doesn't own up to his own and obviously Stacey 'wouldn't tell on ole TJ' because TJ would deny it anyways. TJ is not only thoughtless, he is also quite sly and knows how to get what he wants. This is shown when he teases Stacey about his new coat ... ... middle of paper ... ...he night men come and throw the Averys to the ground, and TJ is beaten up again. Here, we feel genuine sympathy for TJ in the end of the novel, as he is left in jail awaiting trial, with a broken jaw and broken ribs. We feel sorry for TJ and pity him as his fate is to be put on the chain gang and even hanged. TJ isn't evil but he is weak and insecure which makes him easily led astray and naïve. Although I don't like TJ much, I pity him a lot as I feel that he was a young child forced to grow up too quickly, he didn't have the same privileges as the Logan children nor the same independence which is why he way always looking for ways to 'fit in' with everyone and be liked. I don't think that he deserved what he was going to get, and he is not responsible for his fate, he was just a foolish victim of an unjust society.
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