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


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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