Black and White in Armstrong’s Sounder and Taylor’s Roll of Thunder

The story sounder is about a young African American boy living in the south in the 19th century, and his father is a sharecropper. Sounder is their dog, and they go hunting every night with the father, and sometimes they come empty handed. One day he wakes up to the surprise of ham being cooked in the house and everyone is overjoyed. Three days later white men come to their house accusing the father of stealing the ham. The father is taken away as the boy watches and sounder barking at the cart, and the sheriff shoots the dog. The boy tries to look for the body of sounder but does not find. One day the mother bakes a cake and sends him to visit the father in prison, but the prisoners smash it before he sees his father. He develops resentment towards the father for not knowing the fate of the family.

The Roll of Thunder is about the Logans family that stays in a small piece of land and are harassed on the way to school by the bus driver on the way to school. They hit back by digging a ditch on the road that spoils the bus. The Wallace boys kill a black man, and the Logans family encourage others to boycott buying from them. The Logan even offer to buy goods from Vicksburg to offer them and Jamison likes the idea. Granger forces the Logan’s to pay a loan and Uncle Hammer sells his car to pay for the loan.T.J becomes a criminal and one day they frame and try to kill him but in the process the cotton plantation caught fire, and everyone had to run to save the cotton. It ends up that Papa started the fire to stop the lynching.

The two stories are clear in showing how society is experiencing racism in different ways. The stories show the lives of young children caught between the love for their friends and race. Some of the pupils enjoy going to school together even if they are aware of their racial difference and the treatment both races get from the other. It is difficult for the young children to go through the life like they have nothing disturbing their minds but they feel the pain from the treatment they get from people of the different race. Sounder is a story about a black man’s dog that moves with him as he works in the plantation. The weather is cold, but the children are still wishing to go hunting with sounder. The story revolves around the families in the rural area that goes through the day to day challenges as a black race. The roll of thunder is also set in a rural area in Mississippi with the children acting the main parts to bring out the different themes. The two stories show how children are affected by the racial discrimination in their societies and how they find themselves torn between what society wants and the right thing (Galda 26).

The story roll of thunder shows a family that is going through the daily struggles to make sure they have enough to keep them going. The boys get mistreated by the bus driver who pours mud on them as he drives the white children to school. They are young children, but they understand that they are being discriminated because of their colour but still put on a happy face and go to school. The theme black and white is evident since the black children are not getting the same facilities like the white children. For example, the white children have a bus that the school bought from the county money the school got from the government. The children do not get the same services, and it is clear that white and black is not the same. In the roll of thunder, the books that Cassie and the black students use had already been used by the white students and were worn out. It was the routine that once the books were very old, and then the black students could be given. The books even have the race of the children written on them, and this makes Man and Cassie angry although the teachers and other students have no problem.

The book sounder shows how the black people are treated by the white people who try to create a sense of loneliness in them. Their cabins are far on the other side of the fields because the white man does not want them to associate and have a sense of community feeling in them. Instead, he wants them scattered and different. The loneliness is seen in the way the families try to struggle on their own, and the desolation is evident in the book as the story continues. The mother is seen humming in various parts of the story to the song that considers life as a lonely valley. The children feel the desolation too and take most of the time with their families worried about their fate. Black and white theme is still evident in the story since the white violence against them is increasing daily. In the roll of thunder, Mama has the strong man in the house to defend the family but she is not sure how long this will last as they could be attacked when he is away. The children revenge against the racist whites but still get absorbed in fear and worries since they cannot tell when they will hit back. The families that are witness the incident and laugh at the bus driver are all worried that the night men may decide to attack them in revenge (Taylor,14).

The story the sounder, the boy has to take over as the family provider since the father is in prison. The black and white theme is brought out since the white are seen as superior. The father was arrested just for stealing ham because he was failing to get something to give the family to eat. He is arrested, and the boy left in charge of the family. He feels he has the responsibility to take care of the mother from the whites who may want to harm her. The blacks live in fear for they do not know what they can face from a single mistake or no mistake at all. In this situation the young boy is affected by the racial discrimination and other children as well.

The theme is further promoted in the story sounder as the blacks are shown to survive in poverty while the whites are in plenty. The blacks live in shabby cabins while the whites live in well-curtained houses. The children from both races can see the difference, and it affects the way they relate. At a young age, they can tell that there is a big difference among them and will grow with the memories of the mistreatment and suffering they go through as poor blacks and the rich whites. The whites are portrayed as being inhuman from the characters of the Sherriff, the guard and the jailer who have enough food and work against the humanity of the teacher, mother, and the dog Sounder. The Wallaces are not good people and everyone in the community agree that they are not but Mr.Turner has no choice since he is poor and cannot get credit anywhere else. The blacks are poor and as such cannot afford the stores. They end up being slaves of the white and any slight mistake leads to their suffering as the whites can revenge. Cassie and her brother are subjected to waiting in the stores as the whites are served first and they have to wait. When Cassie tried to complain, they laughed and yelled at her embarrassing her in public. Although the family is proud and strong-willed, they cannot do anything to help (Armstrong, 8).

The character of T.J may have changed because of the pressure from the White to have the blacks act as slaves. To try and defend themselves, black people like T.J find themselves joining gangs that they can use to defend their race. He was almost lynched, and papa had to do the unexpected to save him. The black society always lives in fear of attacks from the whites. The children live and observe the violence that is shown in the society and grow to be the same. When Lilly tells Cassie that she wants her to be the little dark friend she understands that Lilly instead wants a slave to keep her busy but she feels bad that a friend could look at her as something she could use. The children get used to the system and carry on the practices of the old in their schools. The children are affected and feel low about it but have nothing to do.

In conclusion, the two stories, sounder and the roll of thunder are a clear narration of what goes on in the racial discriminative societies. The children are in two schools that have different facilities with the whites favoured and the blacks seen as the burdens. The white children have a bus while the blacks have to walk to school in the cold morning, and the driver enjoys pouring mud on them. The books that are given to Cassie and Man have been used by the white children and grown old, and this angers them, but no one seems to care about their feelings. The blacks cannot own stores, and this makes them enslaved to the white man who gives loans. The blacks are scared of attacks by the night men, and this makes the life hard for the children. The society makes the children feel that they cannot live happily because they belong to a certain race. The stories used children as a way of showing that racism is a continuous challenge in society. The two stories show how children are affected by the racial discrimination in their societies and how they find themselves torn between what society wants and the right thing.

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