Empowerment and Collaborative Agency in Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry

Maher Ben Moussa


This article examines the issue of child agency and empowerment in Mildred’s D. Taylor’s novel Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry. This theme is addressed by some critics who come to the conclusion that Taylor’s protagonist, the young girl Cassie Logan, develops agency and subversive subjectivity in the course of the novel. This study challenges such readings to argue that the ending of Taylor’s novel does not reflect empowerment; and consequently does not support such conclusions. Through expanding self-in-relation theory to feminism as an interpretive tool, this paper suggests that Cassie Logan’s subversive agency remains partial and incomplete because she fails to engage in an inter-connected and constructive relationship with the ‘other’. Cassie’s empowerment is partial because she fails to exert it in the larger community of African Americans and whites, that otherwise could have stimulated a greater impetus for activism. This study concludes that agency and subjectivity are constructed and empowered within the community which is larger than the self and the family.  


race relations; identity; self in relation theory; collaborative agency; child empowerment

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.7n.2p.219


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