Roll of Thunder

Student Activity #6

Mapping the Setting

Sometimes authors create imaginary, or fictional, stories and characters and set them in a time and place that has actually existed. This type of literature is called historical fiction. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is an example of historical fiction. The novel is set in rural Mississippi during the Great Depression of the 1930's.

When reading fiction like Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, it's helpful to know about the real setting and time period. Different states, countries, and regions often have certain characteristics, or features, connected with them. Reading literature can help give insights into different regions through the author's portrayal of the setting. In addition, learning about the region can help readers understand the author's depiction of setting.

In this activity, you will

* Use the Web to locate a map of the State of Mississippi

* Use the Web to gather information about Mississippi

* Locate Mississippi towns portrayed in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Locating a Map of Mississippi Activity


1) Click on this link to locate a map of the United States

2) Examine the country map to identify where Mississippi is located in the country

3) Use your browser to print out the map

4) Use a marker to outline the State of Mississippi

Gathering Information About Mississippi Activity


Use the Fifty link for Mississippi to gather and record data about the setting of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. On a separate sheet of paper, record the following six pieces information about the State of Mississippi:

1) Geographical Size of Mississippi

2) Climate

3) Major Agricultural Products

4) Major Industries

5) Historic Landmarks & Special Attractions

6) Capital city of Mississippi

Imagining the Setting's Location Activity

In Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mr. Logan drives a horse-drawn cart from the family farm to buy supplies in Vicksburg. He leaves before dawn and gets back late at night.

If we estimate his rate of travel by horsepower at 5 miles per hour, his eight-hour, one-way trip would suggest that the Logans' hometown is approximately 40-miles from Vicksburg.


1) Click here to access a worksheet with a map of Mississippi and print it out


2) First, complete the questions listed on the worksheet

3) Next, draw a circle around the capital city and a square around Vicksburg

4) Now, click below to access a more detailed map of Mississippi, print it out, then use the map's scale to determine the distance between the capital city and Vicksburg


5) On the Mississippi map, draw a circle centered at Vicksburg with a radius of 40 miles (note that nearly half of the circle falls into Louisiana)

6) Examine the area near the edge of your circle, the likely setting for the novel

7) Choose the region where you think the fictional town of Strawberry would be located and draw a star there

8) Explain to the class your reasons for selecting this location


Back to the Roll of the Thunder Student Page