How did the narrator express the theme of "Thank You, Ma'am" through the point of view?

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copelmat | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Langston Hughes's "Thank You, Ma'am" is told from an omniscient, third-person point of view. The point of view is important in the story because it allows us to see different elements from both Mrs. Jones's and Roger's perspectives, without getting too close to either one. This is important because it greatly helps to build the suspense of the story as we question what punishment Mrs. Jones might exact on Roger. That suspense, then, reinforces the central themes of the story--compassion, second chances, forgiveness. We keep anticipating that the punishment will be delivered in part because we are not "inside the head" of either Roger or Mrs. Jones. But no punishment is ever given, only forgiveness.

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