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What main events take place in Thank You M'am by Langston Hughes?

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Rawraw411 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 6, 2013 at 7:40 PM via web

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What main events take place in Thank You M'am by Langston Hughes?

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 8, 2013 at 12:09 PM (Answer #1)

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There is a message behind the short story, Thank You M'am,by Langston Hughes. The boy, Roger, tries to steal Mrs Luella Bates Washington Jones' purse but is stopped by the woman herself with everything in her large purse, except "hammer and nails."

She enquires about his dirty face and wonders - "Ain’t you got nobody home to tell you to wash your face?”- whereupon she decides to take him home with her, letting him know "“If you think that that contact is not going to last awhile, you got another thought coming." She intends to make him understand right from wrong.

It seems the boy's motive for stealing Mrs Jones' "pocketbook" was not for food but so he can buy some "blue suede shoes." he considers running away from her on a few occasions but does not and listens as she tells him that she too "were young once and I wanted things I could not get.” 

Roger waits for his food, even offering to go to the store for her as "he did not want to be mistrusted now." It is not, however necessary. Mrs Jones gives him $10 before sending him on his way, to buy the shoes he wants "because shoes come by devilish like that will burn your feet." She wants him to understand that stealing is wrong. The boy is speechless and only just manages to thank Mrs Jones. The two never meet again.

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