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Where is the sympathy in Hughes' story, "Thank You, M'am?"

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kind12 | Student | eNoter

Posted January 23, 2011 at 6:26 PM via web

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Where is the sympathy in Hughes' story, "Thank You, M'am?"

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 23, 2011 at 6:52 PM (Answer #1)

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There has to be sympathy in both characters.  Roger might have succumbed to bad choices in terms of criminal activity, but there is an overwhelming feeling of sympathy in his predicament.  Essentially, he is raising himself, as there is little parental guidance.  Roger is also a character of dignity in that he is overcome by Mrs. Jones' compassion and kindness.  There is sympathy for him in him wanting to convey gratitude, yet being unable to do so.  The magnitude of the moment causes him to become silent.  There is also sympathy in Mrs. Jones, herself.  The reader understands that her narrative is filled with pain and suffering, and that she, too, has committed acts that do not reflect the best of human beings on any level.  Yet, where the reader has sympathy for her is in how she does not let fear overtake her actions.  She is able to display love and affection towards Roger.  In a world where harshness and pain is all- encompassing, Mrs. Jones refuses to take the form of this condition.  She transcends it, earning sympathy and respect from the reader in the process.

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