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Langston Hughes' short story Thank You M'am is an inspiring story of hope. It reveals that status and wealth are not the foundations of honesty and trust and that everyone deserves a second chance. It also shows how the smallest act of kindness and compassion can change someone's life. Mrs Luella Bates Washington Jones is a prime example of a person who wants no reward for her efforts. It is enough for her to do the best thing for Roger and taking him home with her, letting him wash and eat and sending him on his way with the $10 he is so desperate for are the very "least I can do." Mrs Jones hopes to have enough of an impression on Roger that "When I get through with you, sir, you are going to remember Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones." If Roger is ever tempted to steal again, she hopes that he will think twice, remembering the impact she had on him.
This story is enjoyable because Mrs Jones represents any person who has the capacity to change someone else's life for the better from just doing something small and seemingly insignificant. The hope is, perhaps, that not only does this story help the "Rogers" of the world but also those who may otherwise rather ignore the "frail and willow-wild, in tennis shoes and blue jeans" rather than stop and reflect on how to help them.
The image that is attached to this question, an envelope addressed to Lieutenant Daniel Grafton Hill Jnr reveals an interesting connection to Langston Hughes as Lieutenant Hill's descendant, Lawrence Hill, included a character, Langston Cane, in is novel "Any Known Blood." Cane searches for his identity in the past and uncovers stories of the slave trade and racial injustices and, in seeking justice, ultimately finds himself.
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