How does the short story "Thank you, M'am" have allegory?

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Thank You, M'am by Langston Hughes is a short story which contains a powerful message. Mrs. Jones is not about to miss this opportunity to teach Roger a lesson. She does not behave as Roger expects, by punishing him or taking him to the police. She shows him a kindness and understanding which confuses him but which has a profound effect on him to the point that he no longer feels the urge to run away from her and even offers to run an errand for her because he recognizes her goodwill and her personal interest in him. 

Allegory has a hidden meaning and aims to reveal a point of view without direct reference to that point of view. It can share a message that has a moral intent or even a political one. Famous allegorical novels include Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies. Aesop's fables are well-loved allegories with The Tortoise and the Hare being a prime example where the over-confident (and over-bearing) hare wastes his talents whereas the tortoise's honest hard work and perseverance ensure that ultimately he wins the race and proves that life is not just about being the best or getting what you want but is about doing your best and making the most of what you have, using your skills wisely. This is exactly the message that Mrs. Jones is trying to share with Roger. She even admits to him that she "wanted things I could not get." It is apparent that it is her hard work, honesty and sense of fairness that have served her well and that ensure that she shares her positive message with Roger. 

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