"Thank You, Ma'am" is a short story by Langston Hughes in which young Roger finds himself in the grip of Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones after attempting to steal her purse. It is Luella's unconventional response to Roger and the relationship that forms between them that demonstrates the main idea of trust and compassion in the story.
As Roger is being firmly gripped by Luella, he tells her that he "didn't aim" to steal her purse. She immediately recognizes his response as a lie, and she tells him so. When she asks if he will run if she releases her grip, Roger is honest and shares that he would run. He does attempt to free himself, but he is no match for Luella. Upon entering her home, Luella releases Roger and tells him to wash his face.
Roger's next action shows that trust is beginning to form. He has an opportunity to run, but he instead chooses to do as he is told. Another example of trust is demonstrated when Luella says she believes Roger tried to steal from her because he was...
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