"I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go." - Langston Hughes  How is the quote connected to Langston Hughes' story,...

"I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go, if you really want to go." - Langston Hughes 

How is the quote connected to Langston Hughes' story, "Thank You, M'am?" 

Asked on by ivannabos

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The quote that you cite in this question is related to Langston Hughes’s “Thank You Ma’m” because of the fact that Roger demonstrates its truth in the story.

Over the course of this story, Roger seems to turn his life around.  At the beginning of the story, he is a purse snatcher, a little beginning criminal who seems to be headed for no good.  By the time the story ends, we can at least believe that he has turned a corner.  The story at least implies that the intervention of Mrs. Jones has turned his life around.

This shows us the truth of the quote.  In reality, Roger turned himself around as much as Mrs. Jones did.  She did not force him to change his ways.  All she did was give him the chance to do so.  When Roger was standing at the sink, washing his face, he could easily have escaped.  When Mrs. Jones went behind the screen to cook, he could have taken her purse and escaped.  The reason he did not was within himself.  Clearly, he wanted to change.  When he was given a little sliver of a chance to change, he did so.

Looking at the quote, then, Roger clearly wanted to “go” somewhere.  When Mrs. Jones grabbed him and took him home, he used it as a way to get there.  Once Roger realized that he truly did want to “go” somewhere better with his life, he found a way to get there.  This is the connection between Hughes’s quote and his story.

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