In "Thank You, M'am," what is the climax?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The climax is the section of the plot which has the greatest emotional intensity. This climax has normally been led up to by the rising action, which increases the tension as the problem is exacerbated by various means. The climax also comes before the resolution, that resolves the conflict and finishes the story off.

In this short story, therefore, the climax comes at the end of the dinner that Mrs. Bates cooks for herself and Roger. Before this, the reader and Roger are left wondering what Mrs. Bates will do and how she will treat Roger after he tried to steal from her. The author skillfully leaves us completely unaware of how this story will end. What is so surprising is that Mrs. Bates gives Roger the money that he tried to steal from her so that he can buy his blue suede shoes:

Now here, take this ten dollars and buy yourself some blue suede shoes. And next time, do not make the mistake of latching onto my pocketbook nor nobodoy else's--because shoes got by devilish ways will burn your feet.

The climax comes at the end of the evening when the reader and Roger are very curious--and in Roger's case slightly nervous--to see how the story will end up. The climax is so effective because it surprises Roger so greatly that he is unable even to stammer out a "Thank you" as he leaves the house to Mrs. Bates, even though he wanted to say so much more.

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