What is a brief summary of "Thank you, M'am" by Langston Hughes?

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kathik | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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Langston Hughes' short story "Thank You, Ma'am" is a tale about a young teenager who tries to steal a woman's purse to buy himself new blue suede shoes. The woman, Mrs. Jones, scolds and grabs the boy, Roger, and takes him home with her. Roger thinks she is going to turn him over to the police, but she does not. She talks to him in an understanding way, saying she did things when she was younger that she is not proud of today. While in her boarding room, she leaves Roger alone to cook supper for them. Roger realizes that he can easily escape AND take her purse with him, but by that time, he does not want to. He wants Mrs. Jones to trust him. After supper, Mrs. Jones gives Roger money for the shoes he wants.

"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 nobody else's--because shoes come by devilish like that will burn your feet." (Hughes 3)

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