What is the style of the story "Thank you, M'am"?

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

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When we think about this memorable story about the meeting of two mismatched individuals and how this meeting changes the life of one of them forever, one element that is absolutely clear is the simplicity of style which Langston Hughes uses to narrate the tale. Consider the fact that much of the story is written in simple dialogue, using accessible vocabulary and theme and also it is based on a familiar genre. Thus Langston Hughes makes no effort to use a sophisticated level of vocabulary - the story is written in a very down-to-earth style that reflects the rich earthiness of the setting and of both the characters. Consider the following quote:

But the boy's weight and the weight of the purse combined caused him to lose his balance. Instead of taking off full blast as he had hoped, the boy fell on his back on the sidewalk and his legs flew up. The large woman simply turned around and kicked him right square in his blue-jeaned sitter. Then she reached down, picked the boy up by his shirt front, and shook him until his teeth rattled.

Notice the simplicity of phrasing and the vocabulary, combined with some idioms like "full blast" and "in his blue-jeaned sitter." This is a story that we are meant to understand and whose style reflects the simplicity of the theme and the characters involved.

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