What are the themes of "Thank You, M'am"?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Several of the themes explored by author Langston Hughes in his short story "Thank You, M'am" include those of forgiveness, love and trust, and respect for human dignity. After Roger fails in his attempt to snatch the purse of the imposing Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones, she chooses not to call the police; instead, she drags him to her tiny apartment and provides him with a chance to clean himself and then feed him. She shares her meager meal with him, and then turns her back, leaving her precious purse in plain view with the door wide open. In doing so, she shows her trusting nature, providing Roger with a second chance--to either grab the money and run or remain to face the consequences. She takes the time to find out a little about Roger and shows her concern for him being out alone on the streets so late at night. She treats him with respect and, in the end, even provides him with the money to buy the blue suede shoes he so desires. Roger leaves the apartment realizing he has been given a second chance; that he has been honorably treated, and that he has been forgiven by the woman for his misdeed.

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