Thank You, M'am Questions and Answers
by Langston Hughes

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Do you think Mrs. Jones is wise or foolish to trust Roger? Why?

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In order to answer the question of whether or not Mrs. Jones is wise or foolish in her trust of Roger in "Thank you M'am," we must consider her motive as to why she makes the decision to trust him. As she is sitting on the day-bed in her home, she says, "I were young once and I wanted things I could not get." She realizes that Roger is expecting her to continue by saying that she didn't try to steal from people. However, she doesn't. She indicates to Roger that she has done things too. She is implying that she makes mistakes as well. Consider Roger's motive for attempting to steal from Mrs. Jones. He desires money for a pair of "blue suede shoes." In Mrs. Jones' mind, it may not be a question of whether her choice to trust him is wise or foolish. She may see her decision to show trust as the only choice because she is capable of putting herself in his "shoes." By trusting him, she is providing him with the choice to be trustworthy.

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Elizabeth Stover, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The question of Mrs. Jones' decision to trust Roger is one of the interpretive questions often discussed when analyzing Langston Hughes' short story "Thank You, M'am."

When analyzing the question of her decision to trust Roger, readers often look at Roger's choice not to attempt to rob her again when Mrs. Jones leaves him alone within arm's reach of her purse and the door. One might say that Roger's choice not to rob her when again given the chance offers proof that her choice to trust him was wise. That is certainly one interpretation.

Looking deeper at the themes of trust, dignity, and integrity that Hughes weaves into the story, one could also say that regardless of the choice Roger made when the purse was again in his reach and her door open, she made the right choice in trusting him because she left him with the choice to choose to have dignity and integrity. One might say that treating him with dignity and offering him the chance to prove he was worthy of her trust and that he had integrity was the best choice she could make.

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