What is the thesis statement for "Thank You, M'am"?

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In any essay, short story or novel, there will at least be a thesis statement which will indicate the writer's own perspective and basically present his or her argument in a nutshell. The thesis statement is intended to persuade the reader towards a particular point of view or to reveal the focus of the story. Having read the thesis statement, the reader will have a better idea of what to expect in the story. It usually appears close to the beginning, even in the first paragraph and gives the reader a hint how the writer intends to deal with the theme. 

In Thank You, M'am by Langston Hughes, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones represents an intuitive, compassionate and honest woman who knows the difference between a boy who is nothing more than a thug and one who is in need of some parenting. The story centers on the effects of economic circumstances on young people whose parents (unwittingly or otherwise) neglect their children while out making a living. Mrs. Jones is and has also been affected by her own situation; a woman out working late shifts, trying to make an honest living, and can relate to Roger, recognizing that showing him some kindness and respect will serve a far greater purpose than punishing him.

The thesis statement will:

1. hint at what the reader can expect

2. guide the reader towards interpreting the writer's perspective

3. contribute towards understanding the theme

4. be found close to the beginning

5. give direction 

Therefore, in my opinion, a good thesis statement would be " You ought to be my son. I would teach you right from wrong. Least I can do right now is to wash your face." 

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What is a strong statement about the story "Thank You, M'am"?

The strong statements that come out of Hughes's short story relate to how people can relate to one another.

The first strong statement is that Human beings must show care towards one another.  Mrs. Jones does not have to care for Roger.  She could simply insist that the police get involved or even forget him as she reclaims her purse.  However, she recognizes that if she does not care for him, no one will. When Mrs. Jones says to him that he should be her son because she would help to establish a moral compass within him, it is clear that she understands her responsibility.  The ending where she gives him the money and implores him to make better choices in his life is reflective of how Hughes believes that human beings have to display love for one another.  While the world is difficult to endure, Hughes suggests that it can be better if people relate to one another through compassion.

Another strong statement is that People can be the miracle the world needs.  Mrs. Jones treats Roger fundamentally different than what is expected.  However, Mrs. Jones does not take the form of the world around her.  She feeds him, gives him money, and connects with him as a human being.  Her generosity leaves an impact on him.  While we don't know what is going to happen, we do know that his life has been changed because of Mrs. Jones.  She transforms him because she is different from the rest of the world.  She shows what can be as opposed to what is.  In depicting her as challenging conventional wisdom, Hughes uses Mrs. Jones to remind us that we can be our own miracles when we transform reality.

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