Download Thank You, M'am Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Merely alluding to the economic problems that cause widows to work late shifts and parents to leave unemployed teenagers unsupervised, Langston Hughes focuses on the universal power of love and trust in “Thank You, M’am.” Hughes portrays the nobility of common people and the vitality of his African American culture in his works. Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones, whose name ironically recognizes both the slavery codes of the founders of the United States and the dignity of the common person, gives spiritual and physical gifts to the young boy.

This large woman first recognizes the dignity of the boy’s...

(The entire section is 210 words.)