Thank You Ma ' Am By Langston Hughes

Decent Essays

“Thank You Ma’am” is an American short story written by Langston Hughes. The story was published in 1958; however, some people, including me, seem to believe that it was written in the 1930’s due to the racial undertones ( 1). Also, Langston wrote many of his short stories in the 1930’s. In the story, a boy named Roger tries to steal a purse from what seems to be a large, African American, elderly lady named Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones. When Roger reaches out and snatches the purse, he loses his balance and falls flat on his back. Mrs. Jones simply gives him a swift kick in the rear and tells him to get up. Then, instead of continuing to beat him, she sees his dirty face, and her motherly instincts resurface. She carries the boy home, makes him wash his face, cooks him a hot meal, and then gives him the money that he was trying to steal. Why she does this, I do not quite understand, but the traits such as her size, strength, name, and motherly instincts may provide the reader with a clear explanation of the woman Langston Hughes was portraying throughout this story as well as provide insight as to why others have seen the character as a symbolic feature of slavery.
The story repetitively states that Mrs. Jones is a large woman which is very significant to the story. For instance, one quote says, “She was a large woman with a large purse that had everything in it but hammer and nails” (Hughes 1). I imagine her to be a big woman with long,

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