Thank You Mam by Langston Hughes

Thank You, Ma’am by Langston Hughes | Inspirational Short Story

“Thank You, Ma’am” is a short story written by Langston Hughes. It was first published in 1958 and has since become a classic of American literature. The story is about a young boy named Roger who tries to steal a woman’s purse, but instead of punishing him, she takes him home and teaches him a valuable lesson.

The story takes place in Harlem, New York, during the 1950s. Roger is a young boy who is trying to steal a woman’s purse. The woman, named Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones, is a large, strong woman who is able to stop Roger from running away with her purse. She takes him to her home and begins to ask him why he wants to steal her purse. Roger is initially afraid of her and thinks that she will turn him over to the police, but Mrs. Jones tells him that she has been in his situation before and understands why he did what he did.

Mrs. Jones is a kind and caring woman who is determined to teach Roger a lesson. She tells him that she is going to give him what he wants, which is money, but that he is going to have to earn it by doing something for her. She makes him wash his face and hands, and then she takes him to her home and gives him some food. While he is eating, she tells him about her life and how she has had to work hard for everything that she has. She also tells him that she is going to give him a chance to do the right thing and make something of himself.

After dinner, Mrs. Jones takes Roger to her bedroom and shows him a picture of her son, who died when he was young. She tells Roger that she sees her son in him and that she wants him to make something of himself. She gives him the money that he wanted and tells him to go home and buy the shoes that he wanted. She also tells him that she trusts him and that she expects him to do the right thing with the money.

The story is a powerful commentary on the importance of kindness, compassion, and understanding. Mrs. Jones is able to see beyond Roger’s actions and understand the circumstances that led him to steal her purse. She is able to use her own experiences to teach him a valuable lesson and give him the opportunity to make something of himself. The story also touches on issues of poverty, crime, and the struggles that many people face in urban environments.

The language used in the story is simple and straightforward, but it is also powerful and evocative. Hughes uses imagery and figurative language to create a vivid picture of the characters and their surroundings. For example, he describes Mrs. Jones as “a large woman with a large purse that had everything in it but hammer and nails” and Roger as “a frail-looking boy, around ten or eleven years old.”

The story also has a strong moral message about the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions and making the right choices in life. Roger is initially tempted to steal the purse because he wants to buy a pair of shoes, but he learns that there are better ways to get what he wants. Mrs. Jones teaches him that it is possible to earn what you want through hard work and determination, and that stealing is not the answer.

In conclusion, “Thank You, Ma’am” is a powerful and moving story about the importance of kindness, compassion, and understanding. It is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of redemption. The story continues to be a favorite of readers of all ages, and it serves as a reminder that even the smallest acts of kindness can have a profound impact on the lives of others.