Thank you Ma’am Characters

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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Thank you Ma’am Characters

This essay will provide a character analysis of the main figures in Langston Hughes’s short story “Thank You Ma’am.” It will explore the personalities and motivations of Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones and Roger, examining how their encounter reflects themes of compassion, trust, and transformation. PapersOwl showcases more free essays that are examples of African American.

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Langston Hughes was born in 1902 and grew up in Kansas with his grandparents. He later left his grandparents’ home to live with his mother, but his father had moved to Mexico and was not very involved in his life. Many people who knew Hughes or studied his life have said that this parental neglect could have caused him to be more interested in reading and poetry. His years of loneliness and wondering may have given him the desire to learn about various subjects.

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The two characters in Langston Hughes’ short story “Thank You, M’am” are Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones and Roger. Roger is depicted as a youthful, guileless young adult who settles on the crazy choice to endeavor to take Mrs. Jones’ satchel as she is heading back home alone one evening. In doing as such, Roger staggers to the ground, and Mrs. Jones rapidly holds him up and won’t relinquish his collar. Mrs. Jones sees that Roger is terrified and his face is filthy. At the point when Roger specifies that he has not had supper, Mrs. Jones construes that he has a troublesome home life and continues to drag him to her home.

Mrs. Jones is portrayed as a developed, thoughtful lady who is both considerate and excusing. She trains Roger to wash his face, gives him a warm plate of food, urges him to settle on better choices throughout everyday life, and gives him ten dollars to purchase blue calfskin shoes toward the finish of the story.

Through his poems, Langston Hughes is not afraid to speak boldly about how he believes. It is clear that he has a mission and will not stop working until it is accomplished. Hughes is able to be kind, but a little pushy, to make society see the need in equal rights. He uses many different settings, such as the dinner table and the classroom, to show that this oppression happens everywhere. It brings hardships and does not make sense. Hughes does a good job of convincing the reader why it should not be continued. His persuasive technique is perfect.

The last theme characterized throughout Hughes’ poems is, self-actualization. Self-actualization is defined as the realization of one’s talents and potentialities. The speakers found within Hughes’ poems start in situations where they feel little to no hope or courage. One has argued with a lover, another faces discrimination and a lonesome man struggles with his identity (Ramsey, 1). However, in these poems, Hughes created a narrative that seemed to help the protagonist/speaker achieve a state of self-actualization. An example of this would be how his poems focus on the struggles African Americans face, and the protagonist being able to overcome these struggles.

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Thank You Ma'am Characters. (2021, Apr 29). Retrieved from