“Thank you ma’am question answer”


“Thank You Ma’am”

Langston Hughes

1. Why did Roger try to snatch the purse of Mrs. Luerla Bates Washington Jones?

Answer: Roger, a teen-age poor boy had none at home to look after him. As his tennis shoes did not satisfy him, he wanted to buy a pair of blue suede shoes. But he had no money to buy it. That is why, he tried to snatch the pocket book of Mrs. Jone’s to get money to fulfill his desire when he saw the lady with a large purse walking home alone. Roger probably thought that there was enough money in it to buy him a pair of blue suede shoes. So he took the chance of her loneliness that prevailed at around 11 O’ clock night in order to snatch that Mrs. Jone’s purse.

2. Sketch the character of Roger.

Answer: Langston Hughes presents Roger as a flop stealer. He is poor teenager who lives an awful life. There is nobody to take care of him at home. He has none to tell him what is right and what is wrong. So he grows the habit of stealing and lying. He longs to buy by a pair of blue suede shoes but has no money to buy it. He attempts to steel but he fails to the ground and succumbs to Mrs. Jones. The woman instead of putting him into the jail takes him to home forcefully and tends him properly. She gives him meals and ten dollars to buy blue suede shoes for which he tried to snatch the purse. He realises the maternal feelings of Mrs. Jones. So he does not want to be mistrusted after the kindness shown to him by the lady and express his gratitude. Actually Roger represents a section of society where the poor are born to be exploited and there is none to sympathize with them.

3. What do you know about Luella Bates features of the character/personality of Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones?

Answer: Mrs. Luella Bates, is the central character of the story ‘Thank You Ma’am’. She is smart and alert and has a strong physique. She works in a hotel beauty shop and has to return late at night and lives in a large apartment house. She looks very strong, stern, rigid and resolute. But this is just ‘one side of the coin’. She is an affectionate mother at heart. When she caught Roger snatching her bag, she was very strict with him. But at her home she cared him tenderly and politely. She is a quick discoverer of human character. She is God fearing and possesses moral values and believes that everything obtained by wrong ways will cause one to suffer. She realises that most of the mischiefs are committed out of demand of the situation. She is sympathetic towards Roger. She cooked for the neglected boy and gave him money to buy blue suede shoes. She is actually an embodiment of the thought that ‘Black is beautiful’. Her forgiveness, sensitivity and affection have made her a memorable character.

4. Justify the title of the short story ‘Thank You Ma’am’.

Answer: ‘Thank You Ma’am’ is a wonderful story with a great lesson of life. The title suggests that someone feels grateful for somebody else and thanks him or her. Roger is a poor teenager who has none to guide through the right path of life. The orphan boy tried to snatch the purse of Mrs. Jones but was caught red handed. The women instead of putting the boy into the jail, took him to home forcefully and tended him properly. The boy was overwhelmed by the kindness of the lady. He was deeply gratified when the lady fed him and gave him money to buy his blue suede shoes. She also advised him never to follow the wrong path. The boy was so much moved by the woman’s kind behaviour and motherly affection that he could only utter the words ‘Thank You Ma’am’. So the title ‘Thank You Ma’am’ adequately expresses the overwhelming feelings of a transformed boy. Hence it is apt.

5. ‘And he did not want to be mistrusted…’ – Who is he? Why did not he want to be mistrusted? Or

Why did not Roger run away although he had the opportunity to do so?

Answer: In the story ‘Thank You Ma’am’ he is referred to Roger, a teenage boy.

In ‘Thank You Ma’am’ Roger tried to snatch the purse of Mrs. Jones but was caught red handed. The woman instead of putting him into the jail took him to her home forcefully. At her home she released him completely and asked him to wash his face. The boy looked at the open door several times but decided to walk to the sink. After that she told him to comb his hair and wanted to you know the reason of stealing her purse. When Mrs. Jones was preparing supper he noticed that she had left her purse on bed and kept the door wide open without paying any attention to him. He could easily escape with the purse in this situation. But her kindness, her caring treatment to him, her addressing him as ‘son’ and motherly affection of Mrs. Jones brought a moral change in the honest and simple mind of Roger who is not a professional thief. He stopped himself as he did not want to be mistrusted anymore. So he did not run away despite getting the opportunity to do so.

6. ‘I am very sorry lady I am sorry’ – who is the speaker? What’s the speaker really sorry? When was the speaker a changed person?

Answer: Roger, a 14 or 15 year old boy, is the speaker in Langston Hughes short story ‘Thank You Ma’am’.

In the story ‘Thank You Ma’am’ Roger is a teenager who begs pardon to Mrs. Jones. The boy tried to snatch the purse of Mrs. Jones but was caught red handed by the large woman, Mrs. Jones. She holds him so tightly that the boy could not release himself. He was afraid that she might punish him and finally put him in jail for his misdeed. So out of fear the boy said that he was sorry.

When Mrs. Jones told the boy that he could have asked her for some money to buy a pair of blue suede shoes, he was perplexed. When the women give him 10 dollars and advised him never to follow the wrong path, he was full of gratitude to her. Even though he had committed a crime, the lady was kind and sympathetic to him. The most important was that she trusted him much. He was so much moved by the woman’s kind behaviour and motherly affection that he was speechless, and then Roger transformed into a new person.

7. What happened to Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones when she was walking alone at night? Briefly relate the street accident. / Describe the snatching incident/ describe the first encounter between madam and the boy in the story? How did the lady react when the boy tried to snatch her purse?

Answer: It was about 11 o’clock at night when Mrs. Jones was walking down the street after the service at a hotel beauty shop. She had a large purse, hanging from her shoulder. Suddenly a boy named Roger ran up behind her and tried to snatch her purse. The boy gave it a single tug from behind and the strap broke. But he lost his balance and fell on his back on the sidewalk and his legs flew up. Mrs. Jones got furious, kicked him hard and shook him violently until his teeth begin to rattle. She grabed hold of him through his shirt front so that he cannot escape and made the boy pick up her pocket book. She asked him if he was not ashamed of himself and wanted to know the reason for doing it. Finally, she took him to her house almost forcefully to teach him right from wrong.

8. How did Mrs. Jones entertain her guest that is the snatcher in her house?

Answer: Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones took Roger to her house almost forcefully. Then the women talked to him like a women of great personality. At the same time she told him to go to the sink for washing his face in the tapid water and offered him a clean towel to dry his mouth. The lady told him that she herself had to suffer a lot in her youth. She shared her present working experiences which the boy so that the boy would be quite easy with her. The lady heated some Lima beans and ham and made cocoa. Then she asked the boy lovingly to have his supper. When the boy finished eating, she got up and offered him 10 dollars to buy a pair of blue suede shoes. That’s why, the boy was overwhelmed. The woman also advised him not to commit such misdeed again. Then she bade good bye and let him go away.

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