"Thank You Ma'M" Analysis

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Critical Analysis: Thank you Ma’m

‘Thank you Ma’m’ is a short story written by a male African-American writer, Langston Hughes, around 1930’s where the racism was a big issue in the U.S. society. The story talks about an unexpected meeting between Mrs. Luella Jones Bates Washington Jones, a tough and independent black lady, and Roger, a little poor kid who tries to snatch Mrs. Jones purse. However, he fails and gets caught by Mrs. Jones, but instead of dragging him to a police, she takes him to her home, takes good care of him and kindly gives him some money and a life lesson before letting him go.

Besides the story is very well-known and admired by lots of people around the world because of its meaningful themes and some moral lessons, this short story is also valuable since it would be a great piece of work to be analyzed in terms of literary criticism. According to the story, the most distinctive and outstanding literary theories reflecting from the story are feminist and psychoanalytic criticism.

In this story, the concept of feminism is mainly portrayed via a main female character, Mrs. Jones. However, there are two characteristics of feminism shining from her. The first one is the modern feminism or the deconstructed feminism which focus on the power of women. Mrs. Jones introduces the new role of women which is women do not need to be weak all the time or under controlled by men. According to the story, Mrs. Jones is single and she has her own job. She is far from the power of any men since she is the one who takes care of herself. She can stay alone without any protection from a husband and she can make money by herself. The readers can find this point in the part that says “…Instead, as they ate, she told him about her job in a hotel beauty shop that stayed open late, what the work was like, and how all kind of women came in and out, blondes, red-heads, and Spanish…” Also, she is a real fighter which seems to be obviously different from any...
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