Thank You M'Am

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Joe Fuchs9-25-08
Short LiteratureMr. Brannigan

The setting of the short story, Thank You, M’am by Langston Hughes, takes places during the early 1900s. There is a large woman named Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones and a young boy named Roger. Both characters are the protagonists. The one main character, Roger, can be viewed as both a dynamic character and a stereotype. The story starts off with Roger trying to steal Mrs. Jones’ pocketbook, but he is caught and then gets threatened by her. She decides to take him back to her apartment instead of calling the police. Roger explains that he is in need of money to buy a pair of shoes. Mrs. Jones understands where he is coming from and she relates to him by saying, “I were young once and I wanted things I could not get.” At the end of the discussion, she gives Roger the money to buy a pair of shoes, and never sees him again.

A dynamic character is defined as one who experiences change. Roger can be considered one because he changes from the exposition of the story to the resolution of the story. In the beginning, he wanted to steal the pocketbook and was a mischievous kid. However, when he gets taken back to Mrs. Jones’ apartment he becomes a different person. Roger faced some choices in her apartment, but he chose to do the right things. He first had the option to run out her door when she leaves the room, but he decided not to. Mrs. Jones also left her pocketbook on her bed, but Roger did not take it. At that point, he realized that she just wanted to help him become a better person. When she gave him the money at the end, he was delighted and managed to say, “Thank you, m’am.” In my opinion, she does this as a way to teach him a lesson. The lesson in this case may be that if you are in search of something you want, stealing is not a good decision, and that there are people out there to help you.

Not only is Roger a dynamic character because he faces change, but he can...
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