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“Thank you M’am” by Lanston Hughes Literary Critique Essay

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Updated: Apr 28th, 2020

Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones has an unusual response to being assaulted by Roger. Do you think her response is purposeful? If so, what is she trying to do? Is she successful?

It is indisputable that no one likes thieves of robbers. For peaceful and harmonious existence within societies, many people are called upon to fight various vices, theft and assault inclusive. Hughes’ short story aims at promoting actions of individuals within societies in a bid to eliminating various vices especially in respect to stealing and assaulting others.

Nonetheless, from the story, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones acts unusually with respect to being assaulted by Roger. It is unusual for an individual to treat another person especially one engaged in assault or stealing the way Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones treats Roger after the incident.

This is only possible within a virtual world and not in reality. In reality, it would be expected that such individuals should be disciplined without any mercy. After all, charity begins at home no wonder, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones says, “You ought to be my son. I would teach you right from wrong. Least I can do right now is to wash your face. Are you hungry?” (Hughes).

From the perspective of the whole story, there is no doubt that Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones’ response was purposeful. A purposeful response usually aims at changing the behavior of an individual without inflicting any pain. If pain was inflicted on Roger then it would have been difficult for him to change positively.

In any case, inflicting pain on a child leads to increased intimidation and fear hence making it difficult to change his behavior. Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones treats Roger positively thus creating a room for him to change his behavior. While creating a favorable environment, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones ensures that Roger changes his behavior.

She asserts that, “Well, you didn’t have to snatch my pocketbook to get some suede shoes,” said Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones. “You could of asked me.” (Hughes). This means that she is liberal and understands the plight of children hence her response was purposeful. In addition, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones says that, “Now, here, take this ten dollars and buy yourself some blue suede shoes.

And next time, do not make the mistake of latching onto my pocketbook nor nobody else’s — because shoes come be devilish like that will burn your feet. I got to get my rest now. But I wish you would behave yourself, son, from here on in” (Hughes). In this regards, despite the assault she received from the boy, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones acts positively in changing the behavior of Roger.

Through Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones’ purposeful response, she aims at creating an environment where Roger can change his behavior without any intimidation. Her aim was to change Roger’s behavior without inflicting pain on the child. Even though many people believe in punishments that inflict pain on wrong-doers, it is obvious from the story that other modes of punishment may be effective.

In any case, the story outlines the fact that most wrong-doers engage in various unwarranted behaviors due to their status in life. For instance, Roger is engaged in stealing and assaulting Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones since he wanted suede shoes but had no means of achieving the need. In conclusion, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is very successful in changing the behavior of Roger.

Works Cited

Hughes, Lanston. Thank you M’am. South Croydon, London: Creative Education, 1991.

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