Thank You Ma’am: Attempted Robbery was Necessary

By Chase, Class of 2023

The theme of “Thank You, Ma’am” by Langston Hughes is greatly affected by Roger wanting to steal Mrs. Jones’ purse. The theme is You can learn from your mistakes. For example, Mrs. Jones said, “I have done things, too, which I would not tell you, son, neither tell God, it he hadn’t already knew.” This shows that Mrs. Jones made mistakes like Roger and doesn’t want to admit them. If the conflict did not happen, Roger would have never learned from his mistakes. Also, Mrs. Jones took Roger to her home and had his face washed and got him to run a comb to brighten his appearance. The event only happened due to the initial conflict in the story; the conflict allowed Roger to know that someone out there cared for him.


Teacher Note: #PocomokeScholars worked with RL.6.2 and determined the theme of the text. Using a graphic organizer, #PocomokeScholars responded to the prompt below.

  • In the short story “Thank You, Ma’am,” the author describes how one conflict has a positive impact on Roger’s life. How does the conflict of “Thank You, Ma’am” affect the theme of the story?
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