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Thank You Ma’am | Questions and Answers, D.A.Q (Part – IV)

Thank You Ma’am D.A.Q (Part – IV)

Thank You Ma’am D.A.Q (Part – IV)

Langston Hughes' short story, "Thank You, Ma'am" carries themes of compassion, redemption, and the transformative power of human connection. It reminds us of the potential to positively influence others through empathy and understanding.

    Q. “Do you need somebody to go to the store?”

    - Who is the speaker? To whom did the speaker say this? What did the speaker want to go to the store? What did they have in supper?

     Answer: The speaker of the line quoted above is Roger, who attempted to steal the purse of Mrs. Jones.

     The speaker said this to Mrs Luella Bates Washington Jones who was cooking supper.

    Roger was so touched by Mrs. Jones’ motherly affection that he wished to earn a place in her heart by extending his helping hand. Hence he asked her if she needed someone to go to the store maybe to get some milk or any other thing.

    Mrs. Jones heated some Lima beans and ham she had in the ice box, made cocoa out of canned milk and got Roger ½ of her ten-cent cake. The two are all these in supper.

    Q. Describe Mrs Jones’ room as seen through the eyes of Roger.

    Answer: Mrs. Jones’ house was a fairly big one with a hall and several rooms. The room where she took Roger was a kitchenette – a large furnished chamber at the back of the house. Mrs jones lived alone in one room. She had everything she needed in that room and did all work herself. Mrs. Jones’ room had a daybed at one side, a wash basin, a mirror and toiletries on the other side. In another corner of the room, behind a screen was a gas plate, an ice box and a dining table. The rest of the house was occupied by the other roomers and their laughter as well as talking could be heard from the kitchenette.

    Q. “Eat some more son” – who is the speaker?

    What is offered by the speaker to the listener? What picture of the speaker's character is revealed in this line?

    Answer: Here, the speaker is Mrs Luella Bates Washington Jones.

    Roger is offered some Lima beans, ham, coca made out of canned milk and half of her 10 cent cake by Mrs. Jones.

    Mrs. Jones is a strong lady with a kind heart. The line quoted above reveals the motherly instinct in her. She addresses Roger as son and requests him to eat some more. She does not inquire about Roger’s background because she does not want to embarrass him. Rather, she shares the details of her workplace with Roger to make him feel at home. She teaches Roger to differences between right and wrong in her own unique way. Her strict attitude towards misdeeds, combined with her love and care makes Roger’s transformations possible.

    Q. What did the woman do with Roger after having taken him to her house?

    What did Mrs. Jones and Roger talk about while eating supper? What did the lady say after finishing the meal?

    Answer: Taking Roger to her house, Mrs. Jones asked him to wash his dirty face and comb his hair to look presentable. The kind lady said to the boy that he could have just asked her for the money instead of trying to steal. Mrs. Jones revealed Roger that in her youth she too had been involved in mistakes to get things of her choice. Perhaps this was the reason why she understood the boy’s situation and decided to reform him herself instead of handing him over to the police. She cooked for Roger and fed him with motherly care. As they ate, she did not embarrass Roger by asking about his background. Rather, she talked about her workplace. She gave the boy $10 to buy himself a pair of blue suede shoes.

    While eating supper Mrs. Jones told Roger that she worked in a hotel beauty shop that stayed open till late at night. She informed him about the nature of her work. She gave description of all kinds of women who came to the shop. Among them some were blondes; some were redheads, while others were Spanish.

     After finishing the meal, the lady gave the boy money to fulfill his wish. Thereafter, she advised him to follow the right path in life as things secured by dishonest means never bring peace to anyone. She also instructed the boy to behave himself in future and not steal any body else’s goods. Finally after wishing him “goodnight!” she shut the door of her house.

    Q. “.....because shoes come by devils like that will burn your feet.”

    - Who is the speaker here? Whom was it spoken to? When did the speaker say these? What does the statement mean? What followed next?

     Answer: Here the speaker is Mrs Luella Bates Washington Jones.

     Mrs. Jones said the above quoted lines to Roger.

     After they finished having dinner, Mrs Jones gave roger $10 to buy his long desired blue suede shoes. She advised Roger not to make the mistake of stealing hearts or anybody else’s goods.

    The statement means that things earned by dishonest means never bring peace to anyone.

    Next Mrs. Jones told Roger that it was time for her to take some rest and addressing him as soon instructed him to behave himself by not getting involved in any kind of mistake in future. She wished him goodnight and let him down the hall to the front door. Despite wanting to save more than just 'Thank you ma’am’, Roger managed to say only ‘thank you' before Mrs. Jones closed the door and she never saw her again.

    Q. Why did the boy want to thank the woman?

    Why could not the boy say anything else other than “thank you ma’am” to Mrs. Jones?

    Answer: When Roger was caught red handed trying to snatch Mrs. Jones’ pocketbook, he thought that the woman would hand him over to the police. But, instead of sending him to jail, the large lady brought the teenager home and made him feel just like her own son. Her concern for him and her sympathy for his helpless condition touched Roger’s soul.

    Mrs. Jones made Roger wash his dirty face. She showed her trust on the boy by keeping her purse on the daybed while Roger was all alone in the room. She cooked for him and shared her ten-cent cake with him. The boy was fed with motherly care by her. The lady did not embarrass the boy by asking any personal question.

    She also gave the boy $10 to buy the pair of blue suede shoes for which he wanted to steal. Mrs. Jones also gave Roger the valuable piece of advice that things obtained by dishonest means rain once mental peace. Mrs. Jones’ caring attitude and proper guidance changed Roger’s outlook towards life and brought about his transformation. The kindness Roger received from Mrs. Jones, made him respect her and feel grateful to her. Hence, he wanted to thank the woman.

    Roger was overwhelmed with emotion and Mrs. Jones who was extremely tough did not allow the boy to say anything else other than “thank you ma’am” by shutting the door after wishing him goodnight. He never showed Mrs. Jones again.

    *****

    Read also:

    ๐Ÿ‘‰ Thank You Ma’am | D.A.Q. (Part – I)  

    ๐Ÿ‘‰ Thank You Ma’am | D.A.Q. (Part – II)  

    ๐Ÿ‘‰ Thank You Ma’am | D.A.Q. (Part – III)  

    ๐Ÿ‘‰ The Eyes Have It | D.A.Q. (Part – 01)  

    ๐Ÿ‘‰ The Three Questions | D.A.Q. (Marks – 05) 

    ๐Ÿ‘‰ Strong Roots | D.A.Q. (Marks – 05)  

    ๐Ÿ‘‰ On Killing a Tree | D.A.Q. (Part – 01) 

    ๐Ÿ‘‰ The Poetry of Earth | D.A.Q. (Marks – 05) 

    ๐Ÿ‘‰ Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day ( Sonnet 18 ) | D.A.Q. (Marks – 05) 

    ๐Ÿ‘‰ Asleep in the Valley | D.A.Q. (Marks – 05) 

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