red and white wall graffiti

Roger, the protagonist in “Thank You M’am,” has a few traits that influence his relationships with others. 

One, he is poor. Two, he is confused. Three, he is grateful.

You can see how he is confused when Mrs Jones brings him into her apartment: 

“He did not trust the woman not to trust him And he did not want to be mistrusted now.“

Confusion or worry comes into play here when they get to the house and he is looking around and he doesn’t know where he was and Mrs. Jones was being nice to him, offering him food and leaving her bag open.

Later, at the end of the story, when Mrs. Jones gives Roger money to buy shoes and lets him go we see that he is grateful:

“The boy wanted to say something else other that ‘Thank you, ma’am’ to Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones, but he couldn’t do so as he turned at the barren stoop and looked back at the large woman in the door. He barely managed to say ‘Thank you’ before she shut the door. And he never saw her again. ‘Thank You Ma’m.’ “ 

Roger’s response here deepens a reader’s sense of his confusion and gratefulness because Mrs. Jones helps him by not taking him to jail and giving him food. This sparks a feeling of how it would be nice if the world was like this. But not a lot of people act this way.

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Youth Voices is an open publishing platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


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