What Is The Theme Of Forgiveness In Thank You Ma Am

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“Thank You, Ma’am” By Langston Hughes
Paul Lewis Boess once said, “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” This phenomenon is beautifully played out in the short story “Thank you, Ma’am,” by Langston Hughes where readers see a problematic youngster benefit from the forgiveness of a warm-hearted woman named Mrs. Jones. In the story, Roger, the young boy, tries and fails to steal Mrs. Jones’s purse. Instead of chastising the young man and calling the police on him, Mrs. Jones decides to show instantaneous affection and care for the young boy. By the end of this tale, one is assured that this immediate care and forgiveness has forever changed Roger and opened his eyes to better paths. Hughes utilizes the unique resolution in this story to express how sincere forgiveness, accompanied by generosity, mutual trust, and sacrifice can completely realign the future’s path.
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The story begins with Roger attempting to steal Mrs. Jones’s purse, but the forgiveness that Mrs. Jones generously hands out catches the young boy off guard. The reason Roger is unable to steal the purse is because he is so surprised by Mrs. Jones’s behavior. However, this generosity in Mrs. Jones’s heart not only saves her purse the first time, but it’s later revealed that Roger would not consider stealing her purse ever again after he’s been introduced to such kindness. On the contrary, Roger “ - wanted to say something more than ‘thank you, Ma’am,” (Hughes, 172-173) to display his gratitude and changed ways. This quote leads the reader to believe that Roger felt some type of moral obligation to treat Mrs. Jones with generous amounts of kindness as it was the correct way to reciprocate her acts of forgiveness and kindness. Generosity is what one would consider the perfect cure to the outer wound in these characters’
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