Thank You, Ma’am: Summary, extras, MCQs
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Get notes, line-by-line explanation, summary, questions and answers, critical analysis, word meanings, extras, and pdf of the story Thank You, Ma’am by Langston Hughes which is part of ISC Class 11 English (Prism), NBSE Class 11 English, and BSEM Class 9 English. However, the notes should only be treated for references and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.
One late night, a large woman named Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones was walking alone when a boy tried to snatch her purse. The boy fell, and Mrs. Jones caught him. Instead of letting him go or calling the police, she decided to teach him a lesson.
She took the boy, whose name is Roger, to her home. She asked him to wash his face and then prepared a meal for both of them. During the meal, she didn’t ask Roger about his personal life to avoid embarrassing him. Instead, she shared stories about her job at a hotel beauty shop.
Roger revealed that he tried to steal her purse because he wanted to buy a pair of blue suede shoes. Mrs. Jones told him that he could have asked her for help instead of trying to steal. After they finished eating, Mrs. Jones gave Roger ten dollars to buy the shoes he wanted. She advised him not to steal again and wished him to behave better in the future.
In the end, Roger wanted to express his gratitude and feelings to Mrs. Jones but could only manage to say “Thank you” before she shut the door. He never saw her again after that night.
Additional questions and answers
1. What did the boy try to do to Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones?
Answer: The boy tried to snatch Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones’ purse.
2. How did Mrs. Jones react when the boy tried to snatch her purse?
Answer: Mrs. Jones reacted by turning around and kicking the boy. Then she picked him up by his shirt front and shook him. She made him pick up her purse and asked him if he was ashamed of himself.
3. Why did the boy want to snatch Mrs. Jones’ purse?
Answer: The boy wanted to snatch Mrs. Jones’ purse because he wanted a pair of blue suede shoes.
4. What did Mrs. Jones do with the boy after catching him?
Answer: After catching the boy, Mrs. Jones took him to her house. She made him wash his face and then prepared a meal for both of them. She didn’t ask him any questions that would embarrass him. Instead, they ate together, and she told him about her job. After they finished eating, she gave him ten dollars to buy the blue suede shoes he wanted. She advised him not to snatch anyone’s purse in the future and wished him to behave well. Finally, she led him to the front door and bid him goodnight.
5. How did the boy react when he was taken to Mrs. Jones’ house?
Answer: When the boy was taken to Mrs. Jones’ house, he was initially scared and confused. He was unsure of what was going to happen next. When Mrs. Jones asked him to wash his face, he did so. He was cautious and sat on the far side of the room, where he thought Mrs. Jones could easily see him. He did not trust Mrs. Jones not to trust him, and he did not want to be mistrusted. He even offered to go to the store for her. As they ate together, he listened to Mrs. Jones talk about her job and ate the food she prepared. He was polite and cooperative throughout the experience.
6. What did Mrs. Jones ask the boy to do at her house?
Answer: At her house, Mrs. Jones asked the boy, Roger, to wash his face. She also asked him to sit down while she prepared something for them to eat.
7. What did Mrs. Jones and the boy do together at her house?
Answer: At her house, Mrs. Jones and the boy, Roger, ate a meal together. Mrs. Jones prepared the meal, which included lima beans, ham, and cocoa. They sat and ate together, during which Mrs. Jones told Roger about her job. After they finished eating, Mrs. Jones gave Roger ten dollars.
8. What did Mrs. Jones tell the boy about her job?
Answer: Mrs. Jones told the boy, Roger, that she works in a hotel beauty-shop that stays open late. She described the work and mentioned that all kinds of women, including blondes, red-heads, and Spanish women, come in and out of the shop.
9. Why did Mrs. Jones give the boy ten dollars?
Answer: Mrs. Jones gave the boy ten dollars to buy the blue suede shoes that he wanted. She did this after they had a meal together and she had learned about his desire for these shoes.
10. What advice did Mrs. Jones give to the boy before he left?
Answer: Before the boy left, Mrs. Jones advised him not to make the mistake of snatching her pocketbook or anyone else’s in the future. She warned him that shoes obtained in such a dishonest way would “burn his feet.” She also expressed her wish for him to behave himself from that point forward.
11. How did the boy feel when he was leaving Mrs. Jones’ house?
Answer: When the boy, Roger, was leaving Mrs. Jones’ house, he felt a mix of emotions. He wanted to express his gratitude and feelings to Mrs. Jones but could only manage to say “Thank you” before she shut the door. He was likely feeling grateful, surprised, and perhaps a bit overwhelmed by Mrs. Jones’ kindness and understanding.
12. How does the interaction between Mrs. Jones and Roger reflect on societal issues such as poverty and crime?
Answer: The interaction between Mrs. Jones and Roger reflects societal issues such as poverty and crime in several ways. Roger, a young boy, attempts to steal Mrs. Jones’ purse because he wants a pair of blue suede shoes, indicating that he might be living in poverty and can’t afford them. His decision to resort to theft suggests a lack of guidance and support in his life, which is often a contributing factor to juvenile delinquency. Mrs. Jones, instead of reacting with anger or fear, chooses to respond with understanding and kindness. She feeds Roger, talks to him about her life, and even gives him the money to buy the shoes he wants. This unusual response challenges the typical punitive approach to crime and suggests that understanding and compassion might be more effective in addressing the root causes of criminal behavior, such as poverty and lack of support.
13. What is the significance of the blue suede shoes in the story? What do they represent?
Answer: The blue suede shoes in the story hold significant symbolic value. They represent Roger’s desires and dreams, things he wants but cannot afford due to his economic situation. The shoes could also symbolize the societal pressures and materialistic desires that can lead individuals, especially those living in poverty, to resort to theft or other criminal activities. When Mrs. Jones gives Roger the money to buy the shoes, it signifies her understanding of his situation and her belief that kindness and empathy can be more effective than punishment in guiding young people towards the right path.
14. How does the author use the character of Roger to explore themes of youth and morality?
Answer: The author uses the character of Roger to explore themes of youth and morality in a nuanced way. Roger, a young boy, is initially portrayed as a thief who tries to steal Mrs. Jones’ purse. However, as the story progresses, we see that Roger’s actions are driven more by his circumstances (poverty, lack of guidance) than by inherent immorality. His interaction with Mrs. Jones, who treats him with kindness and understanding instead of punishing him, leads to a transformation in Roger. He begins to trust Mrs. Jones, respects her home, and even offers to run errands for her. By the end of the story, Roger’s gratitude towards Mrs. Jones suggests that he has learned a valuable lesson about right and wrong. This character arc underscores the idea that youth is a time of learning and growth, and that moral development is often shaped by our interactions with others.
15. How does Mrs. Jones’ reaction to Roger’s attempted theft challenge conventional responses to crime?
Answer: Mrs. Jones’ reaction to Roger’s attempted theft significantly challenges conventional responses to crime. Instead of calling the police or punishing Roger immediately, Mrs. Jones chooses to understand the boy’s situation and help him. She takes him to her home, feeds him, and even gives him the money to buy the shoes he wanted. Her response is rooted in empathy and understanding, rather than retribution. This approach challenges the conventional punitive approach to crime, suggesting that compassion and understanding can be more effective in addressing the root causes of criminal behavior. It also underscores the idea that individuals, especially young ones, can change and learn from their mistakes when given the right guidance and support.
16. How does the story explore the theme of empathy and understanding?
Answer: The story explores the theme of empathy and understanding through the character of Mrs. Jones and her interaction with Roger. When Roger attempts to steal her purse, Mrs. Jones doesn’t react with anger or punishment. Instead, she takes him to her home, feeds him, and listens to his story. She understands that Roger’s actions are driven by his circumstances, and she chooses to respond with kindness and understanding. She even gives him the money to buy the shoes he wanted, showing empathy for his desires and his situation. This empathetic approach leads to a transformation in Roger, who starts to trust Mrs. Jones and learns a valuable lesson about right and wrong.
17. What does the ending of the story suggest about the impact of Mrs. Jones’ actions on Roger’s future behavior?
Answer: The ending of the story suggests that Mrs. Jones’ actions had a profound impact on Roger’s future behavior. After their interaction, Roger is left with a sense of gratitude and perhaps a newfound understanding of empathy and kindness. He wanted to express his feelings to Mrs. Jones but could only manage to say “Thank you” before she shut the door. This implies that Roger was deeply affected by Mrs. Jones’ kindness and understanding, which could likely influence his future actions and decisions. The story suggests that he will remember this encounter and the lessons he learned from it, which could deter him from resorting to theft in the future.
18. Why do you think Roger decided not to run away when he had the chance at Mrs. Jones’ house?
Answer: Roger decided not to run away when he had the chance at Mrs. Jones’ house because he started to trust her and didn’t want to betray that trust. The text suggests that Roger was aware that Mrs. Jones was not watching him closely and that she had left her purse within his reach. However, he chose to sit on the far side of the room where he thought she could easily see him, indicating his intention not to run away. This decision reflects a change in Roger’s attitude and behavior, influenced by Mrs. Jones’ kindness and understanding.
19. How do you think the experience with Mrs. Jones might have changed Roger’s perspective on life?
Answer: The experience with Mrs. Jones likely had a significant impact on Roger’s perspective on life. Instead of punishing him for his attempted theft, Mrs. Jones showed him kindness and understanding. She fed him, talked to him about her life, and even gave him the money to buy the shoes he wanted. This unexpected kindness from a stranger might have made Roger rethink his actions and choices. Mrs. Jones’ actions demonstrated that there are people who care and that it’s possible to achieve what one wants without resorting to theft. This experience could have instilled in Roger a new understanding of empathy, kindness, and the importance of making the right choices.
20. How might the story have been different if Mrs. Jones had reacted angrily or fearfully to Roger’s attempted theft?
Answer: If Mrs. Jones had reacted angrily or fearfully to Roger’s attempted theft, the story would have been significantly different. An angry or fearful reaction could have led to Roger being handed over to the police, which would have resulted in a very different outcome for both characters. Instead of learning a valuable lesson about kindness and understanding, Roger might have ended up in juvenile detention or faced other legal consequences. Furthermore, Mrs. Jones’ decision to show kindness and understanding allowed her to have a positive influence on Roger, which might not have been possible if she had reacted differently.
21. Why do you think Mrs. Jones decided to help Roger instead of handing him over to the police?
Answer: Mrs. Jones decided to help Roger instead of handing him over to the police because she saw a chance to teach him a lesson and possibly change his path. She understood that Roger’s actions were driven by his circumstances and needs, and she chose to respond with empathy and understanding. Instead of punishing him, she took him to her home, fed him, and gave him the money to buy the shoes he wanted. She used this opportunity to show him that there are other ways to achieve what one wants without resorting to theft. Her decision to help Roger was driven by her belief in the potential for change and the power of kindness and understanding.
1. What is the name of the woman in the story?
A. Mrs. Luella Bates B. Mrs. Luella Bates Washington C. Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones D. Mrs. Luella Washington Jones
Answer: C. Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones
2. What did Roger try to steal from Mrs. Jones?
A. Her shoes B. Her purse C. Her food D. Her money
Answer: B. Her purse
3. How did Mrs. Jones react when Roger tried to steal her purse?
A. She screamed and ran away B. She called the police C. She kicked him and shook him D. She ignored him and continued walking
Answer: C. She kicked him and shook him
4. What did Mrs. Jones do after she caught Roger?
A. She let him go immediately B. She took him to her house C. She gave him money and sent him away D. She called his parents
Answer: B. She took him to her house
5. What did Mrs. Jones ask Roger to do at her house?
A. To clean the house B. To wash his face C. To cook dinner D. To fix the broken furniture
Answer: B. To wash his face
6. What did Mrs. Jones and Roger do together at her house?
A. They watched a movie B. They ate dinner together C. They played a board game D. They discussed literature
Answer: B. They ate dinner together
7. What did Mrs. Jones tell Roger about her job?
A. She works in a hotel beauty-shop that stays open late B. She is a teacher at a local school C. She is a nurse at a nearby hospital D. She is a lawyer in a big firm
Answer: A. She works in a hotel beauty-shop that stays open late
8. Why did Mrs. Jones give Roger ten dollars?
A. To buy groceries for his family B. To buy himself some blue suede shoes C. To pay for his school fees D. To help him start a small business
Answer: B. To buy himself some blue suede shoes
9. What advice did Mrs. Jones give to Roger before he left?
A. To study hard and get good grades B. To not make the mistake of stealing again C. To respect his elders D. To find a job and work hard
Answer: B. To not make the mistake of stealing again
10. How did Roger feel when he was leaving Mrs. Jones’ house?
A. He felt relieved B. He felt scared C. He felt grateful D. He felt angry
Answer: C. He felt grateful
Fill in the blanks
1. The woman in the story is named ________.
Answer: Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones
2. Roger tried to steal ________ from Mrs. Jones.
Answer: her purse
3. When Roger tried to steal her purse, Mrs. Jones reacted by ________.
Answer: kicking him and then picking him up and shaking him
4. After catching Roger, Mrs. Jones ________.
Answer: took him to her house
5. At her house, Mrs. Jones and Roger ________.
Answer: ate dinner together
6. At the end of their encounter, Mrs. Jones gave Roger ________.
Answer: ten dollars
7. Mrs. Jones told Roger that she worked ________.
Answer: in a hotel beauty-shop that stayed open late
8. Roger wanted to buy ________ with the money he hoped to get from the purse.
Answer: a pair of blue suede shoes
9. When Mrs. Jones gave him the money, Roger said ________.
Answer: “Thank you”
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