"Thank You Ma'am" is a story about a young boy named Roger who tries to steal a purse from a woman named Luella Bates Washington Jones. After sending Roger flying onto the sidewalk, Mrs. Jones picks him up, takes him home, cleans him up, feeds him and gives him the money he tried to steal. As the boy leaves, he wants to say, "Thank you, ma'am," but cannot.Continue Reading
According to the American Literature website, though the characters are obviously African-American, the story is more about morality than racial inequality. The poverty of the characters is accentuated, and Hughes brings out compassion and decency that transcends barriers such as race, class, age and finances.
According to Encyclopædia Britannica, Langston Hughes was one of the most important chroniclers of the American black experience. He was 23 years old when, after showing some of his poems to American poet Vachel Lindsay, his work began to reach a wide audience. Awards and book publications followed. Hughes published not only collections of short stories, but also poetry, novels, plays and an autobiography. He is regarded as one of the most important black writers and a key figure of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. He died of prostate cancer in 1967, but his work continues to be popular all over the world.Learn more about Literature
"The Wife of Bath's Tale," from Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," is an exemplum, a story that disguises a polemic with serious political and religious undertones as a farcical portrait of a bawdy woman. The subtext of the story is that the Wife is deeply heretical for insisting on her rights in the face of official oppression from the religious and secular authorities of the day.Full Answer >
Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" is a short story written in terse paragraphs in order to reflect just an hour of a woman's experience believing her husband has died. The structure mirrors the brief but intense moments in which the protagonist, Louise Mallard, imagines life newly independent. Throughout the story, Chopin repeats words, such as "open" and "free," to emphasize Louise's shocking sentiments.Full Answer >
In O. Henry's well-known short story "The Gift of the Magi," a woman sells her hair to buy her husband a watch chain, and her husband sells his watch to buy his wife hair combs. The story was first published in 1906.Full Answer >
"Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief" tells the story of a young amateur detective who sees a thief steal from a woman's purse through her binoculars and sets out to solve the crime after the police do not believe her. Interwoven through the mystery is the additional intrigue of Sammy's unique and eventful personal life.Full Answer >