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Thank You Ma'am

Elements of Plot

Catherine Kratochvil

on 7 February 2014

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Transcript of Thank You Ma'am

Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones was walking alone at night
Roger, a young teenager, tried to snatch her purse
The strap broke and Mrs. Jones grabbed Roger and wouldn't let him go
Mrs. Jones realizes that Roger doesn't know right from wrong
She dragged Roger down the sidewalk to her house
Mrs. Jones wants Roger to wash his face
Roger tries to struggle free, but is dragged into Mrs. Jones home
There were other people in the large house
She turns Roger loose to go to the sink and wash his face
Rising Action
Roger has the choice to run or stay
He looks at the door, then the sink, and back to the door
Roger decides to stay and learn a lesson
He washes his face
Roger states that there is no one at his house to take care of him
He confesses he wanted a pair of blue suede shoes, so he snatched her pocketbook
Falling Action
Roger learns that Mrs. Jones has made mistakes in her life too
She continues to take care of his needs like a mother would
Roger offers to go to the store for Mrs. Jones
He wants to earn her trust
They sit down to eat together at the table like a family would
Mrs. Jones knows that Roger has learned his lesson so she sets him free
She gives him money to buy the shoes
Roger learns that it is wrong to steal
He thanks Mrs. Jones and she shuts the door in his face
They never see each other again, but Roger will always remember the woman and the lesson he learned
Thank You Ma'am
background of the story
characters, setting, and conflict are introduced
all events that build up to the climax
actions drive characters
tension builds
Rising Action
the most important/critical part of the story
decisions and actions of the characters determine the outcome of the story
events that occur after the conflict
conflict is unraveled
Falling Action
final outcome of the story is revealed
loose ends are usually tied up
Thank you Ma'am
Langston Hughes
o Born February 1, 1902 in Joplin, Missouri
o Best known as a poet
o Devoted his life to writing and teaching
o Wrote sixteen books of poems, two novels, three collections of short stories, four volumes of “editorial” and “documentary” fiction, twenty plays, three autobiographies, and a dozen radio and television scripts.
o His writings were based on things he heard, saw, or lived.
o Died of cancer on May 22, 1967.

Harlem , New York
Dark walkway
Mrs. Jones’ small flat
One room: bedroom, kitchen, living room, bathroom
Late at night

Conflicts in the Story
Man vs. Man
Roger steals Ms. Jones’ purse
Ms. Jones decides to teach Roger a lesson
Roger struggles with accepting kindness and care from Mrs. Jones

Character Analysis
Physical Description
Roger is a young African American teenager between the ages of "..fourteen or fifteen..." He is described as "...frail and willow-wild, in tennis shoes and blue jeans." He is homeless and on his own adding to the unkept and thin physical traits.
Dynamic Character
Roger is a dynamic character who changes through the story. At the beginning of the story, Roger is fueled by greed and a longing to fit in as he tries to steal a purse in order to buy a pair of blue suede shoes which were popular the time. However at the end of the story, he is presented with another opportunity to steal from Ms. Jones; this time he does not. This suggests a growing maturity and empathy for others.
In this story, Roger mentions the fact that he has nobody at home. This suggests that Roger has been left to fend for himself. He accomplishes this by stealing. However while he steals in part out of a necessity, he also steals to feed his personal desires. He tells Mrs. Jones that he was going to steal her purse to buy a pair of blue seude shoes. Despite Roger's moral deficiencies, he appears to be open in his conversation with Mrs. Jones indicating both a respect for her and an understanding of right and wrong.
Emotional Description
Mrs. Luella Bates
Washington Jones
Physical Description
Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is a large African American woman with dark skin and hair. When we first met her, slung across her shoulder is a very large purse in which she carries everything she would ever need.
This character has a very kind heart. She does not want to turn Roger in, but she actually wants to help him and prevent him from making the same mistakes she did. She is very trusting with Roger when she leaves him alone in the room with her purse. This character was very generous to Roger, and she did not expect anything in return.
Secondary Character
She is the secondary character of this story.
Static Character
She character is a static character because her personality does not change throughout the story.
Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is the antagonist of the story. She pushes our protagonist, Roger, to change.
Main Character
Roger is a main character of within the story. The story centers around the interaction of Ms. Jones and him.
Roger is the protagonist of the story.
Conflicts in the Story
Man vs. Self
Roger struggles with wanting something, and choosing between right and wrong to get it

Formal and Informal Language
Throughout the story Hughes plays with formal and informal language. We will be working more with formal and informal language this week, but for now see if you can identify an example of formal language and an example of informal language. Submit your answers to the dropbox for extra credit.
The surroundings or environment in which something exists or takes place
Character Analysis
External Conflict
Internal Conflict
Evaluation of a character's traits, their role in the story, and the conflict(s) they experience.
Traits include descriptions of the character physically and emotionally as well as their motivations for doing things.
Main Character
The primary character of the story.
Supporting Character
The secondary character who interacts with the main character in the story.
The main character: the most important character in a novel, play, story, or other literary work
A person who is an adversary of the protagonist of a drama or other literary work.
Dynamic Character
Static Character
A struggle between a literary or dramatic character and an outside force such as nature or another character, which drives the dramatic action of the plot.

Common examples of external conflict are:
Man vs. Man
Man vs. Nature
Man vs. Society
Man vs. Technology
Man vs. Animal
A psychological struggle within the mind of a literary or dramatic character, the resolution of which creates the plot's suspense.

Example of internal conflict is Man vs. Self
a literary or dramatic character who undergoes little or no inner change; a character who does not grow or develop.
a literary or dramatic character who undergoes an important inner change, as a change in personality or attitude:
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