"Thank You M'am" by Langston Hughes
"It takes two parents to produce a child, 
but it takes an entire village to raise the child."
-African Proverb
What do you think? Should the community have some responsibility in making sure all kids turn out ok? Should raising a child be entirely the parents' job? What about parents who aren't doing their jobs? What about their kids?
Conflict: internal vs. external. What's the difference?
"James Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri. His parents divorced when he was a small child, and his father moved to Mexico. He was raised by his grandmother until he was thirteen, when he moved to Lincoln, Illinois, to live with his mother and her husband, before the family eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio. It was in Lincoln, Illinois, that Hughes began writing poetry. Following graduation, he spent a year in Mexico and a year at Columbia University. During these years, he held odd jobs as an assistant cook, launderer, and a busboy, and travelled to Africa and Europe working as a seaman. In November 1924, he moved to Washington, D.C. Hughes's first book of poetry, The Weary Blues, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1926..." Go  to Poets.org to read more about Langston Hughes, and to sample his poetry...
  1. Roger is...a) a big strong kid, b) just average build, c) thin but muscular, d) weak and delicate,e) fat.
  2. Why might the boy havetold the woman that he would run if she let him go? a) he was afraid of her, b) he knew she wouldn't believe him if he said he wouldn't, c) he figured she wouldn't let him go anyway, d) all of the above, e) none of the above
  3. Roger probably would have gotten away with Mrs. Jones' purse if only...a) he could have run faster,b) Mrs. Jones had not kicked him, c) the purse strap hadn't snapped, d)he were a little sneakier, e) all of the above, f) none of the above.
  4. Roger tried to steal Mrs.Jones' purse because...a) he was hungry and needed money for food, b) forthe excitement, c) he wanted a pair of shoes, d) his family was poor and needed money, e) a and d, f) none of the above.
  5. (quote) What does Mrs.Jones say Roger could have done to get the money instead of trying to steal her purse?
  6. Why does the boy say his face is dirty? a) he hates to wash, b) he has nobody to tell him to wash it, c) he's been sleeping outside, d) the water has been shut off at his house.
  7. Why might Mrs. Jones treatRoger the way she does? a) because she's lonely and needs someone to talkto, b) she was like him as a kid herself, c) she realizes that he needs someone to take care of him and teach him a few things, d) she thinks he needs the money, e) all of the above, e) b and c
  8. Why doesn't Roger runafter she turns him loose, or steal her purse when she leaves him alone with it? a) he thought he might get caught again, b) he didn't want to disappoint Mrs. Jones, c) he realized she was as poor as he was, d) he thought she would call the police.
  9. (2) Read the passage next to the green A. Explain the two conflicts Roger is facing. (internal and external)
  10. Read the poem by Emily Dickinson after the story. (in vain means without any point or purpose.) How is the story related to the poem? a) they're both about broken hearts,b) they're both about a nice person, c) the story's author, Langston Hughes,was a poet too, d) the speaker of the poem wants to do what Mrs. Jonesdid, e) both the poem and the story tell us how we should act.
  11. (2) What if Mrs. Jones had not taken Roger home? How might his life be different?
  12. (2) What would Mrs. Jones probably have to say about the proverb above?
  13. (EC) Imagine that Roger and Mrs. Jones meet ten years after the events of the story. Write a dialogue that they might have.
(Here is a copy of the story.)
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