Carolina Day School

Honors Papers 2021-22

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Campbell 1 Meg Campbell Sims Honors American Lit 28 September 2020 A New Cycle Kindness goes a long way; that is a universal truth. Without kindness, there is nothing; the social contract breaks, and it is anarchy. Nevertheless, a little kindness every day makes all the difference in the world. Langston Hughes' "Thank You, Ma'am" gives an example of what could happen if anger was replaced with understanding, if kindness was extended beyond everyday connections. The story focuses on one night between Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones and a boy named Roger, and what happens when she did just that. Langston Hughes was a writer and poet during the Harlem Renaissance, uniquely noted for incorporating jazz style into his writing, and combining stories of his personal experiences with those of black Americans at the time to write pieces that everyone could relate to. Stories like "Thank You, Ma'am" were real to the audience; they meant something. In Langston Hughes' "Thank You, Ma'am," Mrs. Jones helps break the cycle of delinquency that can lead to greater consequences for Roger, as shown through the broken purse strap, the diction, and the blue suede shoes. Living in a world where it's hard to move from square one creates a vicious cycle that's hard to break. In a world so divided by class and race, those on the bottom rung hardly have the opportunity to climb up the ladder. If the world tells them they cannot move up, all they can do is try to survive however they can in their current area. They are most affected by drugs, obesity

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