Mr. Pathetic

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
It is a character analysis.

Submitted: May 20, 2010

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Submitted: May 20, 2010

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Every day in our lives we pass people on the streets that look disheveled, people who in every way from their dress to their cleanliness, to their signs asking for money make us feel uncomfortable. In the story “Thank you Ma’m” written by Langston Hughes we are introduced to one such person. Roger is a poor teenager who looks like he has no one to care for him and he is so pathetic he tries to steal an old lady’s purse. Roger from “Thank you Ma’m” is one very pathetic boy shown by his appearance, actions, and Mrs. Jones’s reactions to him.

One of the first ways that one can tell that Roger is pathetic is through his appearance. Throughout the story, Roger is described to look very wretched many times. For example, on page 122 it says, “He looked as if he were fourteen or fifteen, frail and willow-wild, in tennis shoes and blue jeans.” The fact that he is described as willow wild would suggest that he is a poor looking boy. This along with the fact that Mrs. Jones said she wouldn’t take him anywhere because his face was so dirty and many other comments about his appearance show that he is a shabby little boy.

Another way that the reader can tell that Roger is a very meager boy is through his actions. There are parts in the story that show through Roger’s actions that he is very desperate. For example, on page 120 it says, “It was about eleven o’ clock at night, and she was walking alone, when a boy ran up behind her and tried to snatch her purse.” Also on page 122 it says that Roger said, “I wanted a pair of blue suede shoes.” Most people do not steal an old woman’s purse so that they can get a pair of shoes. Based on this one action it shows that he is pretty pathetic. The purse snatching among other things that he does in this story show that he is a very sad little boy.

The third way that you can tell that Roger is a pitiful boy is through other character’s reactions. Throughout this story Mrs. Jones says and does some things that prove that Roger is deplorable. For example, on page 122 she said, “You ought to be my son. I would teach you right from wrong. Least I can do right now is wash your face. Are you hungry?” Most people don’t take kids off of the street and try to adopt them unless they look very lowly. The fact that Mrs. Jones tries to teach him right from wrong, adopt him, clean him up, and feed him show that her reaction to his is pathetic.

In conclusion Roger is probably someone you would pass by on the street. Based on his appearance his desperate actions, and lets you know he is a very pathetic little boy. Also through out the other characters reactions you can tell he is a very pitiful little human.  This makes me think people on the street have a story of their own. Hopefully we might be able to take time to try and get to know what happened to them in their life to make them so pathetic. And maybe we could try to help them if we can.



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