Thank You M'am, by Langston Hughes and The Storyteller, by H.H. Munro (Saki)

Thank You M'am, by Langston Hughes and The Storyteller, by H.H. Munro (Saki)

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Short stories are temporary portals to another world; there is a plethora of knowledge to learn from the scenario, and lies on top of that knowledge are simple morals. Langston Hughes writes in “Thank You Ma’m” the timeline of a single night in a slum neighborhood of an anonymous city. This “timeline” tells of the unfolding generosities that begin when a teenage boy fails an attempted robbery of Mrs. Jones. An annoyed bachelor on a British train listens to three children their aunt converse rather obnoxiously in Saki’s tale, “The Storyteller”. After a failed story attempt, the bachelor tries his hand at storytelling and gives a wonderfully satisfying, inappropriate story. These stories are laden with humor, but have, like all other stories, an underlying theme. Both themes of these stories are “implied,” and provide an excellent stage to compare and contrast a story on.

Theme is the underlying power beneath a story; the “force” that makes the whole experience worthwhile. Theme is “an idea or message that the writer wishes to convey” (Holt 874). A theme can be either stated or implied. A stated theme is a theme “that the other expresses directly in his work (protic.net); an implied theme is a theme “that is not directly stated in the work” (protic.net). As mentioned before, both of these stories have an implied theme, which now is revealed to mean that the author of the story insinuated it. Themes exist in all stories (verbal or written) and can be long, short, true or false. “Earth people will beat out any other intelligent life-form in any and all competitions” is a theme, but “good always beats evil” is one too. “Once upon a time . . .” stories have themes too, except they are more one-dimensional. For example,...


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...ories, but on a realistic-fiction scenario.

A slum neighborhood located in “Yes, Ma’m” and a brilliant train carriage in “The Storyteller” create the setting for this compare and contrast essay. These short stories are similar in that their themes both focus on negative objects, but play them into a positive light. However, their suggested themes are different in that “Yes Ma’m” tells the reader to not believe in people by where they live, but “The Storyteller” communicates to not judge something based on its formality. Langston Hughes’s “Yes Ma’m” has an implied theme found anywhere, “nice people can be found even in the lowest places on the planet.” Another true theme belonging to Saki’s “The Storyteller,” reads, “Sometimes the most improper story is the best one.” Both main messages are true, and provide a very keen focal point for the reader to enjoy.

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