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Luella Bates Washington Jones, in Thank You M'am, is a character who reveals contradictory traits. The reader is immediately introduced to an imposing woman, which fact is clear from the contents of her purse where she keeps everything except "hammer and nails." She takes no nonsense and wants to teach the boy a lesson but, at the same time, has compassion and empathy with him.
This leads to an understanding that she is powerful which is reinforced by the boy's efforts to release himself - unsuccessfully - from her grasp. She also has an inner power which can be seen when "Roger looked at the door—looked at the woman—looked at the door—and went to the sink."
Roger wonders whether Luella is going to take him to jail but she has noticed his dirty face and her concern for him is genuine and motherly and "I got a great mind to wash your face for you" makes this clear. She goes on to mention how she would teach him right from wrong if he were her son.
All these characteristics build an image of a strong woman who is not judgemental but helpful and kind-hearted despite her exterior appearance.
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