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In this short story by Langston Hughes, teenage Roger attempts to steal a purse from Mrs. Louella Bates Washington Jones. She is a large woman who grabs him before he can take the purse and brings him back to her room in the boardinghouse where she lives.
Over the course of a brief conversation between the two characters, we learn that Roger spends most of his time on the streets, that he has no family at home to wonder where he is. Mrs. Jones, an older woman who works in a hotel beauty salon, cares for Roger in a motherly, non-judgmental way, giving him dinner, making him wash his face, etc. Most importantly, she trusts him, and this makes Roger want to be trustworthy and live up to the vision of himself she shows him is possible.
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