What does Roger's appearance tell us about him?  

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Mrs. Washington Jones's demand that Roger wash his face indicates to us his condition.  In sticking with Hughes' commitment to realism, he does not present Roger in a manner that indicates his wealth.  Rather, he shows Roger to be lacking in both spiritual and physical states.  The need to rob the woman is where this spiritual absence is and the physical condition also indicates that there is a need in Roger's life.  He is unclean and unkempt.  The fact that the first thing Mrs. Washington Jones does is demand him to wash up for dinner indicates this, as well.  Roger cleans his face and eats the dinner she cooks for him.  This indicates his condition of being unkempt as well as malnourished.  The sweat that has enveloped him from both running and the aspect of getting caught is another hint that the reader has of his physical appearance, indicating something that needs to be cleaned.

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