Describe the significance of Hughes' description of Mrs. Jones' physicality and personality.

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

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Hughes is deliberate in his description of Mrs. Jones.  She is initially described as a large woman, one through whom the struggles of life are painfully evident.  This is significant because it brings to light how the narratives of the struggle and pain of life have value, something that Roger is gong to learn firsthand by the end of the story.  Hughes describes their initial encounter as one in which she manhandles Roger, a description of the conflict between the old and young and how Hughes feels the former is much more advanced on the path of dialectical maturation than the latter.  Hughes description of Mrs. Jones in her home is one in which there is a sense of the sparseness of the working class, yet one in which there is sharing and community evident.  This is particularly noteworthy because Mrs. Jones recognizes in Roger what she sees in herself.  Mrs. Washington narrates her own experiences in a tone that indicates she recognizes the need for the next generation to do differently and better what hers could not have done.  She is described in terms that almost make her "other - worldly" in how she treats Roger, suggesting that Mrs. Washington understands how her purpose can be to right a wrong for the next generation. In such a description, Hughes is able to point out the significance of the old to the young and the young to the old.


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