It is clear that Mrs. Jones is not rich. She is working late at night:
It is eleven o’clock at night as a large woman carrying a large purse slung over her shoulder walks down a deserted city street.
After Roger tries to take her purse, he falls. She proceeds to take Roger to her home. There she warms up Lima beans and ham on a hot plate. She does not even have a stove. The apartment she lives in does not have dividers between the living room and the kitchen. She steps behind a screen to warm the food.
No doubt, Mrs. Jones struggles herself to survive. She does give Roger some money, only ten dollars, but most likely she gave out of her own need.
If Mrs. Jones were rich, she would not be working the late shift at the hotel beauty salon. She is tired from working hard. If she were rich, she would not need to work the late shift at the hotel beauty salon.
Also, Mrs. Jones shares her small cake with Roger. If she were rich, she would have had more cake to share with Roger:
After they share her small cake, she gives the boy ten dollars for some blue suede shoes and asks him to leave because she needs her rest.
No doubt, Mrs. Jones gives Roger ten dollars out her own necessity. She is trying to make a lasting impression on Roger. She is teaching him to not take things that do not belong to him.
Truly, Mrs. Jones lives in a meager setting. She does not have fancy food or bountiful desserts. She is far from being rich:
Merely alluding to the economic problems that cause widows to work late shifts and parents to leave unemployed teenagers unsupervised, Langston Hughes focuses on the universal power of love and trust in “Thank You, M’am.”
Out of the abundance of spiritual and nurturing care, Mrs. Jones teaches Roger a lesson he will not soon forget:
Hughes portrays the nobility of common people and the vitality of his African American culture in his works. Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones, whose name ironically recognizes both the slavery codes of the founders of the United States and the dignity of the common person, gives spiritual and physical gifts to the young boy.
Mrs Jones was not a rich lady she worked late at night.She lived in a one room apartment.All the things in her room were old.She shared a simple meal with Roger and couldn't afford a very expensive cake for dessert.