How does the setting of Mrs. Jones's home—her furnished room, the gas plate, the ten-cent cake, the noisy tenement—contribute to your sense of who she is in "Thank You, M'am"?

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Based on the description of Mrs. Jones's home, it is apparent that her living situation is humble at best. She does not live an extravagant lifestyle, as the furnishings of her home indicate. She does not own a proper stove, but rather a gas plate. The room that houses the...

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Based on the description of Mrs. Jones's home, it is apparent that her living situation is humble at best. She does not live an extravagant lifestyle, as the furnishings of her home indicate. She does not own a proper stove, but rather a gas plate. The room that houses the kitchenette is also where her bed is stored. As soon as Roger and Mrs. Jones enter her home, they immediately hear the chatter of other individuals who reside within the house. It seems that Mrs. Jones is not a homeowner, but rather rents the house along with her other roommates.

It is evident that Mrs. Jones lives a meager lifestyle. She does not earn a high income from her job at a beauty salon. However, she displays kindheartedness and generosity in spite of her modest circumstances. She does not hesitate to welcome Roger, a complete stranger who attempted to steal her pocketbook, into her home and offer him supper. She even admits that she has committed unspeakable crimes in her past due to her impoverished circumstances, which explains her empathy toward Roger. Overall, Mrs. Jones is a sensible woman with a strong sense of morality.

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One of the major themes in this story is that people should retain their dignity and their morals even in trying circumstances such as poverty.  This is what Mrs. Jones is trying to teach Roger -- she is trying to give him the sense that he can be trusted, that he has dignity.  The aspects of her home that you mention reinforce this theme -- they show us that she, herself, is not well-off.  Even so, she retains immense dignity.

All of the things you mention are things that show that Mrs. Jones lives in very modest circumstances.  She only has a hot plate -- not a real stove.  She is eating ham and lima beans and cheap cake.  She cooks in a screened off corner of her room, not in a kitchen.  She is clearly not very wealthy at all.  Even so, she is clearly a very moral woman who retains her dignity and values.

By putting Mrs. Jones in such a modest home, Hughes emphasizes the fact that she is living her life the way she wants Roger to live his.

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Langston Hughes' short story “Thank You, M'am” is a lot like his poetry, nothing pretentious or overdone, just good straightforward writing that paints a picture of ordinary people trying to find meaning in their lives.

Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones has quite a name for a down-to-earth woman. When she apprehends young Roger in the act of trying to steal her purse, she drags him back to her apartment. Like many good writers, Hughes then uses this setting to characterize his protagonist.

The details you mention, the gas plate, the ten-cent cake, the fact that the apartment is furnished, all point to the fact that Mrs. Jones is a woman of limited means. Her financial situation makes her subsequent generosity with Roger more meaningful. Despite that fact that she doesn't have much, she's willing to give food, and ten dollars, to a kid who tried to rob her. This is no small act of kindness on her part.

The reader can easily imagine that Mrs. Jones' lifestyle is austere. She probably has few possessions, and what she does have is not particularly valuable. But, like the name she goes by, she is a big person in other ways.

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