In Langston Hughes's short story "Thank You, Ma'am," the reader meets Mrs. Jones in the opening sentences, describing her as a large figure walking alone at night. Though a woman walking by herself at 11pm might typically suggest vulnerability, in the case of Mrs. Jones, she is an image of physical strength as evidenced by her reaction when the boy tries to steal her purse. Her size combined with her ability to overpower the boy communicates a sense of power that characterizes both her physical person and her personality.
The maternal qualities of Mrs. Jones become apparent when she takes Roger, the boy, back to her home. She insists that he clean up and eat some food, which are both motherly behaviors. She even offers Roger hot cocoa, which is a kind and motherly thing to do, especially as she chooses to look after Roger rather than take him to the police station for attempting to steal her purse.
As well, Mrs. Jones has a serious talk with Roger about his behavior, telling him about her...
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