Symbolically, what's interesting about Hughes' description of Mrs. Jones' purse?

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As stated previously, the woman and her purse are the first things mentioned and described in Hughes's "Thank you, Ma'am" which shows their weighty importance in this allegory about family. The sentence "She was a large woman with a large purse that had everything in it but hammer and nails" represents the strength and power of the mother figure that is Mrs. Jones. While women are often portrayed in literature as weak and passive, Hughes portrays Mrs. Jones as strong, independent, and able-bodied. She represents the matriarch of the household in black culture whose role is to be the rock or foundation of the family. Instead of punishing Roger by calling the police, she realizes that he needs a role model and a lesson in mutual respect. The large size and weight of the purse also points to Roger's youth and innocence. Although he is trying to commit a crime, his choice in Mrs. Jones and her giant purse as his target reveal that he is inexperienced and desperate. This is one of the...

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