What are Mrs. Jones's character traits in the story "Thank You, M'am"? 

In "Thank You, M'am," Mrs. Jones is depicted as a strong, robust woman, who is tough and nonjudgmental. She is also portrayed as a sympathetic and benevolent woman. During her interactions with Roger, Mrs. Jones is portrayed as a sensitive, understanding person and goes out of her way to make him feel comfortable. She is also thoughtful, kind, and gracious. Mrs. Jones's gift also depicts her as a charitable individual.

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As a result of her behavior throughout the story, Mrs. Jones is revealed to be a strong, compassionate, empathetic, and generous woman who genuinely cares more about Roger’s well-being and character than about punishing him for his momentary bad judgment. She walks home alone at night, evidently prepared with a “large purse that had everything in it but hammer and nails” to fend off attackers. When Roger does accost her and try to steal her purse, she “kicked him right square in his blue-jeaned sitter” and “shook him until his teeth rattled.” This woman is no shrinking violet! She could turn him in to the police or even simply turn him loose and be on her way. His appearance, however, and the late hour seem to convince her to believe that he is actually in need of her help.

Mrs. Jones discovers that he has “nobody [at] home to tell [him] to wish [his] face,” and she takes Roger to her house to clean him up, feed him, and teach him to exercise better judgment. She seems to view this as a moral duty, saying, “Least I can do right now is to wash your face. Are you hungry?” Mrs. Jones’s treatment of Roger shows her compassion, and her admission that she was “young once and […] wanted things [she] could not get” shows her empathy for him. She doesn’t chastise him so much as explain that he “could of asked” her for money for blue suede shoes rather than attempting to rob her. Her good judgment and the respect she shows him, rather than disdain or scorn, seems to pay off because he “did not want to be mistrusted” by her now, and he even offers to run to the store for her.

In the end, when she gifts Roger the money he needs to buy the shoes he desires, she further proves her generosity of spirit.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 9, 2021
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Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is initially depicted as a formidable, tough woman, who defends herself from Roger's attack and quickly apprehends him when he falls to the ground. Mrs. Jones is a strong woman and does not allow Roger to take advantage of her. Instead of releasing Roger, she examines his face, asks him a few questions, and determines that he is a misguided child in need of assistance. Mrs. Jones's decision to drag Roger to her home depicts her as a courageous, helping woman, who is genuinely concerned about his well-being.

Once Mrs. Jones arrives home, she instructs Roger to wash his face while she prepares a meal for him. Mrs. Jones's benevolent actions illustrate her gracious, hospitable personality. Mrs. Jones is also a forgiving woman and does not hold a grudge against Roger for trying to steal her purse. While she sits on the daybed, Mrs. Jones demonstrates her understanding, sensitive nature by showing Roger empathy and refusing to judge him for his actions. She makes Roger feel comfortable by not chastising him and by admitting that she has also "done things" she is not proud of. Before Roger leaves, Mrs. Jones gives him ten dollars to purchase a pair of blue suede shoes, which is a gesture of her kindness and a way to encourage Roger to make better decisions.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 9, 2021
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The first thing we learn about Mrs. Jones is that she's as tough as nails and very brave. Most women, after an attempted mugging, would scream or run away. Mrs. Jones, on the other hand, successfully fights back and inflicts pain on Roger, her attacker.

Perhaps the most interesting thing we learn about Mrs Jones is that, in her tough way, she is an extremely compassionate woman. Having assumed that her attacker must have done what he did because he was hungry, she frog-marches him to her home, where she gives him a meal. It is clear that Roger, by this time, has realized on some level that she is a compassionate woman. When he has the chance to run away, he chooses not to do so.

When Mrs Jones discovers that Roger attempted to rob her so that he would be able to buy a pair of shoes, she admits that she also has made mistakes in the past. This, coupled with the fact that she eventually gives Roger the money he needs to go and buy the shoes, tells us that she regrets the mistakes she made and doesn't want Roger to repeat his mistakes.

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In the short story "Thank You, Ma'am" by Langston Hughes, Mrs. Jones, the main character, demonstrates that she is a tough, yet sincere and honest woman. One of my favorite descriptions of her comes from the very first sentence. Hughes writes, "She was a large woman with a large purse that had everything in it but hammer and nails." 

Immediately after Roger attempted to steal that large purse, Mrs. Jones asked, "Now aren't you ashamed of yourself?" Following her line of questioning, it was clear that Roger just wanted to be let off the hook, but she insisted on teaching him a lesson. This shows that she is tough (but) because she wanted to ensure that Roger would learn from his mistakes and never steal again. 

Just before dragging Roger to her house, Mrs. Jones said, “You ought to be my son. I would teach you right from wrong." When they arrived at her home, she made him clean himself up a bit and even made him some dinner. This shows her as sincere because she almost becomes a motherly figure to Roger; this is especially important, because we learn that he doesn't have any family. By being a role model, Mrs. Jones is one step closer to achieving her goal of ensuring that Roger doesn't make a mistake again. 

Towards the end of the story, Mrs. Jones admits to Roger, "I have done things, too, which I would not tell you, son—neither tell God, if he didn’t already know.” Through this revelation, Mrs. Jones continues to be a role model to Roger by showing him that he doesn't have to continue living the way he does. This makes her an honest person because she didn't have to admit to her past mistakes to him, but by doing so, she was able to connect to him on another level. 

While we know Roger never sees Mrs. Jones again, I think it's safe to bet that she had an influence on the rest of his life due to her tough, compassionate mannerisms. 

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