There are two characters in this great story by Langston Hughes. The first is Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones, and the second is her would-be assailant, Roger.
The first thing we learn about Luella is that she's tough. When Roger tries to snatch her purse, he comes off second best, lying flat on his back on the sidewalk and being kicked "right square in his blue-jeaned sitter." The second thing we learn is that she is scared of nothing. Instead of screaming or running from the youth who tried to attack her, she asks him whether he is ashamed of himself.
Thirdly, we learn that she is extremely maternal. There aren't many people who would criticize someone who just attacked them for having a dirty face. The last trait I will mention about Luella is that she is extremely kind and generous. Not only does she ensure that Roger gets a good meal before he leaves, but she also gives him the money to buy the suede shoes that he wanted.
When it comes to Roger, the first and obvious character trait is slyness and a lack of respect for the law. Over and above this, however, he is shown to be a young man capable of change. After washing his face, Roger realizes that he has the opportunity to run, but he does not. Further evidence of this is that Hughes tells us that he does not want Luella to mistrust him. While it is an odd thing to say about a thief, he is also respectful. When Luella starts asking him questions, he answers her, rather than running away, swearing at her, or making a second attempt to rob her.