What is Mrs. Jones' first reaction to Roger's crime?  

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Langston Hughes short story “Thank You, M’am,” Mrs. Jones reacts immediately and physically when Roger attempts to steal her purse. When Roger is stymied by the weight of the pocketbook, he falls to the ground. After he hits the ground, Mrs. Jones gives him a swift kick in his bottom.

But the boy’s weight and the weight of the purse combined caused him to lose his balance so, instead of taking off full blast as he had hoped, the boy fell on his back on the sidewalk, and his legs flew up. the large woman simply turned around and kicked him right square in his blue-jeaned sitter.

She picks him up by the collar, gives him a good shaking, before ordering him to pick up her purse and hand it to her.

While she is holding him by the collar, he decides to run so she places him in a “half-nelson” hold as she drags him back to her rooming house. As they struggle back to the room, Mrs. Jones questions the boy in order to determine why someone his age is out alone on the streets at eleven o’clock at night bothering innocent people.