In their initial interactions on the street, Mrs. Jones makes a direct statement regarding Roger. It can apply to him both physically and spiritually: "And your face is dirty. I got a great mind to wash your face for you. Ain’t you got
nobody home to tell you to wash your face?” For Mrs. Jones, this is a critical aspect that must be remedied: "Then it will get washed this evening.” As she drags Roger, this becomes one of her fundamental motivations in working with Roger the way she does.
Mrs. Jones takes Roger to her home. Roger is paralyzed with fear that she is going to turn him over to the authorities. It becomes clear that Mrs. Jones has other ideas for him: "Not with that face, I would not take you nowhere,' said the woman. 'Here I am trying to get home to cook me a bite to eat and you snatch my pocketbook! Maybe, you ain’t been to your supper either, late as it be. Have you?” In order for Roger and her to eat, he must clean up. Mrs. Jones gives Roger a towel to clean himself up before dinner. The implication here is that Roger must clean himself before they can eat. Mrs. Jones attempts to impart something of a traditional family structure in Roger's world. It is evident that he lacks this structure. In the insistence that Roger clean himself up before dinner, Mrs. Jones seeks to impose a traditional structure in Roger's life, if only for an instant. Roger is forced to clean himself and wash up before he eats. Mrs. Jones ensures that his physical cleanliness precedes nourishment, which will precede spiritual redemption.
He had to clean himself up before having dinner.
Roger should tear his bread into a bite-sized piece before eating it.