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Mrs. Jones has been at work. She is now going home. When Roger tries to snatch her purse, she is exhausted from a long day's work. She takes Roger to her home and feeds him:
While they eat, the woman asks no questions but talks of her work on the late shift at a hotel beauty shop. After they share her small cake, she gives the boy ten dollars for some blue suede shoes and asks him to leave because she needs her rest.
Clearly, Mrs. Jones has been working the late shift at a hotel beauty shop. She has had a long day. She is tired. She is trying to get home. Roger did not realize he was "messin" with the wrong woman. She teaches Roger a lesson. She forever changes his outlook on life. He will always remember Mrs. Jones as a lady who cares.
Hughes uses this touching story to express the difficulty of living on the streets in utter poverty. Mrs. Jones works hard for her money and she is not about to allow a teenage boy to steal her purse without learning a lesson:
Merely alluding to the economic problems that cause widows to work late shifts and parents to leave unemployed teenagers unsupervised, Langston Hughes focuses on the universal power of love and trust in “Thank You, M’am.” Hughes portrays the nobility of common people and the vitality of his African American culture in his works.
She is coming back from her work and is heading towards her house.
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