Who are the characters in the short story "Thank You, M'am"?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The two characters in Langston Hughes's short story "Thank You, M'am" are Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones and Roger. Roger is portrayed as a young, naive adolescent who makes the reckless decision to attempt to steal Mrs. Jones's purse as she is walking home alone one evening. In doing so, Roger stumbles to the ground, and Mrs. Jones quickly grips him up and refuses to let go of his collar. Mrs. Jones notices that Roger is frightened and his face is dirty. When Roger mentions that he has not eaten dinner, Mrs. Jones surmises that he has a difficult home life and proceeds to drag him to her house.

Mrs. Jones is depicted as a mature, sympathetic woman who is both benevolent and forgiving. She instructs Roger to wash his face, gives him a warm plate of food, encourages him to make better decisions in life, and gives him ten dollars to buy blue suede shoes at the end of the story.

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bullgatortail eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are only two characters in Langston Hughes' short story, "Thank You, M'am." Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is the woman who fends off a young purse-snatcher and then takes him home for dinner. Mrs. Jones is a hard-working older single woman who lives a simple life barely making ends meet. When Roger, a teenager, tries to take her purse, he is forced to follow her home. She splits her tiny meal with him and sees to it that he cleans himself up. She shows her trust in him by leaving her purse out in the open, believing that Roger is a good person who has merely made a mistake. When she discovers Roger's real reason for trying to steal her purse--to buy a pair of blue suede shoes--she kindly gives him the money to buy them.

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gvansaru | Student

The two characters in this story are Mrs Luella Bates Washington Jones and Roger.