In Thank You, M'am, why does the author name the woman Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones? A. to show that she has a strong and intimidating presence   B. to make her sound elegant and...

In Thank You, M'am, why does the author name the woman Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones?

A. to show that she has a strong and intimidating presence   B. to make her sound elegant and sophisticated
C. to make sure the boy and the reader won't forget her   D. to show that she was once somebody important  

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In Thank You, M'am by Langston Hughes, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is a lady who has purpose and determination. She does not shy away from responsibility and recognizes the contribution she can make to Roger's future, even though he is a stranger who has just tried to steal her purse. Mrs. Jones may even be able to encourage Roger to change and so she does not hesitate in showing him that she is firm but she also shows kindness and compassion, although at first Roger does not understand her intentions and simply wants to run away, given the chance.

This is a short story and it is important for the author to get his message across in as few words as possible so that his real intention is clear. First, Hughes sets the scene and the reader becomes aware that this "large woman" is returning from her evening shift. Not prepared to part with her "pocketbook," she is spirited and even fearless as she knocks the boy to the ground before he can even register what she is doing. Her immediate assessment of the situation reveals her understanding and when she indicates that she intends to feed him and get him to wash his face, the reader has no doubt as to the type of person she is. 

It is fitting therefore that Hughes now introduces her as Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones. The reader can even sense that she holds her head up when she says it and therefore, C (to make sure the boy and the reader won't forget her) is the best option from the choices available in the question. Mrs. Jones knows that she only has a short space of time in which to make an impact and this ensures that the boy sees that, despite her humble circumstances, she is dignified and honorable. She wants Roger to remember her so that he can have the kind of self-respect he lacks at the moment. The reader has no doubt that Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones has made a difference to Roger's future. 

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