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Analysis of Mrs.jones Character in Thank You, Ma’am

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“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right path, the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” You do not have to steal to get everything you ever wanted. This is shown in the story Thank you, ma’am by Langston Hughes. A young boy named Roger tries to steal the pocketbook of a woman named Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones on the street in a big city. Instead of taking him to jail, she drags him to her home, has him clean up, fixes him dinner, shows him trust, and teaches him a life lesson. Through Mrs.Jones’ teachings, we can tell that she is generous, motherly, and forgiving.

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Mrs.Jones comes off as forgiving. She seems to see her interaction with roger as an opportunity to teach him rather than punish him she could take him to the police but she chooses not to, instead she takes him home with her and gives him something to eat. She says to him “you out to be my son”. I would teach you right from wrong. Least I can do right now is to wash your face. “Are you hungry”. This is forgiving because he just tried to rob her and now she is asking him is he hungry. She is nice to him because she realizes that he is just a sad boy with nobody to look after him and nowhere to go, and she has been where he’s been.

Even though at the beginning of the story Mrs. Jones was very determined, the other side of her is generous. When Roger and Mrs. Jones arrived at her house, Mrs. Jones makes Roger wash his face and brush his hair so it’ll look presentable. She also gave Roger dinner. The last reason Mrs. Jones is generous is because she gave Roger ten dollars so he could buy blue suede shoes. She told him, “Here, you can have the money boy.” That was very generous of Mrs. Jones because Roger tried to steal her pocketbook to buy the shoes.

Mrs. Jones shows us that she is very brave. She’s as tough as nails. Most women, after an attempted mugging, would scream or run away. Mrs. Jones, on the other hand, successfully fights back and inflicts pain on Roger, her attacker. Roger expected a helpless woman. We can infer that Roger, while executing his plan, expected a large woman like Mrs. Jones to be no great sprinter, therefore unable to run after him once he had her purse in his hand. She kicks him in the seat of his pants. Then she shakes him until his teeth rattle. Finally, she physically drags him back to her own home.

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This is a story that tells us that everyone makes mistakes. Mrs. Jones was the person that told Roger that made a mistake because Roger didn’t know that what he did was wrong. Mrs. Jones is a character who is forgiving, generous, and brave. I think that kind of characteristic helped Roger learn a lesson from her because when Roger was leaving Mrs. Jones’s house, he finally said “Thank you, Ma’am.”


  1. Benonguil, J. A. M. (2022). Stylistic Analysis of the Short Story “Thank You, Ma’am” by Langston Hughes. Canadian Journal of Language and Literature Studies, 2(6), 45-52. (
  2. Anwar, M. J., Sattar, B., & Anwar, M. N. Art of Characterization in “Thank You, Ma’am” by Langston Hughes. (
  3. Carroll, P. S. (2006). Learning to view literature instruction with literary lenses: One group’s story. English Journal, 74-80. (
  4. Alagözlü, N. (2006). Infusing graphic organizers and short stories in language teaching. Dil Dergisi, (131), 33-41. (

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Analysis Of Mrs.Jones Character In Thank You, Ma’am. (2023, February 28). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 1, 2023, from
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