Woman or Not Here She Comes
Imagine yourself as a large woman exhausted after a long night at work, and as you're strolling through the streets of the projects to get home, out of the blue a young boy bolts by and snatches the purse off of your arm. What would you do? Well, in Langston Hughes's story "Thank You, M'am", the character, Mrs.Luella Bates Washington Jones was in the the middle of a predicament just like this one. The way that she responded to this thievery is what leaves the reader with a very frightening impression of what her true identity could be. This large impression is characterized through Jones's almost unbelievable actions, massive appearance, ruffian speech, and through the other character's views of her.
A prevalent factor to Mrs. Jones's striking impression is her hefty appearance. This can be shown through many excerpts throughout the story. One of these being, "She was a large woman with a large purse that had everything in it" (Hughes 120). This gives the assumption that she is a very bulky, and intimidating lady. Also, because of her purse with everything in it, one could envision it containing some type of weapon like a brick or some brass knuckles. But remember, Mrs. Jones's appearance is only the beginning of her frightening demeanor.
As well, her beastly actions also play a very large role in her scary mein. Take for example page 122, where we see that, "The large woman [,Mrs.Luella Bates Washington Jones,] simply turned around and kicked him right square in his blue jean sitter." Showing that she isn't only somewhat muscular, but that she is a person that you really don't want to mess with. Another example of her beefyness, is when it says, "Then she reached down, picked the boy up by his shirt front, and shook him until his teeth rattled" (122). Also, "The woman still had him by the neck in the middle of her room" (122). The image given here just doesn't look right. As scary as that already is, this "action-packed-factor-of Mrs.-Jones's-character" only halfway exemplifies Mrs. Jones's intimidating individuality.
Furthermore, her speech could also encourage the thought that she is a large spooky woman, but it also could be taken that she has killed someone, or is going to kill someone. One of the most significant passages is, "I have done things, too, which I would not tell you" (124). This gives the notion that maybe she has killed someone. Along with that, there's this, "Then I won't turn you loose" (122). This gives the same impression as above, only this time it seems that she might do these actions to Roger. Mrs. Jones's speech however, mainly encourages her alarming nature.
Lastly, the other character's thoughts in this story reveal Mrs. Jones's immense impression even further. Through the thoughts of others, one could perceive that Mrs. Jones is a large, almost bully like woman. A blunt instance that showcases this is when Roger has an opportunity to escape, but didn't, "Roger looked at the door- looked at the woman- looked at the door-and went to the sink." (122). Through this, the reader could suppose that Roger has a fearful attitude towards Mrs. Jones, and is afraid of taking the risk of trying to escape. Other character's thoughts play an important role in explaining a character's identity, in this case it would be explaining the frightening-ness Mrs. Jones.
In conclusion, it is undoubtable that the character, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is a frightening lady. This is shown through her large appearance that displays an outward image of an intimidating and daunting woman. Another facet of this is her thug like actions, this again touches on the point that Mrs. Jones is someone you really don't want to fool with. Her intimidating speech also shows the point that Mrs. Jones is scary, but also tells us that she might pursue or has already done things that are not appropriate. And last, but not least, other characters' reflections of Mrs. Jones, this showcases the fact that people have a fearful attitude towards her. So after seeing how Mrs. Jones handled this encountered, what would you do if the same incident were to happen to you?
Work Cited List
Hughes,Langston. "Thank You Ma'am." Elements of Literature: Third Course. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2000.