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I’m not sure you can fully justify Roger’s actions, in the sense that stealing is wrong. One can, as Mrs. Jones does, understand them. Roger seems to be a neglected or maltreated child, who sees lack of love and lack of material possessions as somehow connected, and in stealing is trying to acquire one in order to compensate for lack of the other. Mrs. Jones attempts to supply him with the respect and affection he needs, as well as help him get the shoes which symbolize both for him. One could argue that she should simply have turned him into the police – giving him food and money may simply encourage his criminal career, but I don’t think that was Hughes’ point in writing the story.
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