How and why did Mrs Luella Bates Washington Jones try to change Roger in "Thank You, M'am"?

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Mrs. Jones saw in Roger, the boy who attempted to rob her, something of herself and a life worth rescuing from a life of wrongdoing. For these reasons and because it appears Mrs. Jones was a descent and caring person, she decided to help Roger change...

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Ideas for Response Projects

Mrs. Jones saw in Roger, the boy who attempted to rob her, something of herself and a life worth rescuing from a life of wrongdoing. For these reasons and because it appears Mrs. Jones was a descent and caring person, she decided to help Roger change the course of events he had put himself on by turning to robbery to get the things that he wants.

When he attempted to rob her, rather than treat him as the thief he tried to be, she stepped into a parental role and tried to make an impression upon him that would forever change him and keep Roger from wanting to rob again. She was an authoritarian figure as she forcefully took him home with her. In asking him his name, Mrs. Jones gave him respect and dignity. She offered him guidance in washing his face when he said there was no one at home to guide him. Even though she had little to eat herself, she offered him half of her dinner and dessert when she realized he had no food.

In speaking with Roger, she explained that she too had done things about which she was not proud. In so doing, the author describes a connection that the two share. As he left, Mrs. Jones makes one more gesture that may change the way that Roger thinks about stealing from now on. She offers him the ten dollars he had wanted to steal in order to buy some blue suede shoes. Roger is left bewildered by her actions and the reader is left to believe Mrs. Jones has changed him for the better despite his attempt at robbing her.

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