In Thank You M'am by Langston Hughes, how might Roger's life have been different if Mrs Jones had called the police?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mrs Luella Bates Washington Jones is an upright citizen in Thank You M'am who expects others to always behave in an appropriate manner. She is clearly disappointed at Roger's attempts to steal her purse but does realize that he is a victim of his circumstances. She knows what it is like to want something you can't have and she is aware of her own failings as she has "done things, too, which I would not tell you, son—neither tell God, if he didn’t already know." Had she decided that Roger would learn his lesson better by being taken to the police, things could have been very different for Roger. 

As a fifteen year old, Roger may have been held with adults and possibly with serious criminals who may have taken advantage of his naivety or even hurt him or may have had a bad influence on him, being poor role models and teaching him even worse things than petty stealing. However, Roger may have met a compassionate policeman, willing to give him a second chance so it does not mean that Roger was doomed. The odds are obviously in Roger's favor if someone recognizes the potential for good in him and guides him towards a better future.  

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Thank You, M'am

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