in "A Retrieved Reformation"why does Jimmy Valentine decide to become Ralph D. Spencer?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Jimmy Valentine arrives in a small town in Elmore, Arkansas, for a potential safe-cracking job, he looks into the eyes of Miss Annabel Adams, daughter of the town's bank owner. Jimmy falls instantly in love, so he assumes a new identity, and abandons his life of crime in his attempt to earn Annabel's love.

After he encounters the pretty, innocent Annabel, Jimmy walks to the Planters' Hotel and registers as Ralph D. Spencer. He asks the clerk how the shoe business is in town.

Mr. Ralph Spencer, the phoenix that arose from Jimmy Valentine's ashes--ashes left by the flame of a sudden and alternative attack of love--remained in Elmore, and prospered. He opened a shoe-store and secured a good run of trade.

Mr. Spencer becomes a social success. Also, he wins the heart of Annabel Adams, who continues to charm him. He has truly become rehabilitated; he has finally taken the warden's advice to "Brace up, and make a man" of himself.