Why can we infer that Roger will not buy shoes in "Thank You Ma'am?" How can we infer that if Roger had been successful in stealing the purse,he would not have bought shoes with the money and at...

Why can we infer that Roger will not buy shoes in "Thank You Ma'am?"

How can we infer that if Roger had been successful in stealing the purse,he would not have bought shoes with the money and at the end,now that he has been given $10, he will not use it to buy shoes?

Asked on by afa-b

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Roger would not buy the shoes because he is transformed by his experience with Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones.

Roger is surprised when the woman whose purse he tries to steal fights back.  He is so surprised that he goes home with her when she forces him to, but does not leave when he has the chance.  This demonstrates that Roger is faced with a cathartic moment—a moment that brings out big emotions in him.

Almost everything Mrs. Jones does is surprising to him.  She makes him food, and feels compassion for him.  She does not even scold him about wanting to buy blue suede shoes.  She understands where the impulse comes from, and commiserates with him.

I have done things, too, which I would not tell you, son—neither tell God, if he didn’t already know.

Roger is not a bad kid, but he has no role models.  Before meeting Mrs. Jones, he had lost his way.  Meeting her is a powerful event for him.  Where we can infer that he might have bought shoes if he was successful when he stole the purse, we can also infer that what he really wanted was someone in his life.

She tells him to behave himself as he leaves, and you get the impression that he will.  She has made an impact on him in their short time together.

The boy wanted to say something else other that "Thank you, ma’am" to Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones, but he couldn’t do so as he turned at the barren stoop and looked back at the large woman in the door.

Roger wants to say something more, but he can’t. He is still trying to take in the situation, but the reader can infer that it will affect him for a while, and he is going to reconsider the shoes.

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