It is important to understand that Roger's attempt at stealing Mrs. Jones's purse is informed by his socio-economic environment. He is obviously an impoverished and neglected child who wants something (a pair of blue suede shoes) that his caregivers cannot provide. He probably assumes that stealing the purse will be a quick action and that his desire will be satisfied.
Roger's interaction with Mrs. Jones indicates that the rules of conduct when addressing elders have been inculcated into him. When she detains him, he speaks to her with respect. He does not swear or shout at her but is submissive and meekly responds to her questions. His responses are honest, and he does not want to offend her. When Mrs. Jones, for example, asks him why he wanted to steal her purse, he says that he didn't mean to. When she tells him that he is lying, he does not respond.
Roger's demeanor is acquiescent, apologetic, and cooperative. He tells Mrs. Jones what she wants to know. When she threatens that he will not forget her once she is through with him, his struggle is to avoid whatever severe sanction he assumes she might impose on him. She manages, however, to drag him to her apartment and promises him food and a face wash.
Roger retains his obedient manner when they are in Mrs. Jones's apartment. He remains honest and easily tells her his name and why he wanted money. He gains new insight when she tells him that he could just have asked her for the money to buy the blue suede shoes he so desperately wants. Roger's respect for Mrs. Jones increases when she conveys some insight into herself. She gives him an idea of how she had, on numerous occasions, also acted inappropriately in the past.
During their conversation, Roger considers running away but decides against it. He wants Mrs. Jones to trust him and even offers to run an errand to the shop for her. He sits in a place where she can see him. The boy seems happy about the attention she is giving him and feels comfortable in her presence. During their wholesome meal, Mrs. Jones speaks about herself and does not ask Roger any embarrassing questions about himself or his life. Because of this, Roger's respect for her must, surely, have grown even more.
At the end of the story, Roger finds it difficult to express his gratitude to Mrs. Jones for giving him ten dollars for his shoes and, of course, her generosity in providing him a meal. Roger is probably the most grateful for the life lesson Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones has taught him. Such a gift is priceless.