Give a character sketch of Roger in the story Thank You M,am.

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Thank You, M'am by Langston Hughes, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is determined to teach Roger that self-respect is far more valuable than owning a pair of "blue suede shoes" and that he should not risk his integrity by resorting to stealing. 

In considering a character sketch of Roger, think about what the author is telling the reader. The reader must determine Roger's characteristics because, other than knowing that he is a potential thief, the reader knows very little about him. Roger is apparently his own worst enemy and his biggest battle is against himself. After Mrs. Jones catches him, his first thought is to run away if only he could but later he realizes that Mrs Jones is in fact giving him the tools to become a better person.  

Roger therefore is impulsive and makes poor choices, especially evident in his attempts to steal and to compromise any standards he may have. This shows he has no self-respect.  He is also not a very trusting person, wondering about Mrs Jones's intentions and her motivation for taking him to her house. Fortunately for him, he comes to recognize the value of second chances . Although initially the reader may dislike Roger, his ability to learn from his mistakes is endearing and his efforts to make up for what he has done are evident when he offers to run an errand. This shows that he is remorseful. He is also grateful for the money she gives him and the second chance and realizes how inadequate a simple "thank you"  really is, revealing that he is taking steps to becoming less self-absorbed and more mature. 

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Thank You, M'am

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