What details do you learn about roger and his life ?

Expert Answers
Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story "Thank You, M'am" reveals many pertinent details about Roger: his life on the streets, who he is as a person, and his life at home. 

Roger's life on the streets:

In the opening of Hughes' sketch, the reader discovers that Roger is a thief.  He tries to snatch Mrs. Luella Washington Jones' pocketbook, and chances are this is not his first attempt.  Roger is also a liar; he tries to lie to Ms. Jones, but she easily sees through him.

Who Roger is as a person:

Roger is just like any neglected kid who tries to fend for himself.  He makes bad choices, like the one to steal Ms. Jones' purse, but that does not mean he has a bad heart.  He does feel convicted and ashamed when Ms. Jones confronts him about his poor behavior like a mother or grandmother might.  Later in the story, the reader sees that Roger is eager to please her and wants to keep her trust.  He leaves her apartment feeling like he can be better and act better as a person because he knows she believes in him.

Roger's home life:  

He is out on the street late at night because he has no one at home to look after him; Roger's home life is one of neglect.  He has not eaten, his face is dirty, has uncombed, messy hair, and while he does demonstrate some knowledge of manners with Ms. Jones, Roger was trying his hand at purse snatching only moments ago.  From the beginning to the end of Hughes' story, Roger strikes the reader as a child desperately in need of parental guidance.