In Thank You M'am, what does Mrs. Jones' speech and behavior tell you about her reasons for helping Roger?

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones from Thank you M'am by Langston Hughes does not believe that there is any excuse for bad behavior. Her speech when she tells Roger that "I were young once and I wanted things I could not get" reveals a wistfulness in its tone and a recollection of a time in her life when she could not have the things she wanted most. It is apparent that she was young at the time and also did some things of which she is not proud. She has no intention of giving Roger the details but she wants him to know that it is not unusual to want something so badly as to do something you may regret later. However, there is a limit and Roger needs to know that but Mrs. Jones will not judge him. She will only try to make a difference in his life, no matter how small her contribution, whether morally, socially or of monetary value.

In fact, the $10 she gives him is a significant donation especially considering her own circumstances which are apparently modest. She is willing to share whatever she has with him, even if it is not a lot. The reader is aware that she can relate to Roger and probably recognizes similarities with her own childhood and upbringing; things she would change if Roger were her own son and thus revealing her reasons for giving Roger a second chance.  

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