In Thank You, M'am, what is a quote from Mrs. Jones that inspires Roger?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The relationship that develops between Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones and Roger in Thank You, M'am is unique. Mrs. Jones recognizes that Roger needs far more than to be punished for his reckless behavior when he tries to steal Mrs. Jones's purse. She sees a vulnerable boy and immediately identifies with his situation. His dirty face reveals to her that he is in danger of getting himself into far more trouble unless someone takes him in hand and teaches him the value of self-respect, among other things.

At first, Roger does not trust Mrs. Jones and will take the first opportunity presented to him to run away from her because he thinks she will take him to the police station; after all, he did try to steal her purse and got caught. Roger is at least honest with Mrs. Jones when he admits that he will run and he earnestly inquires whether her intentions are to take him to the police. He begins to relax although he is still suspicious of Mrs. Jones's motives, when he realizes that she does actually respect him and is not afraid to leave her purse in open view of him or to admit that "I have done things, too, which I would not tell you, son." This is a good quote which shows that Roger is inspired by her behavior and apparent goodwill to the point that he stops thinking about running away and even offers to run an errand for her. This is his way of showing her his gratitude and proves that he is learning the value of respect.