What does Roger do when Mrs. Jones leaves him alone with her purse? Why does he do this? How have Roger's behavior and attitude changed?  

When Mrs. Jones leaves him alone with her purse, Roger proves to her that he is worthy of her trust. He does this because the kindness that Mrs. Jones has shown him has changed him. His behavior and attitude now reflect a desire to be trusted.

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In Langston Hughes's celebrated short story "Thank You, M'am," Mrs. Jones drags Roger to her home after he attempts to steal her purse and shows him kindness by making him feel comfortable and appreciated. Shortly after arriving at Mrs. Jones's home, she tells Roger to wash up, assures him that she will not call the police, and offers him a meal. Mrs. Jones's forgiving nature and hospitality make Roger feel at ease and he passes on the opportunity to sprint out of the house. Mrs. Jones also sympathizes with Roger, does not judge him for his actions, and says she has also done things she regrets.

When Mrs. Jones enters the kitchen to prepare a meal, she leaves her purse behind, which demonstrates her trust in Roger. Roger purposely sits farther away from the purse and does not entertain the idea of stealing it. Roger refrains from stealing the purse because he desires to prove to Mrs. Jones that he is a trustworthy, moral adolescent. Mrs. Jones's hospitality and compassion have influenced Roger to dramatically change his outlook on life. Roger has recognized his mistake, learned to appreciate Mrs. Jones, and is determined to turn over a new leaf. Mrs. Jones has successfully taught Roger the importance of earning material objects the right way and has influenced him to change his attitude by showing him compassion, sympathy, and hospitality. Roger learns that taking shortcuts only hurts upright, hard-working people like Mrs. Jones and realizes that he must change his ways.

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When Mrs. Jones leaves him alone with her purse, Roger goes out of his way to not only be trustworthy, but also to ensure that his hostess can see that he is worthy of trust. Instead of snatching the purse which he had earlier tried to steal and making a run for it, he seats himself in a strategic position where he knows Mrs. Jones will be able to see him while she is preparing their meal.

He does this because Mrs. Jones' pragmatic kindness and candor has made him want to be a better person. In just a few minutes, he has been transformed from a boy willing to steal in order to buy a pair of shoes to a young man who wants to be known as trustworthy and reliable. He wants Mrs. Jones to be fully aware that her judgment of him is correct, and that he is not going to do a runner.

Roger's behavior and attitude have undergone a seismic shift. Mere minutes before, he was a dishonest hooligan. Now, he is a man proving himself worthy of respect. The fact that Mrs. Jones showed him kindness, and subsequently trust, makes Roger want to live up to her idea of the man who he could be.

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In Langston Hughes short story “Thank you, M’am,” Roger’s attitude changes from that of a petty thief to a young man who desires to demonstrate his trustworthiness and gratitude.

After Mrs. Jones decides not to contact the authorities, she drags him back to her room in the boarding house. With her immediate actions, she shows Roger an inkling of trust. When they arrive back in the room, she places her purse on the day-bed in plain sight and instructs Roger to wash up. It is his choice whether he grabs the purse and runs out the door, or whether he stays with Mrs. Jones. He decides to stay, and when he returns from the sink, he sits as far away from the purse as possible. Mrs. Jones and Roger have a conversation in which she reveals some details about her past, which Roger can relate to in his current situation as a young man growing up in the slums of New York City. His family life is non-existent, he is poor, and he wants new, blue suede shoes.

After this conversation, Roger realizes he wants to be trusted. He sees his mistake in attacking Mrs. Jones, who is making out a living by working long hours in a local beauty salon. Roger sees the value in her hard work and determination, and he is grateful for her kindness.

In another corner of the room behind a screen was a gas plate and an icebox. Mrs. Jones got up and went behind the screen. The woman did not watch the boy to see if he was going to run now, nor did she watch her purse which she left behind her on the day-bed. But the boy took care to sit on the far side of the room where he thought she could easily see him out of the corner of her eye, if she wanted to. He did not trust the woman not to trust him. And he did not want to be mistrusted now.

Mrs. Jones' kindness and respect, her lack of preaching, and her demonstration of understanding help Roger change from a child of desperation to a grateful young man.

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