What did the boy want to say other than "Thank you, M'am"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As it turns out, he didn't even say "Thank you, m'am." He wanted to, but his lips wouldn't move. 

We aren't told what else he wanted to say, which should lead us to question what we would say if we were in the same situation. In the space of one...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

As it turns out, he didn't even say "Thank you, m'am." He wanted to, but his lips wouldn't move. 

We aren't told what else he wanted to say, which should lead us to question what we would say if we were in the same situation. In the space of one hour or so, the woman has fundamentally changed who he is. She's treated him with respect--something we can suspect he's never had--demonstrated her trust in him (by telling him he can go to the store for milk if he wants), and in the course of dinner, she doesn't ask any questions about his parents or where he lives or "anything else that would embarrass him." She has treated him with respect and compassion, but at the same time, hasn't let him off the hook. She leaves him with the order to not try to take her pocketbook "nor anyone else's" again. 

This is the sort of situation that would lead a normal person to say, "I don't know how to begin to thank you." 

If he had words--which most of us don't for such situations--he might say, "Thank you for giving me a chance, for treating me with respect, for trusting me, and for dinner," but such words would still be too weak to express what he's feeling. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team