Thank You, M'am Questions and Answers
by Langston Hughes

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Why did Roger try to steal Mrs. Jones's purse in "Thank You, M'am" by Langston Hughes?

Roger tried to steal Mrs. Jones's purse in "Thank You, M'am" to acquire enough money to purchase a pair of blue suede shoes.

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At the beginning of Langston Hughes's celebrated short story "Thank You, M'am," Roger attempts to steal Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones's purse but ends up falling on the sidewalk. Mrs. Jones proceeds to kick Roger before grabbing him by his collar and instructing him to pick up her purse. When Roger admits that he will run away if she lets him go, Mr. Jones refuses to turn him loose and begins dragging him home. While Mrs. Jones is dragging Roger to her house, she notices that he is dirty, asks if he is hungry, and mentions that he ought to be her son.

Once Mrs. Jones takes Roger into her home, she instructs him to wash his face and begins preparing a home-cooked meal for him. When Mrs. Jones comments on Roger's bold actions, he admits that he tried to steal her pocketbook in order to buy a pair of blue suede shoes. As a poor black teenager, Roger desired to have fashionable blue suede shoes, which were popular during that era. Instead of scolding Roger for his actions and calling...

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gvansaru | Student

Roger tried to steal Mrs Jones's purse because he wanted to buy a pair of blue suede shoes.