Why does Roger want money in "Thank You, M'am" by Langston Hughes?

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A fifteen-year-old boy named Roger is one of the main characters in "Thank You, M'am" by Langston Hughes, and in the opening paragraph of the story he makes a very costly mistake: he tries to snatch the purse belonging to Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones. 

He tries...

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A fifteen-year-old boy named Roger is one of the main characters in "Thank You, M'am" by Langston Hughes, and in the opening paragraph of the story he makes a very costly mistake: he tries to snatch the purse belonging to Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones. 

He tries to jerk the purse off her arm but is caught off balance and ends up on the ground--where he is promptly and smartly kicked by an imposing African American woman named Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones. The name suits her. When Roger tries to walk away, she does not allow him to leave. 

"[Y]ou put yourself in contact with me,” said the woman. “If you think that that contact is not going to last awhile, you got another thought coming. When I get through with you, sir, you are going to remember Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones.”

The woman notices that Roger is not very clean and deduces that no one has really been watching after the boy, or at least has not been doing a very good job of it. She takes him home with her and begins to prepare a meal, assuming that the reason he tried to steal her purse is because he is hungry and needs money to eat. She is mistaken.

“I believe you’re hungry—or been hungry—to try to snatch my pocketbook.”
“I wanted a pair of blue suede shoes,” said the boy.

He wanted ten dollars to buy blue suede shoes. In the end,the no-nonsense Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones gives Roger ten dollars because she says she, too, was "young once and I wanted things I could not get."

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In Thank You, M'am by Langston Hughes, an unexpected relationship develops between Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones and Roger who tries to steal Mrs. Jones's purse but gets caught. Roger's dirty face is a sure sign to Mrs. Jones that he is a victim of circumstance and she takes this opportunity to teach him a lesson. She understands that punishing him is not the answer and shows him kindness and understanding, especially when she hears that there is no-one at his home. She recognizes that he is in need of some guidance and is the ideal person to share her own experiences. She is hopeful that revealing to him that she too "wanted things I could not have" will help him  appreciate that the answer does not lie in stealing.

Roger is desperate for money because he wants a pair of "blue suede shoes" which he otherwise cannot afford; even believing that there is any other way. By the time he leaves Mrs. Jones's home he has washed his face, learned respect and even received the precious $10 to buy the shoes which amount Mrs. Jones gives him willingly. Roger is stunned by her generosity and the fact that her only condition is that he should 'behave' himself.  

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