Why does Mrs. Jones take Roger home in "Thank You, M'am"?

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In Langton Hughes' short story Thank you, Ma'am, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones takes Roger home with her after he attempts to snatch her pocketbook.  Mrs. Jones take him home because she feels some empathy with his despondent situation.  There is also evidence she does not have children but does have motherly concerns for Roger.
The first evidence Mrs. Jones is more than just an upset woman is in her initial meeting with Roger.  She asks why his face is so dirty.  Her motherly instincts also come to the surface when she states she would teach him right if he were her son.  Interestingly, it is the phrasing that suggests she does not have children.  She simply states "if you were my son," rather than "if you were one of my children" or "one of my sons."  The directness of her statement hints she does not have children.
Further evidence of her empathy for Roger is revealed in the kitchen of her modest room.  She tells him she once craved things she could not have and readily admits she has done things she is not proud of to get them.  The ending of the story affirms her empathy when she gives Roger ten dollars to get the shoes he wants, but she also gives him words of warning about buying the shoes.  In her own way she is raising Roger in the hour she knew him.  She understood his plight, fed him and allowed him to grow up a little bit.

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At the very beginning of “Thank You, Ma’m” by Langston Hughes, we are introduced to a tough woman named Mrs. Jones. Roger, a 14- or 15-year-old boy, attempted to steal her purse. Since the strap of Mrs. Jones’ purse broke, Roger ended up falling to the ground and Mrs. Jones confronted him.

First, she demanded that he pick up her purse and hand it to her. Next, she asked him a series of questions in order to gauge his character. She asked if he was ashamed of himself, to which he responded that he was. However, when Mrs. Jones asked him why he attempted to steal her purse, he denied his responsibility. She then asked him if she were to let him go if he would run or not, and very honestly Roger responded that he would.

Sensing that Roger did not see the severity of his actions or did not feel sorry for what he did, Mrs. Jones figured that she could teach him a lesson. She reveals her true intentions to Roger when she says, “You ought to be my son. I would teach you right from wrong." In other words, Mrs. Jones is momentarily taking Roger into her care so that he can learn from his mistakes.

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Why does Mrs. Jones take Roger to her house in the story "Thank You, M'am" by Langston Hughes?

Mrs. Jones takes Roger to her house for a few reasons. First, she seems to want to care for him when it becomes immediately evident that he has no one to take care of him, despite his young age. When she asks him if he has anyone at home to tell him to wash his face, he says that he does not. She promises, "it will get washed this evening." Later, she asks him if he's had his dinner yet, and he tells her "There's nobody home at my house." Mrs. Jones has obviously figured out right away that Roger has no reliable adult or parent at home, and she probably believes that he's had no one to teach him how to act properly. She wants to help take care of him and show him a little love and kindness and generosity. Have you ever heard the expression you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar? It means that it is much easier to win someone over when you are nice to them than when you are not-so-nice. Mrs. Jones could lecture Roger or take him to the police, but this will not make nearly the same impression on him as it will if she treats him with kindness and love. Hopefully, going forward, he won't try to rob someone again, because he will remember her generosity toward him.

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Why does Mrs. Jones take Roger to her house in the story "Thank You, M'am" by Langston Hughes?

Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones takes Roger back to her simple, modest apartment for a couple of reasons.  First, she wants the opportunity to talk to him and teach him a lesson about stealing.  She wants him to know that she, too, once did some things in her life that she isn’t proud of.  However, she turned her life around, has a job working in a hair salon, and has her own apartment as well.  The one room apartment also shows Roger that she is really no different than he is. They both come from the same backgrounds and obstacles.  She is not rich enough to steal from and needs every penny she earns to survive.

Taking Roger to her apartment shows him the effects of stealing from someone who is poor as well.  She does give Roger $10.00 for the blue suede shoes he wants so desperately, showing him an act of kindness and also that he can earn money by getting a job for something he wants. 

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