Starting in paragraph 1 Rodger tries to steal Mrs. Jones’ purse. The purse can be an indirect characterization of Whom Mrs. Jones is as a person. The purse is bland on the outside like Mrs. Jones, but has a lot to offer. Except Hammer and nails which could represent Anger and Betrayal. She may have gaven Rodger a chance she may have not been given.
The whole story "Thank You, Ma'm" is based on a boy named Rodger trying to steal Mrs. Jones' purse. He does this so he can but blue suede shoes. Mrs. Jones takes Rodger back to her house. Instead of taking him to jail she ends up feeding him and saying "Now, here, take this ten dollars and buy yourself some blue suede shoes. And next time, do not make the mistake of latching onto my pocketbook nor nobody else's- - because shoes come by devilish like that will burn your feet" (Hughes 43).
In paragraph 39 Mrs. Jones replies to Rodger with "unless you just want sweet milk yourself. I was going to make cocoa out of this canned milk I got here (Hughes 39). I think this refers to sometimes in life people are so selfish and want what they can't have and they push whatever is in front of them away.