Structure

The short story “After You, My Dear Alphonse” by Shirley Jackson has a chronological structure. The story presents a single event, focusing on Mrs. Wilson’s meeting with Johnny’s African-American friend, Boyd.

Mrs. Wilson displays her racism several times by assuming Boyd’s family is poor, that Boyd’s parents must have low-level jobs, and that Boyd has many siblings. Even when the boys contradict her assumptions, Mrs. Wilson does not seem to change her view of Boyd. Mrs. Wilson’s views - “ ‘Boyd will eat anything’ ” – foreshadow her prejudiced behavior as she offers Boyd the old clothes. They also foreshadow her prejudice-driven disappointment at his rejection. 

The story reaches its climax with Mrs. Wilson’s reaction to when Boyd refusing to take t...

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