The short story “After You, My Dear Alphonse” by Shirley Jackson shows two boys, Johnny and Boyd, using the expression “After you, my dear Alphonse” playfully. Mrs. Wilson, Johnny’s mother, invites both boys to lunch. She is surprised to see that Boyd is African American. 

Mrs. Wilson insists that Boyd must eat well and starts asking him about his family. Boyd reveals that his father works in a factory. Mrs. Wilson, who assumes that he does physical labor, is surprised to find out that Boyd’s father is a foreman. When Mrs. Wilson asks Boyd about his mother, he reveals that she does not work and that she takes care of him and his sister. Johnny also tells Mrs. Wilson that Boyd’s sister, Jean, is going to become a teacher.

Surprised that Boyd doe...

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